Thursday, October 29, 2009

Taste of Greenmarket Benefit Culinary Event

Taste of Greenmarket Event

The 2nd Annual Taste of Greenmarket was held last night in a penthouse loft space on Manhattan’s West Side.  Hosted by The Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC) last night’s event will benefit “Greenmarket’s Youth Education Project, which teaches thousands of New York City school children each year about the local agriculture and the importance of eating fresh, seasonal food through fun, interactive learning experiences.” And according to CENYC, the evening also “honored participating chefs for the crucial role they play in educating the next generation, preserving farmland and spreading the word that locally produced food is tastier and better for you – that it has a soul and a story.”

All the master chefs who lent their time and talent to this important cause are their own special story, too.  While they are at a similar place today: united in their ardor for farm to table food; their stories of how they came to embrace this concept and how they helped lead a national, seismic lifestyle change, are all very different.  The chefs took varied paths on their journey to become celebrity chefs or better yet, culinary artists, who are leaders of the "eat local" movement. They are passionate about sustainability, their food ingredients, their relationships with their farmers and growers and dairies. 

I know.  I’m writing a book or two about almost all of these chefs and their crusade to connect our food to the earth.

It was great to see all “my” chefs in one place, mingling with family, friends, and supporters in a glittering only-in-Gotham kind of event – all for a good cause.
Hats off to Greenmarket Director, Michael Hurwitz for producing such a memorable and successful event.
The list of participating chefs included:

Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern,
Dan Barber of Blue Hill & Blue Hill at Stone Barns,
April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig,
Jean Francois Bruel of Daniel,
Marco Canora of Hearth, Insieme & Terroir, 
Mary Cleaver of The Green Table & The Cleaver Company,
Tom Colicchio of Craft & Craftbar, 
Alex Guarnaschelli of Butter,
Kurt Gutenbrunner of Wallse, Cafe Sabarsky & Blaue Gans,
Peter Hoffman of Savoy & Back Forty,
Patti Jackson of I Trulli,
Gabriel Kreuther of The Modern,
Bret Macris of Rose Water
Marc Meyer of Cookshop, Five Points & Hundred Acres,
Marco A. Moreira of Tocqueville,
Aaron Sanchez of Centrico & Paladar,
Bill Telepan of Telepan,
David Waltuck of Chanterelle and 
Galen Zamarra of Mas(farmhouse).
Greenmarket-inspired cocktails by
James Meehan of PDT and 
Julie Reiner of Flatiron Lounge & Clover Club





Checking in at Taste of Greenmarket.  We were given a tasting fork and spoon tucked neatly into a green (naturally) nylon sleeve -- something you might take on a camping trip, donated by Snow Peak.  The cutlery was engraved, "Taste of Greenmarket" by N. G. Slater Corp.  Picked up great goody bag here after event stuffed with food, rooster cookie cutter & Chef Telepan’s Snickerdoodle recipe, Bodum coffee, Kikkerland’s MiniMagnito salt & pepper shakers, Katchkie Ketchup, Green & Black’s Dark chocolate, Martin’s handmade pretzels, and more all packed in a burlap Greenmarket bag!  Exciting and delicious treats.




Brooklyn’s Rose Water team: Right is owner/chef, John Tucker; middle is Chef Bret Macris.  Menu: Pork confit with braised cabbage, pickled peppers, sweet potato lefse



Savoy’s beautiful and charming Susanne Hoffman, wife of Chef Peter. She also is a potter and made all the handsome ceramic vases and dishes at the restaurant.



I Trulli’s Chef Patti Jackson served an amazing & delicious fried rabbit, delicata squash puree, spigarello broccoli (no bunny jokes!)



Gramercy Tavern’s Chef Michael Anthony with his mother to be wife, Mindy.  Chef Michael served up tidy, mouth-watering, pop in your mouth Pigs in a Blanket. 



Chef Marc Meyer served a fresh, tasty complex taste comprised of swordfish tacos with fresh corn tortillas, cabbage slaw and tomatillo salsa.  Chef Marc’s team represented his portfolio of restaurants including Cookshop, Five Points and my favorite, Hundred Acres (and also featured recently on the TV’s WB11 (www.wpix.com) TV hit series, Gossip Girl www.gossipgirl.com)



I caught up with Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns’ chef, Dan Barber as he was starting to head out. Always charming, Dan stopped to chat about some work for the book, and about … gifts J  Menu for the evening was a tasty and healthy Blue Hill V-7 with green tomato tart that we could just throw back and savor.





Blue Hill at Stone Barns’ delightful Irene Hamburger (left) and friend.  Irene also lent her talents and organizational skills to the Taste of Greenmarket, serving on this year’s Host Committee.



Chanterelle’s David Waltuck presented flavorful and distinctive mini moussaka with oregano and lamb jus.  I heard a lot of “oohs and ahhhs” and “mmm” comments from the tasting audience for this fantastic menu…



The inimitable Chef Peter Hoffman represented his Savoy and Back Forty restaurant offering a tempting Savoy creation of brassica salad with Caribbean pepper dressing and a kabocha squash soup with pancetta and crispy Brussels sprouts.  Wow!



The Greenmarket’s own creative presentation featured local cheeses, figs, nuts and fruits.


And here I am – far right – with Michael Hurwitz, Director of Greenmarket and official host of the evening, with his adorable and oh-so-elegant herself J mother to be.  If number 2 child is anything like the first, the Hurwitz’s could single handily open up a children’s modeling agency!



I hesitated when I heard there was absinthe in PDT’s “Flight of the Concord” cocktail (had to soon take flight myself and head home…) but was assured the absinthe was just a spritz and the gin based sour was made from concord grapes. That’s healthy, right?  So nabbed a cocktail and “took flight” out to the terrace. 



where food tasting took a break and diners warmed themselves by the fire while taking in the fabulous New York City skyline…


Back inside for some music and bidding on the Silent Auction items.



Windfall Farm team.  We had just visited Morse Pitts (left) at his farm with Chef Peter Hoffman -- his choice for the “garden/farm” photo shoot for the book. It was a picture perfect day -- picking rasberries and figs and we got an extra bit of farm fantasy as it was their annual Harvest Fair, complete with bonfire, music and of course, fantastic food.  (www.windfallfarm.com) They are at the Greenmarket in Union Square every Wednesday and Saturday.  There, you’ll also get to meet artist and farmer, Kevin Caplicki  (and he drives a very cool Ducati…)




All good things must end.  Walking to catch a cab, I see the Empire State building lit up in Yankee blue for the 1st game of the World Series.  Not so good for the Yankees, as it turns out….  But a home run for Taste of Greenmarket.





Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chapter 2

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chapter 2



I think I put the “blah” in blog ^:^  

Not from my writing, mind you – but I can’t seem to carve out the time to write the blog, as I am so busy writing my book…
Yet, I love blogs. I love their immediacy, consistent story telling; their intimacy and the courage displayed in their author’s delivery.  There’s no hesitation to share expertise, opinions, photos.
Once I checked with my editor that it was OK to pursue the blog, I thought I’d take to it like morning coffee.

In fact, I eagerly wrote the first entry and couldn’t wait to write and post news about the trials, triumphs, joys and exciting adventures involved in writing and producing my first book: “Celebrity Chefs & Their Gardens” (working title.) The concept I pitched my publisher was to explore the nexus of where garden art meets the other arts – the franchise would be how gardens inspire musicians, sculptures, painters, and above all, the culinary artist. They most demonstrably use the bounty of the garden in their culinary art.  

It is a joyful experience that interests just about everyone who hears about the process – from foodies to gardeners to politicos to champions of healthy eating as way to healthy living aficionados.  (I did say everyone, right?)  

Further, my daily routine couldn’t have been better conceived or more simple or fun.  During the week when we live in our jewel-box apartment in Greenwich Village in New York City, the goal was to follow my early morning workout at the health club with some coffee, writing the blog, shower, (maybe reverse that order – no dirty blog writing!), write a celebrity chef profile (or two) for the book, break; then render the garden art for the book – which is a water color of every chef’s garden design whether it’s their personal home garden, the Greenmarket (www.cenycgreenmarket.org)  , the restaurant’s or a favorite farm he uses.  (and the chefs are, curiously, almost all men.)  

I did this brilliant routine exactly -- zero times.  

How could this be, I’d ask myself over the evening’s martini cocktail as I reviewed the day and took a break with my husband before returning to writing or the art.  

Mainly, because I was so busy scheduling photo shoots and interviews.  If I have 16 NYC master chefs with two photo shoots for each – the kitchen and the garden, along with the interviews – well, you can do the math… And not surprisingly, schedules change – especially for “my” famous chefs who manage multiple restaurants in their empire, and/or support a plethora of community greenmarket and farm initiatives.  Many have admin staff and/or public relations support.  I have to contact my crackerjack team: the book’s photographer, Jennifer Calais Smith (www.jennifercalaissmith.com) and the food stylist, Patty White (www.pattywhitefoodstylist.com)
So you see, when rescheduling, there are any number of players that need to be consulted.  No different from any corporate or project work, it’s just I was the only one doing the scheduling and correspondence and the changes.  And believe me, I loved coordinating with all the chefs and their staffs.  They are all super talented, energized, dedicated artists and professionals.

With deadlines looming, it wasn’t too long before I realized I needed help.    I had to write and produce the art. No one else could do that.  But if I could get some assistance in the coordination of all the detailed full-color, photography, then we’d be good.  Ta da! Enter Lauren Grimley – smart, savvy, not to mention oh-so-pretty girlfriend, now former girlfriend L, of my nephew, Garrett.  She’s genius and can surely help me keep my focus on what I need to do while adding to the team dynamic.

It has, ahem, been some months, that I have submitted a posting.   But I am an avowed optimist and think these turn of events will lead to more time for writing, art and blogging.

Back to a central question of my singular first/only blog:

What chefs in NYC and Long Island, including the Hamptons, the Gold Coast, and Five Towns do you recommend for the book??

Here we go J