"Our cookie selection is different. I didn't grow up in the United States, so, I didn't grow up on chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookies. I don't connect to them like others do. I just bake what I've known all my life."
Meet Zohar Zohar, the owner and head baker behind Zucker Bakery, a specialty, small-batch bakery cafe in the heart of New York City's East Village. Here, you'll find uniquely spiced cookies that just might surprise you; cookies that make you feel like you've traveled - with flavors and spices that hint of other countries, other walks of life. It's a tiny, homey space - just the way Zohar imagined it - with a curated collection of family and friends of family cookie recipes very close to Zohar's heart.
Zohar comes from a small community in Israel, where baking was a big part of life. She moved to New York City to work as a professional chef in restaurant kitchens, and only re-discovered baking when she left the trade to raise her own kids. During the past 10 years, she's been perfecting classic cookie and pastry recipes in her kitchen at home, sharing what she loved solely with family and friends. It was just supposed to be a hobby, a personal act of passion, until her husband convinced her to open her own bake shop.
Zucker Bakery has only been around for a year now, and in a short amount of time, has created quite a cookie-loving community for itself. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming. The cookies are always fresh. I hope you stop by! To me, the discovery of this little bakery is what makes New York so much fun.
"I hope my cookies strike a memory or a warm place for anyone who eats them." -Zohar Zohar
Zucker Bakery -
433 East 9th Street, New York, NY
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"For a vegetarian, in particular, it's the best kind of protein you can eat. I love to share the taste of it."
Meet Barry Scwartz, the founder and tempeh master behind Barry's Tempeh, a small-batch, probiotic-friendly tempeh business based in Brooklyn, NY. To Barry, tempeh-making is an exciting, alluring and magical process: a job where he gets to combine his love of science with his love of farming and community. In fact, he prides himself less as a business person and more as a care-giver: caring for the tempeh to grow, and caring to customers by providing them with good food. It took him 5-years to nail down his recipe. And in his quest for perfection, he discovered he could make tempeh out of anything - not just traditional soybeans. Enjoy his story!
To taste Barry's Tempeh or to cook it at home, you can visit his stand at Smorgasburg, or purchase it at one of the shops listed in Brooklyn and Manhattan here.
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"Food is naturally different. So, I just really want to honor that variety and let the chili peppers do the talking."
Meet Jolene Collins, the founder and artisan behind Jojo's Sriracha in Brooklyn, NY. Jolene is obsessed with sriracha. She discovered the chili sauce at age 15, when, in a hunger frenzy, she coated her tuna sandwich and potato chips with the unfamiliar condiment. When she recounts the story, you can see she remembers it as if time stopped. It was a moment she'll never forget. A moment that maybe, just maybe, foreshadowed her destiny.
So, enjoy Jolene's spicy little story about the unlocked potential of the sriracha you know and, probably, love. She'll have you convinced that her artisan sriracha, is so much more than the average cock sauce.
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"It was born out of a real fascination I have with the way foods were preserved before industrial methods of preservation. I was fascinated by the way you can take a piece of food, and with the right amount of salt, time and temperature, not only could you make it last a really long time, but you could make it taste very good."
Meet Charles Wekselbaum, the founder and head salami maker of Charlito's Cocina, a made-by-hand, artisan charcuterie business based in Long Island City, Queens. Charles, or Charlito (as he's affectionately known), is a master charcutier. He is one of three USDA approved salami makers in New York City. Yet, believe it or not, his business launched in the summer of 2011 with an entirely meatless product: the fig salami, an artisan product loved by vegans and meat lovers alike.
The fig salami was invented out of necessity. Even though Charlito spent years perfecting the art of preserving meats, New York City made it difficult for him to legally start his meat production. So, instead of giving up, he improvised. By using the same principals he applied to meat, Charlito began making a meatless charcuterie product, re-shaping figs to look like salami. It was a first, and like most first times, a lot of booze helps.
Enjoy his fun story! To try Charlito's fig salami you can visit his stand at Smorgasburg, or check out his website to see all specialty shops and markets that carry his products.
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"Goat meat is qualified as 'OTHER'. Unfortunately, it makes it seem exotic, a little scary, a little unfamiliar, but it shouldn't be. Goat is delicious."
Meet Erin Fairbanks, the project coordinator of No Goat Left Behind, a passion-driven effort to get every day diners, cooks and chefs - like you and me - to add goat meat to our diets. What Erin is trying to do, by partnering with 14 family farms across the northeast, is start a movement. She wants to encourage us, even tempt us (in a delicious way), to eat more goat meat for a good reason: to help dairy farmers save young, male goats from having a life they wouldn't be proud of.
The hard truth is: to get more goat milk for goat cheese, farmers need to breed more female goats to have babies. Unfortunately, after they're born, baby boys or baby bucklings, have no role on a dairy farm. So, most farmers are faced with difficult choices; but, it doesn't have to be that way. To tell this story, I visited Angela Miller, the owner of Consider Bardwell Farm in Vermont, to see how the life of a baby buckling could be, if we all decided to give goat meat a go. Good dairy farmers want their goats to begin and end their life on the farm, but it's costly, and not possible unless they find more people willing to try goat meat. So far, it's been difficult for these farmers to find consumers willing to pay the money for a meat less well known. It'a a big reason why I wanted to tell and share this story, help support this movement. Goat meat deserves a lot more attention. Come see why.
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