“100 batches in, it still feels like magic.” Meet Homa Dashtaki, the founder and owner of The White Moustache yogurt company based in Brooklyn, NY. It’s nice when artisans are still in awe of their product, still bright eyed and in wonder about the magic of their process. It’s a feeling I seldom run into. Most artisans are so deep into their repetition of production that the feeling of excitement has left them. Taking its place: focus, duty, responsibility, deadlines, and other demands of the entrepreneurial world. But, not Homa. Not yet, anyway. For her, everyday is like delivering a new child into the world. The beauty of life…of raising happy cultures into yogurt. What sets The White Moustache apart is “coddling.” Homa admits to the TLC method of yogurt care – a lot of attention to the details. It’s how her dad taught her to make the beautiful Persian style yogurts she grew up with. These yogurts are elegant, and incredibly soft and rich on the palate, many spoonfuls above the quality of supermarket brands. Add her specialty Middle Eastern flavors to the mix, and entirely new experiences in yogurt arise! Dates, Orange blossom honey & walnuts, sour cherry whisk you to distant countries of which they were inspired – for every batch comes from a family memory. Ideas inspired by dishes or flavors from Homa’s home country of Iran. Enjoy her story. This is the third installment of our exciting video collaboration with Food & Wine Magazine on The Best American Artisans. Look out for Homa’s yogurt at select specialty stores in New York City. Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy eating!+ More details
"Not everyone in the Middle East eats hummus and falafel everyday." Meet Ron & Leetal Arazi, the founders and chefs behind NYShuk Harissa, an artisan, aromatic chili paste made in Brooklyn, NY. As Ron explained to me, you can find harissa in almost every North African/Middle Eastern family kitchen. Every mom has a family recipe passed down from their mom, and every recipe is different. Though not yet an American staple, harissa is becoming more and more familiar around professional kitchens. I've seen it in the aisles of gourmet markets. In restaurants, on interesting sandwiches and egg dishes. It's like sriracha 5 years ago, about to have its moment. For Ron & Leetal, this is a blessing and a curse: as mass produced harissa is on the rise, the tradition of homemade harissa is "dying." So, they started NYShuk to preserve the craft. Using 3 distinct types of chili peppers and tons of physical labor, their harissa refuses to cut corners, "a night & day difference from most supermarket brands." It's a condiment that transforms dishes, that magic kitchen ingredient the adds richness and depth to a dish. I mix it into mashed potatoes, simmer it into soups, braise it into meats. To be honest, I'm having my own harissa epiphany, and NYShuk wants you to have one too. You can purchase NYShuk Harissa online from their website. They make new batches every week, so it's guaranteed fresh. Thanks for watching and supporting my food. curated. Best American Artisans story partnership with Food & Wine Magazine. Happy Eating!+ More details
"I really truly believe I grow the best food in the world." As part of an exciting video partnership with Food & Wine Magazine, I am happy to introduce you to Nevia No, the spiritual gardener and owner of Bodhi Tree Farm, a one-of-a-kind, specialty vegetable farm based in Pemberton, New Jersey. Nevia is a black sheep of the farming community. At the farm, you won't find charts or watering schedules; but, instead you might find Nevia in a field happily singing and dancing to her crops. She abandons traditional protocol for something more spiritual, letting her farm practices be guided by an instinct or a feeling. To her, a vegetable's spirit must be nurtured, and along with that, provided with room for suffering. "Most farmers laugh at me," she'll readily admit with a confident smile. But, laugh as you may, for her vegetables and clientele speak for themselves. In just under 5 years of launching, Nevia landed over 65 top restaurant accounts in NYC, many with chefs of high regard. At the farmers market, her vegetables always look the happiest. It might seem far-fetched for me to say, but it's true. Pull up to Nevia's vegetable stand, and the vegetables look sturdier, healthier, more colorful, more inviting and more ready to eat. Come see for yourself, the secret is in the suffering. For more info on Food & Wine's picks for Best American Artisans, head to the F&W Artisan Hub. Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy eating your vegetables! http://www.foodcurated.com http://www.twitter.com/foodcurated http://www.foodandwine.com/artisans+ More details
"The donuts give our bakers a chance to be naughty, really. We literally carpet bomb them with sugar." Meet Justin Gellatly, the head baker of Bread Ahead Bakery located at the popular food stalls in London's Borough Market. Good fortune brought me to Bread Ahead early one morning in England. A wave of heavy rock blasted from the kitchen, while an army of men in white danced to the beat of their own bread making. But, I wasn't here for the bread this morning, I was here for Justin's legendary custard-filled donuts - a menu item so famous and so blogged about, sometimes, even Justin admittedly can't cope with it. My local journalist friend, Felicity Spector, suggested this story and I am forever grateful. Justin is a modern day Willy Wonka of sorts - a true craftsman who delights in the wonder of his creations. Watch as his eyes light up when talking about the experience of eating his donuts. There's a cheeky amusement to it, a sense that he's recreated the magical experience of being a kid again. I tried to share one of his donuts. A novice mistake, as these are not made for sharing. In one bite, you instantly want to be alone. The gush of cream is surprising, and it ends up everywhere! On your nose, on your cheeks, all over your fingers. Moments later, you find no matter how much you've licked and wiped away, there is still more custard. An everlasting memory of the most famous donuts in London. Enjoy his story. Thanks for watching food. curated.! Keep in touch: http://www.foodcurated.com http://www.twitter.com/SkeeterNYC http://www.breadahead.com+ More details
Meet Angel Jimenez, the very charming owner of La Pirana Lechonera, a Puerto Rican food truck located in a lively neighborhood of South Bronx, New York City. Here, the big event is roast pork. Families and workers from all over the neighborhood, bring their kids and dogs to gather and feast on the whole cooked pigs Angel roasts every Saturday and Sunday. This place feels special. From the makeshift oven shed adorned with silly plush toys, to the over abundance of beach paraphernalia and Puerto Rican flags, you instantly feel somewhere. A vibe that's genuinely New York. I can't wait for you to see "La Pirana's" story. From the first bite, I couldn't get over the tenderness and rich flavors found in Angel's pork. Get over there soon and bring friends, the serving sizes are huge! Thanks for watching food. curated.! Congrats to all the Vendy Award Finalists. Happy Eating! Storyteller/Editor: Liza de Guia Find us online: http://www.foodcurated.com http://www.facebook.com/foodcurated+ More details
"Why would I eat other people's tacos? Our tacos are the best." Meet Johnny, the 21-year old co-owner of El Rey Del Taco, a family-run Mexican food truck based in Astoria, Queens. Confidence coming from someone so young, usually is pure cockiness. But in this case, I know he and his truck have earned it. For over a decade, Johnny's mom and dad have been feeding late-night food goers delicious tacos with recipes inspired by their hometowns in Mexico. The selection of braised and cooked meats are so moist and tender, so perfectly spiced. It's no wonder they are considered one of the three "Kings of Astoria". And if you don't believe me, just stand in line and ask the patrons for yourself. This truck is an Astoria institution. Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy Eating! For more stories, find us online: Http://www.foodcurated.com http://www.twiiter.com/skeeternyc+ More details
"People always order chicken tikka masala. We want to change that." Meet Alamgeer "Al" Elahi, the founder and owner of Desi Food Truck, a mobile NYC vendor bringing the best of Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi/Tibetan cuisine right to the heart of SOHO Square Park. You'll see, Al is a character. His enthusiasm for the food he grew up on is electric. His charisma makes everything he feeds you come to life with a burst of excitement. You can't help but join in on the frenzy of laughter and joy. Even the way he speaks about the history of his menu items is engaging: how his dishes began, centuries ago, as the food of kings and queens -- now, prepared and eaten by over a billion people daily. Al's stories make you eager to experience flavor that's uniquely regional and important to his people. A chance to take part in his culture. Enjoy his story... Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy Eating! Director: Liza de Guia Editor: Liza de Guia Food. Curated. stories: http://www.foodcurated.com NYC Vendy Awards 2014: http://www.vendyawards.streetvendor.org/newyorkcity/ Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SkeeterNYC+ More details
"Most dairy-free yogurts aren't white. But, they should be. I didn't want to put anything fake in the food I was making." Meet Anita Shepherd, the inventor and founder of Anita's Creamline Coconut Yogurt, a small-batch, dairy free yogurt business based in Brooklyn, NY. Of all the makers I've worked with, no one has been more outspoken about the lengths they go to keep their secret recipe on lockdown (a recipe she even keeps from her husband) than Anita. It may seem crazy, and a bit overboard, but if you watch her story, you'll understand. It took her YEARS to develop the consistency, the texture, the perfect flavor of her yogurt. Even when everyone told her to give up, she persisted. She kept testing and testing (and testing and testing and testing...) until, she became an expert herself. In my experience of dairy-free yogurts, I have seen and tasted nothing like it. It is of the highest quality. Pure ingredients, nothing fake. With a creamline, so thick, so beautifully white, it makes you doubt it's not dairy. I start to think that we should all go a little crazy sometimes. Why fighting for what we want, leads to impossible things. That's the greatness of invention. And I admire Anita. A lot. I hope you give it a try. Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy eating!+ More details
Meet Brendan Davison, the founder and grower at Good Water Farms, a certified organic microgreens farm located in East Hampton, Long Island. Before we get started, I took away a couple of important lessons while filming this story: 1) just because you used to grow "medicinal herbs" (wink, wink) in California doesn't mean you can't apply that experience to agriculture, and 2) I never really knew how intense broccoli, celery or a carrot could REALLY taste until I tried them as microgreens. You think you're ready for it, but you're not. Pop these little suckers in your mouth and your taste buds explode. They are so concentrated. Just imagine the array of possibilities for new recipes, new dishes. You get it. It's a pretty great feeling from something so small! Just to be clear, Brendan is a "grower" not a farmer. There's a difference, he tells me. Farmers tend to the land. He tends to soil. On trays. Plus, he needs to make the distinction since the local farmers don't really take him seriously. To them, what he grows is a trend. A passing fad. And Brendan, well, he's out to prove them wrong. He believes microgreens are the future of food. Come see why... To taste Good Water Farms microgreens, you can visit a number of restaurants in New York City & The Hamptons that serve his products. Or you can order them right to your door from GoodEggsNYC. I'm a huge fan of this local artisan/farm focused food delivery service. They make eating well very convenient. And I'm collaborating with them to bring you stories from a few of our favorite food makers. More to come. Thanks so much for watching food. curated.! Peace, Love & Microgreens!+ More details
"I aspire to be a sushi master of the bread & butter world. The 'Jiro Dreams of Sushi' of bread and butter." Meet Dan Richer, the James Beard Rising Star chef semi-finalist and owner of Razza Pizza Artiginale in Jersey City, NJ. I remember his laugh the most. There's a quality, a character to it, as if he knows he's laughing at his own joke, poking fun at his own self-awareness. I find it charming, that Dan admits to being crazy. Crazy about ingredients. Crazy about sourcing. Crazy about everything that passes in and out of his kitchen. He is picky and meticulous to say the least. When he starts a new food project, he has to master it. "It's part of being a craftsman," he tells me. Part of his fight against mediocrity. To him, mediocrity serves no one. And maybe that's the mark of a true artisan, someone willing to go those extra lengths. To move towards perfection. Here at Razza's this design is in everything, especially in the bread & butter. Blink...and you'll miss the dish on Razza's menu. Miss it, and I'll feel truly sorry for you. It's special. Really special. Even now, I can remember spreading the soft, salted butter over the oven-warmed bread. An act of salivation! Every bite is pillowy, the butter uniquely grassy, tangy. The crust alive and darkly caramel. The slippery coat on your lips, triggers a need for more bread, more butter. You marvel that something so simple, so overlooked, could be so satisfying. To me, it's the most memorable dish on Dan's small menu, which says a lot coming from a restaurant with pizza in its name. And that's ok with Dan. While learning to make a better pizza, he got sucked into the rabbit hole of fermentation. Now, as you'll see, it's become his specialty. The bread & butter is Dan's greatest achievement, showcasing everything about food that's important to him. Enjoy his story. Thanks so much for supporting food. curated.! Happy eating!+ More details
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