When I had this idea, about January of 2012, to find a reason to gather as many people as I could feed around a table - people who maybe just casually knew each other from the neighborhood or, especially, people who didn't know each other at all - I had no idea it would take off with such a lovely and warm reception.
What started as just a small idea on July 8th 2012 with 47 of the most amazing people I may ever meet in one room to wish me well, was simply a way to cook for a small crowd while I was on writerly and parentally induced chefdome hiatus. Quickly (and much to my delight) it became a fevered buzz of people who wanted to join in, in any capacity they could. Chefs, musicians, photographers, writers, models, artists came out of the wood work asking to lend a hand or be a part of it. All of a sudden, we were a beautiful revolving door of people who all brought something different to the table while I, at the core, kept the vibe and the food true to my initial vision. And guests came, and ate, and did something that many admitted to me that they were typically made incredibly uncomfortable by: sharing a long meal with total strangers. I, in turn, got to watch people share food and wine and laugh and dance. As I sit here and look back on pictures from the last year, it has occurred to me (sadly, maybe for the first time), that this has been so much bigger and better than I ever could have imagined. And, it's really just starting.
It's true, I have begun other very big endeavors at Husk with Sean Brock and Morgan McGlone and that, in and of itself, is such a wonderful, wild ride. People have either sadly asked or have naturally assumed with a shrug that BMR will be put to bed so that I can fulfill my duties as Pastry Chef at the restaurant. Let me tell you something about Sean Brock for just a quick minute: Never in my life could I have ever imagined that someone would see and respect my work as something worthy of their own investment of time or care. Typically, those of us who are driven by some passion that even we don't know the origin of, are happy to work in some strange vacuum in which our reward is the work itself - while it's certainly nice when it comes, we simply don't need press or attention or applause, we just need the work itself. We wake up at 4am thinking about the next thing or the last thing or the book we read or the idea we had that we don't want to forget and, weirdos that we are, we thrive on this. And then, my phone rings and Sean Brock tells me that he respects all that I'm doing and all that I'm working for and how can he help me build my dream. Seriously. I hope that everyone in their life is fortunate enough to have a Sean Brock in their corner at some point. His offer to me wasn't "come be my pastry chef". His offer to me was "come share what you know and do what you do and let's do that around each other in any capacity that we can". He is outwardly the most generous man you may ever meet and, as far as chefs go, I am nothing short of blessed to watch him work and learn from him both in the kitchen and in the public arena. BMR will continue and then some. And a gentleman like Sean Brock would never try to get in the way of that. Lucky me, all damn day.
And so, where IS it going?! Well. Since you asked: We're taking it on the road with a few homebase events planned here and there. We have San Francisco, Portland Oregon and Chicago on our docket for the upcoming year. BUT first (and holy shit I'm out of my head excited): New York City has invited us to come make some biscuits and pie and whatever else we fancy. Sarah Simmons, owner of the fabulous City Grit and recipient of Food and Wine Magazine's America's Greatest New Cooks hosts these beautiful Suppers at City Grit who can boast the company of guest chefs and Supper hosts such as Edward Lee, John Currence, Chris Hasting, Francis Lam and Peter Dale (not to mention my own darling Chef, Sean Brock). What Sarah is doing up in NYC seems like such a truly simpatico experience for us to be wandering into. Her beautiful space, her similar ideas about food - I think we'll be fast friends. It's easy to fall head over heels for people when good food is involved.
We are planning a soft anniversary menu - but we are also going to let the NYC spirit move us once we arrive. I can't wait to tour the markets, see what Sarah taps into as a chef in her region, see what mood strikes us. I will be bringing along with me the badass that is Jessica Cheatham as my right hand and, happily (and lucky for us!) along for the wild ride is photographer and wunderkind Andrea Behrends.
Our Sunday Supper at CityGrit will be Sunday, July 28th with a baking class the Saturday prior with a high emphasis on Hand Pies and Biscuits - the two things I am asked the most to teach.
A link to purchase tickets to our Sunday Supper in NYC can be found on the CityGrit website
And, of course, don't hesitate to email me directly with any questions. I'm really looking forward to another year of all of this ridiculous fun.
See you at the table,