Shop Renovations, August 2013

Weekly narratives inspired by our experiences owning and operating a piece of the NYC food community. Some are introspective. Some are related to the nuts and bolts of what it means to be a small (food) business owner today. Some are related to our involvement in NYC's ever evolving pop-up food culture. Somewhere along the lines, I'm likely to touch on everything in between. 

All the recipes you'll find here are grounded in natural, whole and seasonal ingredients. Because of the nature of our sandwich shop, I tend to be most inspired by healthful condiments, unique pickles, rustic breads and the occasional sweet. 

I like food. A lot. So much so that when I was a kid I used to regularly position my arm as a sort of barricade around my daily dinners and cry every time an adult scooped a spoonful of something delicious off my plate (true story). As an adult, I’m the type of person who gets lost at food markets for days and who takes a full hour to eat a sandwich, savoring every satisfying bite. I guess it is no surprise I married a chef (food, as it turns out, truly was the way into this girl’s heart).

When you are a food lover, and you find yourself married to a chef, it is not hyperbole to say that food rules your life (in the best possible way). Together, the chef and I cook a lot. We eat a lot. And to make matters worse, in 2011, we even went ahead and opened our own little piece of the NYC food scene. Along with our dear friend, we own Mayhem and Stout, an artisan sandwich company that specializes in slow braised meat sandwiches and unique small batch condiments. It's a crazy life, one which often covers us in splashes of red wine and leaves our clothes smelling like slowly cooked meats for days. It's fun and spontaneous and terrifying all at once. I like to think of it as our shared lifelong dream sandwiched between two slices of locally made bread. 

In August 2013, we took another big step and took the plunge from operating as a pop-up food vendor to opening our first permanent brick and mortar space (711 2nd Avenue, NYC). It's still pretty hard to believe. When we started, we didn't have any cool connections to help us spread the word about our food. We had nearly zero cash and even less of a clue. And yet, somehow, here we are...

From what I gather, the first year of business is rumored to be the most important -- the "make or break, survival of the fittest, hold your breath, cross your fingers, and dive the hell in" year, so to speak. And while we've been fortunate enough to have survived our first (and then our second) year in the pop-up scene, I have no doubt that this year -- our first in our own real shop -- is the one that will really count.

I like to think of this site as a place where I can chronicle our first 52 weeks of full-time operation -- our successes and failures, our risks and indecisions, our moments of clarity and confusion, our adventures, our marriage, our dreams and our day-to-day life starting (and sustaining) an NYC-based food business from scratch. On this site, you can expect to find recipes in the realm of rustic breads, unique pickles, and eclectic condiments. And, because I have an insatiable sweet tooth, you're bound to find the occasional recipe for something sweet. So there you have it.

Hopefully, by way of this site, I can help lend a hand to other dreamers like us. Or perhaps a laugh. At the very least, I'll share a recipe for pie.

I hope you enjoy the stories and recipes you'll find here. Thanks for dropping by. 

thechefswifenyc (at) gmail (dot) com

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