Friends have told me that my cakes and cookies are pretty terrific. So let’s say that I’ve decided to try to cash in on my baking hobby. Do I really want to go to the bother and expense of setting up an elaborate web site to launch my fledgling effort? The answer is, not if I can avoid it.
That’s what Jacy Cakes of New York, specializing in custom wedding and other special occasion cakes, did. The baker set up a digital shop and promoted it with an arresting come-on: designer shoes made entirely of sugar.
Who’s on BookofCooks? Caterers and personal chefs, as well as aspiring bakers and cooks who are eager to sell you their wares.
So far roughly 2,000 storefronts have been erected and several hundred transactions have been logged on BookofCooks, says site co-founder Julian Mellicovsky. For your digital shop, you can chose the free option or one of two paid premium plans which come with some additional features. The aim is to help you sell products to people in your local area.
For purchasers, the proposition isn’t entirely clear. Why would I buy, cupcakes from some random Manhattan or Brooklyn baker, when I’m tripping over established cupcakeries everywhere I turn? If I’m in the market for a personal chef—Wow, that sounds like a lovely idea!—I’m going to want to get personal references, not just pick someone totally at random off a website.
Still, if you’re catering an event or looking for someone to cook dinners for you on a regular basis, the site’s meant as a first point of contact for locating nearby talent, says Mellicovsky, who may soon add personal testimonials to lend additional credibility to vendors posting on the site.
You can search by city and type of food. Each storefront provides a description of services offered, contact information and a link to each seller’s web site for more details on products and prices. Merchants check off whether they deliver or are willing to cook at your home.
The question is, are customers looking for a Yellow Pages of local food talent? BookofCooks is hoping they’ll be fine with what boils down to little more than an online bake sale.
Who knew that chefs hanker for a round of golf after coming off a marathon workweek? Not only chefs but bartenders and other restaurant personnel often head for the links on their day off. No doubt some do catch up on sleep on their Monday off. But not the high-octane contenders in the first-ever Chef and Bartender Golf Classic organized by Vintage Hudson Valley.
Seventy-six chefs, bartenders and restaurant managers competed at the golf tournament last week at Beekman Country Club, Hopewell Junction, in Westchester. Most hailed from the Hudson Valley.
Beau MacMillan, an Arizona chef (Elements, in Phoenix) who co-hosts the Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America, was among those who traveled the farthest. The event honored Glynwood, which works with Hudson Valley communities to support environmentally sustainable farming.
Sally Rich, general manager of Twist in Hyde Park, beamed as she collected her golf bag for longest women’s drive. “It was only my second time out—I couldn’t believe it when the ball just kept going, “ she said.
There were prizes for losers, too. Lee Hillson, sous chef at the Royal Palms Resort & Spa in Phoenix, took home two golf bags—one for highest overall score and the other for highest score on a single hole.
Après golf, the decibel level rose inside the clubhouse as golfers sampled baby vegetables with ramp vinaigrette from Valley at the Garrison, paapdi chaat dished up by Chutney Masala and a passionfruit custard confection from Chiboust.
Fabulous eats all, but as the party broke up, Peter Kelley of Xaviars Restaurant Group was overheard telling some pals, “There’s this place in Port Chester…” It was Monday, after all, and for these back-of-house luminaries, the evening was not even close to over.
In the Fall, food events abound in New York. It’s a great time to do some sampling and watch chefs at work.
Worried about consuming all those calories? Take a long walk in Riverside Park or bike down the Greenway. The following weekend food event roundup is Part 1 of a three part series. Coming up: a look ahead to October and November food happenings.
Oct. 2-17. Switch from burgers to wursts at the Shacktoberfest. The German sausages and such include currywursts, polish sausages, braised red cabbage and a concrete that mimics German chocolate cake. If you crave something stronger, there’s Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale and Bluepoint Oktoberfest. At the Upper West Side Shack, on the corner of Columbus Avenue and 79th Street, and at the Madison Square Park Shack location. 11 AM to 11 PM, 7 days a week. www.shakeshacknyc.com. (Via Serious Eats)
October 3-4. This event is sold out, but it’s worth noting for next year. New York Magazine and the French Culinary Institute are putting on the second annual New York Culinary Experience. For the all-inclusive price of $1,395, there are master classes and cooking demos with more than 30 chefs, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jacques Torres, Jacques Pépin, and Iron Chef Morimoto. http://nymag.com/nyce/ (Via Grub Street)
Oct 3. If you’re a lover of bivalves, then head for the Grand Central Oyster Frenzy at the Grand Central Oyster Bar . Oysters start at $2 apiece, and beer at $5.75. A special “Frenzy Menu” is priced à la carte. Top Chef alum Fabio Trabocchi will do a demo. Noon to 6 p.m. www.oysterbarny.com/ (Via Grub Street)
Oct. 3. Chile Pepper Fiesta The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is holding a Chile Pepper Fiesta where Corwin Kave of Fatty Crab and other chefs will demonstrate how to use chile peppers. Sample goodies and listen to music. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for seniors and students, and free for children under 1. http://www.bbg.org/vis2/2009/chilepepperfiesta/.
October 3. NYC coffee roaster, Dallis Coffee, and NYC coffee consultant, TampTamp Inc., will host a special Slow U seminar on coffee. Learn from these NYC coffee experts, Anne Nylander, of TampTamp, and Teresa von Fuchs, of Dallis, how coffee is grown, sourced, and processed while delving into the social, political, and economic complexities of the global coffee trade. Samples offered. Think Coffee, 248 Mercer St, (btwn. 3rd and 4th Sts.), Manhattan. 10:00 am to 12:30 pm. Tickets: Slow Food Members – $20 / Non-members – $25 Tickets Available ONLY on-line at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/82412
If you want a glimpse of how chefs buy at the Greenmarket, these two farm-to-table tours with Alex Guarnaschelli of Butter and Peter Hoffman of Savoy may be just the ticket. Afterward, you get to eat a meal at each chef’s restaurant prepared from what they’ve gathered at the market that day. Here are the details for these two events: