Meet Brad Farmerie, chef at a trio of Manhattan restaurants: Public (which got a Michelin star last year), The Monday Room and Double Crown (which the WSJ called “fabulous” when it opened in September 2008). He’s also been a contender on Iron Chef, where he competed in a maple syrup kitchen battle. (Seriously.)
He and his wife, Jocelyn, and son, Bruno, come to us from Tiffany Place — “The neighborhood with no name,” as Brad calls it. But because he creates culinary wonders and is a member of the CSA, we’ll adopt him as an honorary Red Hooker.
He and his family have been our neighbors for the past four years, lured to South Brooklyn by the “relaxed feel, proximity to parks, and the chance to have a bedroom ready for our son, who joined the family about 16 months ago.”
He chats with the Collard Courier about his passion for food:
What was the food culture in your house growing up?
My childhood was one big amazing food experience. Ever since I can remember, my parents had a garden that provided our vegetables. My mother baked her own bread, and she experimented with a lot of new dishes from her Bon Appetit collection that grew and grew until it took over a good portion of the kitchen.What’s your favorite vegetable?
I could eat corn every day and not grow tired of it. I love wild mushrooms and butternut squash too. I’m looking forward to fall.
One food you won’t you eat?
I eat absolutely everything except “stinky tofu,” which certainly lives up to its name. Jocelyn doesn’t eat asparagus, which means it’s usually off of the menu for me, too.
Favorite food experience?
Too many to mention. My most recent favorite memory was taking part in a wild boar hunt in South Carolina, conquering our prey with just a knife, then using the next 24 hours to teach the hunters how to use every single portion of the pig so that nothing goes to waste.
Many admitted to only having tried pork chops in the past. These pork chop people were excited and amazed with how much they liked liver mousse, boudin noir, and pig’s head terrine.
At home, it is the Japanese mandolin. With very little effort you can get consistent super thin slices — with only a small chance of losing the tips of your fingers!
Most disastrous kitchen or garden experiment:
When I was about 7, I took it upon myself to do a good deed and weed our neighbor’s garden, which entailed cutting down the rhubarb, pulling up the corn stalks and chopping the zucchini. Needless to say my good deed did not go unnoticed.
Why are you involved in CSAs?
We love the education that the Red Hook Farm provides the community (including my family). We enjoy having a link to where our food comes from, and a tie to the seasonality of the food that we are eating at home. It’s also a fun experience going to the farm, talking to the folks there, and hauling home the bags of goodies. It’s sort of like Halloween for grown-ups, minus the masks.
What’s the best lunch option near you?
The best lunch option is right on my doorstep. We make a “family meal” for all of our employees at lunch and dinner time. And since I’m eating it, I make sure it’s going to be something good.
What inspires you?
My wife and my son.
Your opinion: Does talking to plants help them grow?
Of course they need a little talking to! It’s just common courtesy, right?
Do you sing to them?
I don’t think that they (or anyone else for that matter) want to hear that…
Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
If you don’t believe that you can rise to a challenge, no one else will either… Believe in yourself and you can make things happen.
Tell us one thing about yourself that would surprise us.
Despite a reputation for cooking wild game and unusual cuts of meat, Jocelyn and I cook predominantly vegetarian meals at home.