One highlight of the afternoon was the demos given by people sharing their expertise. Jackie Gordon, aka The Singing Chef, gave a lesson on how to temper chocolate. I didn’t get myself together today in time to make the lesson itself, but I managed to arrive to see the results, this delicious dark chocolate-sesame bark. Why I didn’t end up trying it at the Chinese New Year’s Potluck, I’m not sure, but this time, I managed to snag a piece of it, savoring each deep, dark, nutty bite.
Another very talented cook, Emily Hanhan of Nomnivorous, showed everyone how to make her Plum Lemon Jam Marshmallows. I sampled her Bourbon Brown Sugar ones, which reminded me of one of my favorite bits to sneak off of the sticky buns my mother would make as a special treat for us. I love the extra-crispy caramelized sugar pieces, and her marshmallows brought that taste back to me. I think I need to make an appointment to fit in her next how-to class at Brooklyn Brainery.
In addition to the demos, part of the day featured discussions by and with food artisans. I missed the earlier talk about launching an independent food business with Granola Lab‘s Alex Croiser and Electric Blue Baking Co.‘s Anita Shepherd, but I did get there in time to hear Liza De Guia of Food. curated chat with – in the order seated in the photo above – Keavy Blueher (Kumquat Cupcakes), Liz Neves (Raganella), Ulla Kjarval (Spring Lake Farm), and Vicky Oh (Arirang Kimchi) about their work. Liza’s mission is getting to know food producers and producing videos about their stories and their businesses.
What is wonderful about watching Liza’s videos is seeing the way that she captures the passion and artistry that these individuals put into their creations. She herself said that she didn’t realize the impact that her stories would have on promoting these enterprises, but she’s heard from many of the folks she’s profiled that her work has helped bring to light all of their efforts and has helped new customers to find them and their products. For Liza, it has also been about making new friends. For her subjects, they say it has helped them to find each other, bringing together a strong community of people dedicated to developing small food-focused businesses so that we all get to eat better.
Shortly after the panel ended, Jane Lerner, the co-host of BK Swappers, gave the assembled crowd a chance to check out what was swappable before starting the official part of the event. Here’s some of the guidelines for how the swap was to go. Everyone had labeled what they’d brought and had this bid card by their offering.
I hadn’t come prepared to swap anything, so I didn’t participate, but I saw several incredible-sounding things, like caramel sauce from @spatulaqueen, cider, chutney, soaps, and soda bread. Next time, I’m going to come more prepared with something delicious to exchange with my fellow food folks. Thank you to BK Swappers for an informational and inspirational day and a chance to connect with some amazing people.