The Roots, the roots, the roots are on Fire!!!

Another Experiment behind us, how was it for you?

The Brooklyn Roots Experiment begs the question: Why was this Experiment different from all other Experiments?
-Well, Bobby Steingoldschwartz, we held it in a new location: The Invisible Dog Gallery and it made a huge difference. I give all the props in the world to The Bell House and the GM. They always make the trains run on time. So, we did it in a new space and… it felt like the first time, like an Experiment Virgin touched for the very first time.

First, the space – have any of you been to The Invisible Dog Gallery? It is beautiful, light and airy, windows lining the walls. It worked perfectly for the event. We had planned a smaller more intimate Experiment and the space worked to our advantage.  The rough wood floors gave the room warmth, the event had a friendlier vibe as a result.

But isn’t it really about the Food? Isn’t it always about the food? The Brooklyn Roots Experiment was a different type of theme for us, a little ambiguous to some contestants. Normally, we name an ingredient and say, “go!”  Originally, we got a lot of entries for root dishes featuring beet, carrots, potatoes, it started to sound like a Russian Widows Convention. Anyway, The Brooklyn Roots Experiment was three fold. One could either make a dish using an ingredient grown in Brooklyn, make a dish featuring a product made in Brooklyn, or create a dish that best represents Brooklyn. As I said, it is all about The ROOTS baby!

polisk potluck

Team Lei-mo's Polish Potluck

respect to brooklyn's greatest rapper (sorry lil' kim)

Once everyone got the theme right, the dishes couldn’t have been better. All the chefs have learned to season like a pro. I was initially worried because so many people had last minute wholesale changes to their dish. Yet, the people with last minute updates ending up winning the majority of the prizes. As usual, I loved Roopa’s dish. She is a very talented baker who should probably quit her day job. I cannot say enough about Jill Strominger’s dish. It was very tasty and so well balanced. As I told her, after reading her entry – I was really worried. The ice cream she made could go on just about anything: Horseradish cream cheese Ice Cream – Fantastic! Andrey did his usual mad scientist work. This time, he really hit a cord in my memory. His salmon pastrami cheesecake tasted like a canape my mom used to make from my youth that I just loved. I do not have the time to highlight all the wonders, the home made reindeer hot dog (are you kidding me) unbelievable, fresh made tortellini, braised brisket. And don’t forget the winner’s steak and potatoes – perfectly cooked! Like Butter!

Beet It

Just Beet It - Beet Bread Pudding

Andrey applying the final touches to his salmon pastrami cheesecake

And who was left responsible for judging these amateur culinary masters? A panel of geniuses the likes of which we have never seen. We had Melissa Clark from The New York Times, Frank Castronovo of Frankies 457, Ed Levine of Serious Eats, and Sheri Eisenburg of The Food Lovers Guide to Brooklyn. Wow. I was impressed with how nice and accommodating they were. I cannot thank them enough. We even had a surprise guest who declined to judge, but enjoyed the food.  Wylie Dufrense showed up with two sous chef in tow. They sampled the wares and gave a a thrill to some of our talented cheftestants. The judges left discussing the difficulty in choosing just one winner.

wylie and crew

Wylie and his crew hang out

Erin with her Reindeer Pølse

The best part of the event: The winner, John Husby, donated his entire prize to Ovarian Cancer Research which is a charity very dear to my wife’s and my heart.

more Brooklyn Roots photos

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