Happy Rosh Hashanah! *Sneeze, Sneeze. Cough.* Love that traditional post-show, change of season head cold.
So while it sucks that I can neither smell nor taste anything on the night of our family's (arguably) most delicious feast, it brightens my spirits a little to bring family and food together in another way: with the latest Baker's Dozen Interview - !
This time, I checked in with The Baker himself, our cousin-in-law, Brendan Corr, who is currently working dough-related magic as Chef de Cuisine at Co., the classy west-side Pizza and Snack Palace. Although he was characteristically cagey about certain things (he claims his recipes are "not ready for publication"), he is never shy about sharing his opinions or his enthusiasm. Here we go.
1) What are your earliest food memories?
Being in the kitchen as a toddler while my mother made pancakes. I would hang onto her leg as she tried to cook.
2)When did you know you wanted to make food professionally?
Somewhere between my first professional baking experience at The City Bakery, and managing the Greenmarkets. At the Market I got to know a lot of chefs. Some of them would let me trail in their kitchens. I was eager to learn, and being surrounded by food and knowledgeable people made it fun and exciting. In the kitchen at City Bakery I was happy doing the work. It was constant, precise, and required the use of body and mind.
3) You grew up in Ohio and Maryland, currently live in NYC, spend/spent a lot of timein Vermont, and did a brief sojourn in Los Angeles, about which we usually do not speak. What is your favorite food city?
New York. (Almost) everything is here. That being said, the Northeast Kingdom in VT, where I've spent a lot of time, is becoming an interesting pocket of creative and delicious food. Jasper Hill is doing a lot of good work for small cheesemakers in VT., not to mention little known breweries and other food producers in the region. I also think that NYC doesn't do regional American cooking well. I am from Baltimore, so my first 8 summers were spent consuming a lot of Crabs and Crabcakes. I haven't found anything close to that in New York. I actually broke up with a girlfriend after she took me out for crabs here and they were bad.
4) If you did not work in food, what do you think you'd be doing?
Something scientific that kept me outdoors most of the time. Marine Ecology? Biologists? Out on the sidewalk asking for change?
5) What are the top mistakes home cooks make that could be easily solved?
Overthinking things. Ingredients tend to prefer minimal processing to be delicious. A lot of recipes I see for home cooks overcomplicate by either adding steps, or adding ingredients that aren't really necessary.
6) Most annoying food trend at the moment.
-Standing in line for food.
-People on yelp. It is obvious to everyone that you are an unhappy person. Please don't share your complaining.
-Following David Chang like a smitten teenager. Someone announce him as prom king and get over it please.
-Chefs that go on about what annoys them...
7) Fall is coming!!! What should I make with fresh pumpkin?
Pumpkin Bread. I have a recipe that I love.
8) Favorite hangover cure?
Stage restaurant, large coffee, couch.
9) One food you simply could not live without.
10) Have you ever used your powers for evil?
Depends on what you mean by evil.
11) What do you do when you go to someone's house for dinner and the food is really terrible?
Have some more wine.
12) I've heard chefs like to play a game of "last supper"--as in, what your final meal would be if you could choose. What would yours be?
It would involve meat and potatoes, I know that much.
13) You and I share an enthusiasm for peaches. Yet somehow I have not cooked with them or eaten more than two all summer. Do you have any interesting peach-related recipes/ideas to share before it gets cold?
Get them while you can. I like them in almost any form. Peach yogurt? Totally. You can make it at home, I'll show you how.
And that's the latest. On a personal note, I would like to apologize for the pathetic, ran-out-of-brown-sugar-and-I-was-too-tired-to-buy-some apple crisp I will be bringing to the festivities. The Baker would be horrified. (Sneeze. Cough. Repeat)