(This post is late. Really late. But still extremely important to me, so here it goes! Better late than never?)
In early April I went on a career trek to Union Square Hospitality Group and Brooklyn Food Works, and then ended the weekend by going to the Cherry Bombe Marketplace. In between these events, I got to explore more of NYC’s food scene with fellow classmates who also happened to be city natives. A very inspiring, food-filled weekend!
First, we had the incredible opportunity to meet and speak with Danny Meyer, the CEO of USHG. Something that really stuck with me was what he said about what makes a good restaurant. USHG boasts 28 James Beard Foundation Awards and is consistently rated highly by publications such as The New York Times and Zagat. However, Meyer said that while these awards are all amazing honors, what matters most to him is winning awards such as “Most Favorite Restaurant in NYC.” He explained that you can make every last detail in your restaurant absolutely perfect: the world’s top chefs, the highest quality ingredients, impeccable servers… but becoming someone’s favorite restaurant is the most difficult achievement.
His words have stuck with me ever since. What makes a restaurant a favorite restaurant? I think that what Meyer described is what draws me most to this industry. A good restaurant isn’t just about the food, but about the memories and the people.
Brooklyn Foodworks brought another exciting perspective of the food industry, from the product-based start-up side. Kitchens are expensive and perishable food companies are hard, so Brooklyn Foodworks provides a shared kitchen and thinking space for small food companies to learn from each other before they earn enough money to support themselves on their own. While the USHG office had a creative but definitely fine-tuned maturity, Brooklyn Foodworks buzzed with raw excitement and unpolished energy. We walked through the back kitchen to see the shelves and shelves of ingredients, all with tape labels of the new companies in sharpie. People working at Brooklyn Foodworks came from all backgrounds, ranging from food delivery boys to high-level consultants.
Finally, I ended the weekend by going to Cherry Bombe Marketplace (the more affordable, second-day version of Cherry Bombe Jubilee!). At the Marketplace, I got to meet even more incredible food entrepreneurs, all of them incredible women. I loved looking around at each of the different stalls, each with their unique products, thoughtful designs, interesting backstories; each representing countless hours of hard work and passion. I also got to meet my food blogging idol (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Molly Yeh from my name is yeh, as she gave a sprinkle cake demonstration. Again, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It’s been almost 2 months now, but I still can’t get this weekend out of my mind. I left NY on such a high!