This special Chef Demonstration and Tasting served as a benefit for FABnyc, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to participate in the culinary experience provided by the likes of Tom Birchard, owner of Veselka; Danny Mena, Chef-Owner of Hecho en Dumbo; and Scott Morris, Executive Chef of Mama’s Food Shop. (See the links to read our special features on each of the restaurants!) Culinary Center Director Min Liao, Culinary Center Educator Wai Chu, and FABnyc’s Executive Director Tamara Greenfield kicked off the evening by presenting the fabulous chefs and giving the crowd a taste of what lay in store…
Tom Birchard, Chef Michael Sullivan, and Manager Anthony Rotella, from the new Veselka Bowery, took the stage first, starting us off with homemade pirogis and potato latkes.
Attendees of the event were gifted with instructions on how to make latkes, and one lucky winner even went home with a much coveted Veselka Cookbook!
While Chef Michael cooked up a storm, Tom shared some of his personal history and experience in the East Village, describing how he came to the neighborhood and worked in Veselka as a young man.
Tom articulated how the East Village community, and Veselka itself, transformed over the course of multiple decades and told of how he became the owner of Veselka through his father-in-law, Veselka founder Wolodymyr Darmochwal.
(Visit Veselka’s website to read more of restaurants fascinating history!)
Though pirogis and potato latkes were filling, we were still hungry for more. Luckily, Chef Danny Mena of Hecho en Dumbo was up next to cook us tantalizing Mexican antojitos.
Danny started off by preparing some Mexican blood sausage. He described to us the consistency of this dish, for which he then pressed traditional handmade corn tortillas and added fresh salsa. Mmm! The smell of cooking tortillas filled the room, as we waited for their chance to try this delectable, savory treat.
Danny also elaborated on the methods for preparing ceviche with lime juice, topping off this demonstration by serving some beautiful Tostada Gaonera with seafood ceviche and spicy lime-clamato juice.The presentation was impeccable!
Chef Scott Morris of Mama’s Food Shop finished out the evening with some tasty home-cooking: bacon-wrapped meatloaf, and fennel, celery, and apple salad. As we munched on our healthy and hearty samples, Mama’s Food Shop owner, Jeremiah Clancy spoke about how he came to own Mama’s.
The original “Mama,” he confided, was, in fact, a robust Italian gentleman, and Jeremiah (a former photography student at NYU Tisch) took over the business from “Mama” after working in the restaurant during college.
As the festivities drew to a close and Culture Noshers finished off their final round of samples, Tamara Greenfield gave all chefs, participants, and Whole Foods’ feast facilitators, Min and Wai, a big thank you for putting this culinary experience together.
We from FABnyc are so thankful for everyone who came out to experience these unique flavors from the East Village, and we look forward to bringing New York City even more East Village Eats!