When the chance came to reconnect with the food and chefs that we fell in love with while on our honeymoon in Paris, Asheley and I jumped on board. Better yet, it was happening right here close to home in Brooklyn! Chef Daniel Rose of Spring Restaurant, Chef Inaki Aizpitarte of Le Chateaubriand, and even Pastry Chef extraordinaire Pierre Hermé were flown in from the City of Light (as well as several other chefs from around the globe), collaborating with some of Brooklyn Flea's finest food vendors. Welcome to Le Fooding: Brooklyn Fling 2012, a 5-day event showcasing the parallel food trends driving the culinary scenes in Brooklyn and big cities across the globe... a breed of new, young, radical chefs that are at the heart of the global culinary landscape. As the people at Le Fooding put it, the festival was "an insta-capture moment of all that is most alive in 2012, at the crossroads of style and deliciousness."
Enjoy the various snapshots from Campfire Session #2, held at the Williamsburg Brooklyn Flea Market overlooking the stunning Manhattan skyline. Just check out this view:
As we arrived at the general admission time of 7:30 p.m., the line was already impressively long. Things moved along quickly though, as the event was extremely well-organized (much more so than the last tasting event we went to). The very reasonable $60 admission price entitled each attendee to 5 savory plates, a special dessert creation by Pierre Hermé himself, and 2 Jameson-based concoctions. Music filled the air with DJ sets and performances by Mos Def and others.
So here's how it worked: Each of the Brooklyn Flea food vendors (The Meat Hook, Mile End Delicatessen, Choncho’s Tacos, Brooklyn Bangers by Saul Bolton, and PizzaMoto) were teamed up with one of the guest chefs: Inaki Aizpitarte of Le Chateaubriand, Paris; the Young Turks, London; Daniel Rose of Spring, Paris; Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food (San Francisco & New York City), and Fredrik Berselius of Frej (Brooklyn, NY). Paris pastry chef Pierre Hermé, known for his incredibly macarons, manned his own tent sponsored by San Pellegrino Sparkling Fruit Beverages.
Upon entering, we jumped in the first line we saw:
Brooklyn Bangers features the signature house-made sausages, smoked kielbasa, weisswurst, merguez, chicken and foie gras, of Michelin-starred Chef Saul Bolton. They were teamed up with Chef Daniel Rose of Spring Restaurant, Paris. If you read my post about Spring Restaurant, you already know how much of a fan I am of Chef Rose. His dishes are always very well balanced, the ingredients impeccably sourced, and the flavors simply amazing. I was super excited to try their co-created dish.
Here's Saul Bolton working the grill:
I had the chance to briefly say hi and talk to Chef Daniel Rose, who was super gracious to be here in Brooklyn and to hear about how much I really loved Spring Restaurant.
You want a picture of Daniel and I? Oh ok, sure, why not:
The dish, called The Eleanor, was superb: an open faced sandwich of sorts topped with a medallion of sausage, dried cherries, pickled onions, and walnuts.
Wandering through the Brooklyn Flea Market, we stumbled upon Pierre Hermé's tent, sponsored by San Pellegrino. The line was so small, Asheley and I decided to have dessert a little early 🙂
A look at all those desserts he has hiding behind him...
When I spoke briefly to Chef Hermé and asked him what the name of his dessert was, he simply replied "There is no name!" But I can tell you one thing, they were ridiculously amazing... definitely one of the best 2 things I ate all night.
This was the Blood Orange pastry he created, with a graham cracker crust, topped with a delicately perfect blood orange mousse and a light meringue topping. I was partial to this one, while Asheley really loved the Lemon:
A look into the middle of this sweet concoction:
As we rounded the corner from Pierre Hermé's tent, we came upon a crazy long line, with a bright pinkish-red glow coming from the other end.
As we got up closer to the action, I realized what the longest line at Le Fooding was for: phenom Chef Danny Bowien, who is taking NYC by storm:
Bringing his outrageously popular Mission Chinese Food from San Francisco to Manhattan's Lower East Side this past Spring, the restaurant has seen a more than steady overflow of eager diners and tremendously good press. Everyone was super excited to see the man behind Mission Chinese Food in action.
Danny Bowien was teamed up with Pizza Moto, which serves up pizzas from their mobile wood fired oven every weekend at Smorgasburg. Their dish was this flavor-bursting Kung Pao Pastrami Pizza. It was definitely the best savory dish of the night.
Next up was Chef Inaki Aizpitarte of Le Chateaubriand, Paris, who was teamed up with The Meat Hook, known for their various sausage offerings. Here's a look at the grilling action:
While Chef Inaki Aizpitarte was busy plating...
And here is their dish: Grilled Red Wine and Rosemary Pork Sausage with a watercress and anchovy purée.
That green purée sauce was a familiar sight, as Chef Aizpitarte actually used a similiar sauce in a dish he made during our visit to Le Chateaubriand in Paris back in July:
Ah, memories... anyway, I digress.
There was surprisingly no line at the Mile End Deli/Young Turks tent when we walked over:
Max Levine from Mile End Deli was grilling up some salmon belly over a wood-fired grill:
And brushing on a quince-glaze:
The salmon belly was just grilled on one side, then handed off for portioning:
Dedicated to breathing new life into old-world traditions, the husband-wife team Noah and Rae Bernamoff, along with close friend Max Levine, opened Mile End Deli in 2009. Since then they have been serving a non-stop rush of customers at both their Brooklyn and Manhattan locations, as well as several street fairs throughout NYC. They were teamed up with the Young Turks from London, and their collaboration yielded this Quince Glazed Salmon Bellies on the Wood Grill, which was topped with a radish salad.
Here's an up close look. The flavors were delicate but very delicious, with the fatty salmon belly pairing nicely with the fresh radish.
And finally, last up was the collaboration of Brooklyn Flea food vendor Chonco's Taco with Fredrik Berselius of Frej, who served up some Fish Tacos. I have to admit, this was my least favorite dish of the night. The flavors were overall underwhelming and the dill felt out of place. I added some hot sauce, which helped the dish a bit...
All in all, the Le Fooding Brooklyn Fling 2012 Campfire Session #2 (phew, that was a mouthful) was a huge success. It was run extremely well with fast moving lines, had a really fun and laid-back atmosphere filled with beautiful views, and the food was really outstanding! It was a ton of fun seeing the guest chefs collaborate with the Brooklyn Flea food vendors, and to reconnect with the food of Paris!