Take a behind-the-scenes virtual tour of Russ & Daughters’ Appetizing Factory at the Brooklyn Navy Yard! We’ll hear the story of how this iconic New York business was started over a hundred years ago by a pushcart peddler on the streets of the Lower East Side and step inside their bakery to see how they make bagels, babka, black and white cookies, and other appetizing delicacies!
Food carts are an iconic image of New York City that most New Yorkers pass every day. Even if they stop to enjoy their food, not many take in the beauty and visual appeal of food carts – that’s why photographer Maxwell Schiano published a 64-page zine of his photography celebrating these icons, New York City Vibe, Volume One. In this conversation, we will learn about his process and check out his stunning photos that reveal so many wonderful details about these carts and the people working inside them. We will also be joined by Carina Kauffman-Gutierrez, deputy director of the Street Vendor Project, who will update us on the current challenges vendors face in New York City.
For the final installment of this Thai food and culture series, we will travel virtually to Thailand and learn some basic Thai phrases to help us get around. Titcha Ho, a PhD candidate and lecturer at the University at Albany and professional tutor and language consultant, will give us a basic introduction to the Thai language. Then we will experience a live cooking demonstration from the Bangkok location of Somtum Der, a highly-acclaimed global restaurant group with two locations in New York City. Somtum Der CEO Tatchai Nakapan will also join to share how his restaurants have brought Isan (northeastern Thailand) cuisine to a global audience, from Bangkok to Tokyo, Ho Chi Minh City to Brooklyn!
Food is all about family and community, and Queens not only boasts some of the best Thai restaurants in New York City, but is also home to the largest Thai enclave in the northeast. On this virtual program, we will explore the neighborhood of Elmhurst with author, tour guide, local resident, and culinary consultant Joe DiStefano, who will join us live from Queens and highlight landmarks of the Thai community. We will also stop in to Sabay Thai to chat with Chef Busaya to learn about her upbringing in Northern Thailand and see what she’s cooking up in the kitchen. And we will head to Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, where Chef Tan will share dishes inspired by his mother at the family-owned Wanisa Home Kitchen.
How have Americans’ perceptions of Thai food and culture changed over time? And how have these perceptions affected what’s on the menu? We will tackle these questions with Mark Padoongpatt, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of Asian and Asian American Studies at University of Nevada Las Vegas and author of Flavors of Empire: Food and the Making of Thai America, who will share how Thai immigrants have navigated food systems to recreate the “yum” of their homeland. We’ll then head to the Baltimore-Washington area for interviews and cooking demos with two long-time Thai favorites that both feature diverse menus and incorporate a range of cultural influences. We’ll be joined by Chef Aulie Bunyarataphan and Mel Oursinsiri, the husband and wife team behind Bangkok Joe’s in Georgetown, who will share their story and how their concept came to include Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and French flavors alongside traditional Bangkok cuisine. Then we’ll visit with restauranteur Sireenuch Tengamnuary, owner for longtime Baltimore restaurant Thai Landing, and we’ll check in on her new restaurant, Towson, MD’s Absolute Thai-Sushi, where a Japanese sushi menu complements a wide range of Thai specialities.
On this virtual program, we will follow traditional Thai ingredients as they travel 12,000 miles from farms and factories to restaurants, shops, and take-out meals in New York City. We will get an insider’s view of this supply chain by visiting Vasinee Food Corp, a food importer and distributor in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Started over 30 years ago in a tiny warehouse in Manhattan’s Chinatown, today Vasinee is one of the largest distributors of Thai food products in the region. We will not only see products that they have in their warehouse, but how they prepare meals with these ingredients for their staff eats every day at their company lunch. We will also go live to 3 Aunties Food Market, a grocery store in Woodside, Queens that specializes in Thai products and prepared foods, to learn more about these unique ingredients and how to use them in your own cooking at home.
April 6 marks the 104th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I, but the impacts of this global conflict were already being felt in New York City. Starting in 1914, panicked markets, inefficient infrastructure, and marauding U-boats caused price shocks and shortages, and the war led directly to the creation of new modes of food distribution, leading to the creation of New York City’s wholesale and retail public market system that still exists today. In this program, we will examine reports from the time period by the city and state Departments and Markets about how new open-air markets were stood up, pushcart peddlers were mobilized to bring food to neighborhoods, and the public was educated to conserve scarce or strategically valuable ingredients.
Take a virtual walk through Midtown and learn about some of the food carts and food trucks that serve this neighborhood. We will discuss the history of street vending, the landscape of vending in the city today, and the regulations in NYC, including the impacts of a recent major reform to city law. Along the way we will check out some of our favorite spots, and talk to the vendors themselves about their food and the challenges of running a street food business. We wish we could pass out tastings with everyone, but we will share the spots that we visit to check out on your own.
Brian and his son Sam have set an ambitious goal: to make a traditional dish from every country in the world. They’ve been making their way through the countries alphabetically and documenting their process in a wonderful video series featuring cooking demos, insights on ingredients and culinary traditions, and of course, Sam’s taste test. Join us a for a live episode, where Brian will share what goes on behind the scenes making the videos, discuss where to find ingredients from every country on Earth, and do a cooking demo with one of his recent creations. So join us if you’ve ever wondered how to make Afghanistan’s Kabuli Pulao or Antiguan Johnny Cake (yes, they’re still on the A’s, but there are a lot of countries to get through!)