faces behind the food

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Author: 
Ana Nicole Rodriguez
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Incorporating elements of the emerging microbrewery scene in New York City and drink traditions from Hong Kong, Brooklyn Soda Works has revolutionized the conventional soda. In this week's installment of Faces Behind the Food, co-owner Caroline Mak tells us about her internationally-inspired flavors like the popular lemongrass and lime. Caroline also shares how working as an installation artist has informed her new food career in helpful ways. For hours and locations of all of our vendors, see High Line Food.

Tell us about yourself and your passion for food and drink, including any fun or unusual facts that we might not know. (Any secret talents, perhaps?)

I’m from Hong Kong, a city with endless food offerings that have inevitably informed my own palette choices. In Hong Kong, many people brine lemons, which gives them a distinct taste. In diners, it's common to get a wedge of brined lemon in your soda. Inspired by this Hong Kong custom, we brine our own lemons every winter, and every spring, we have a salted lemon & ginger sparkling soda. We brew the brined lemons with fresh ginger juice. The result is a salty, gingery, fizzy drink with a hint of sugar.

Author: 
Ana Nicole Rodriguez
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In this week's installment of Faces Behind the Food, New York City’s friendliest barista, Caitlin McGinn of Blue Bottle Coffee, keeps us wired with fun stories about serving coffee weekly to thousands of people. Caitlin tells us about “life-changing coffees” like the New Orleans, and meaning of coffee for people from different parts of the world who visit the High Line. For hours and locations of all of our vendors, see High Line Food.

Tell us about yourself and your passion for food and drink, including any fun or unusual facts that we might not know. (Any secret talents, perhaps?)

I grew up in New York City, which means I've been exposed to all kinds of amazing cuisine and culture. I have also worked in restaurants since I could walk (sort of!). As such, being around delicious food, drink, and the people who create it is second nature to me. I have found an amazing community in Blue Bottle, and I am proud to represent it on the High Line. We share a common interest and passion for coffee. You can find us tasting new coffees back in our Williamsburg, Brooklyn roastery regularly. We also have education sessions where all the baristas learn about the countries where the coffee comes from, places like Brazil, Mexico, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Author: 
Ana Nicole Rodriguez
Kirsten DavenportKirsten Davenport kitchen manager of Terroir at the Porch smiles inside of the famous shipping container converted into a restaurant. Photo by Armando Rafael Photography
 

From baking five graduation cakes for high school friends to learning the art of a soft-boiled egg, Kirsten Davenport—kitchen manager of Terroir at the Porch—has been perfecting her culinary skills for a long time. In this installment of Faces Behind the Food, Kirsten shares the significance of the High Line in her life and why tasting Terroir’s menu is a must. For hours and locations of all of our vendors, see High Line Food.

Tell us about yourself and your passion for food and drink, including any fun or unusual facts that we might not know. (Any secret talents, perhaps?)

Author: 
Ana Nicole Rodriguez
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From her early days of cooking in college to working abroad in a gourmet restaurant, Georgia Flaum of Terroir at the Porch has mastered the art of making people happy through delicious food and friendly service. In this series of Faces Behind the Food, we sit down with Georgia to hear why she loves her work on the High Line. For hours and locations of all of our vendors, see High Line Food.

Tell us about yourself and your passion for food and drink, including any fun or unusual facts that we might not know. Any secret talents, perhaps?

I come from a big foodie family, but I didn't become interested in cooking until I had my own kitchen junior year of college. That year, I started a food blog and decided I’d travel as much as possible to experience new cuisines. When I studied abroad in Israel later in the year, I participated in an internship program in central Jerusalem where I worked in the kitchen of a gourmet restaurant called Eucalyptus. I didn't get paid, and I didn't speak Hebrew (hardly anyone spoke English), but I did learn a lot about the flow of a restaurant.

When I graduated from Wesleyan University two years ago, I knew I wanted to move to New York City and work in the food industry. But I had no idea where to start. I was intimidated to work in a restaurant kitchen with little experience and formal training, so I started as a busser at Hearth—Terroir's flagship restaurant—to experience the city’s restaurant scene. I worked my way up in various customer-facing roles. Now I run Terroir at the Porch on the High Line as general manager.

Author: 
Ana Nicole Rodriguez
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Learning to bake cookies alongside his nurturing mother, Julian Plyter of Melt Bakery unknowingly discovered his life’swork . In this installment of Faces Behind the Food, Julian shares memories from his childhood, when he first learned to roll out cookie dough and used fruit picked ripe for his cookies. This early introduction to baking led Julian to pursue baking professionally and open up the beloved Melt Bakery. For hours and locations of all of our vendors, see High Line Food.

Tell us about yourself and your passion for food and drink, including any fun or unusual facts that we might not know. (Any secret talents, perhaps?)

I have been an avid supporter of local food since I was a kid, picking peaches in my great-grandfather's backyard, picking cherries with my mom from our own tree, and planting and cultivating gardens with my family. I am also a classically trained pianist, although it's been a while; not sure if there's any talent left in that pool! My favorite composer to play was always Chopin. My paternal grandmother was actually my first piano teacher, and she gave me many of my beloved cookie recipes as well.

The earliest memory I have is rolling cookie dough at the age of four using old-fashioned tools like cherry pitters and wooden spoons belonging to my grandmother. We had orange-and-green wallpaper in the kitchen that I can still visualize, too. My mother inspired my love of baking. I’ve spent countless hours beside my mother learning to replicate her recipes, but no one can make better cinnamon buns than she. In our hometown, she also reigns as queen of homemade pies. The classic Melt cookie is a chocolate-chip walnut, adapted from one of my mother’s old recipes.

Author: 
Ana Nicole Rodriguez
Damaris FontanesDamaris Fontanes, donning a cute pink bandana and her SmokeLine tee, flashes us her famous smile. Photo by Armando Rafael Photography
 

Whether she’s hula-hooping at a concert or serving up delicious BBQ, Damaris Fontanes, manager of Delaney Barbecue’s SmokeLine, does it in good humor and with a contagious smile. In this installment of Faces Behind the Food, Damaris shares stories about international visitors to the High Line who find creatively sweet, wordless ways of saying thanks and how she began her career in food. For hours and locations of all of our vendors, see High Line Food.

Tell us about yourself and your passion for food and drink, including any fun or unusual facts that we might not know. (Any secret talents, perhaps?)

Author: 
Ana Nicole Rodriguez
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From meeting one of President Obama’s daughters to shaving a two foot-long block of ice that draws huge crowds of curious customers, Darren Fiorello of People’s Pops has had many adventures serving sweets on the High Line. Meet Darren in our latest installment of Faces Behind the Food. For hours and locations of all of our vendors, see High Line Food.

Tell us about yourself and your passion for food and drink, including any fun or unusual facts that we might not know. (Any secret talents, perhaps?)

Author: 
Ana Nicole Rodriguez
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Francesco Realmuto, owner of L’arte del Gelato, talks about his knack for cooking the particularly tricky eggplant, beloved in Sicily, and his favorite employee memory of a couple who left their home country to create a new life here in New York City. Meet Francesco in our latest installment of Faces Behind the Food. For hours and locations of all of our vendors, see High Line Food.

Tell us about yourself and your passion for food and drink, including any fun or unusual facts that we might not know. (Any secret talents, perhaps?)

Author: 
Ana Nicole Rodriguez
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The Taco Truck may be best known for its addictive pollo asado tortas, but we’d like to introduce you to the person preparing these popular dishes. Meet Trevor St. Pierre, manager of The Taco Truck, in our latest installment of Faces Behind the Food. For hours and locations of all of our vendors, see High Line Food.

Tell us about yourself and your passion for food and drink, including any fun or unusual facts that we might not know. (Any secret talents, perhaps?)

I've always loved cooking, especially for other people or whenever someone comes to visit. I'm the one who wakes up early to cook breakfast for everyone else! I cook all the classics: eggs, bacon, hash browns. Sometimes I make a traditional Trinidadian-style salt fish.

Author: 
Ana Nicole Rodriguez
“Growing up, unlike most families who plan the day around attractions in the area, mine planned the day around where we were going to eat,” says Amanda Meister of Sigmund’s Pretzels.
 

Whether she’s discussing what makes the best pretzel or how to build the best boat, Amanda Meister, manager of Sigmund’s Pretzels, brings a sense of joy to her work. Meet Amanda in our second installment of Faces Behind the Food. For hours and locations of all of our vendors, see High Line Food.

Tell us about yourself and your passion for food and drink, including any fun or unusual facts that we might not know. (Any secret talents, perhaps?)

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I stumbled upon Sigmund’s Pretzels a year ago at a local beer festival where I tasted what was the most amazing pretzel of my life. A couple months later, I joined the company. I am a total foodie and couldn’t turn down the offer to work this great business. Growing up, unlike most families who plan the day around attractions in the area, mine planned the day around where we were going to eat. We penciled in other activities in-between meals. I love good food! I also have a love of sailing, which is why I like our location on the High Line that overlooks the river.

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