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?)
I am a native New Yorker and have worked in some aspect of the food and drink industry since I was fourteen years old. I attended a very small high school with only twelve people in my graduating class. We had a catering company handle our school lunches. The owner of the catering company, Mary, became a friend and mentor to me and I started volunteering in the kitchen at school as a freshman. Mary taught me my first culinary lessons, like the art of the perfect soft-boiled egg and basic cake-decoration techniques. Senior year, I decorated four cakes for my classmates’ graduation parties. I even found time to bake and elaborately decorate my own graduation cake. This was the first time I actually served a big group of people whom I cared about something that I had made; I discovered then that cooking and serving food to people was the best feeling.
What do you love about your location on the High Line at West 16th Street?
Terroir at the Porch is one of the best places in New York City. As I walk along the old train tracks to get to Terroir every day, I am reminded that I'm part of something much larger than myself. I am connected to the rich history of New York, the beauty of one of the city's rare green spaces, and the guiding principle that we are creating a better future for the city through strategic green initiatives and locally sourced food. Not to mention, I get to serve great food, wine, and beer to people from all over the world every day. People always tell us how much they enjoy our food. Right now, customers love Terroir french fries tossed with garlic, parsley, and parmesan and served with aioli.
You interact with hundreds of customers each day. Share your favorite memory with us.
A single favorite guest memory is impossible for me to choose. Regular customers have started as mere strangers and become people I can call friends. There is a special energy about Terroir – perhaps something to do with our location outside on train tracks overlooking the inspiring Hudson River– that encourages this type of instant connection. Lucky for me, this dynamic is such that I sometimes feel I am not even working when I am cooking and serving food to great people.
Terroir at the Porch  is located on the High Line at West 15th Street, and is open daily from noon to 9:30pm through October 18.