Max Fischer, the main character in Wes Anderson’s Rushmore, was a boy genius who couldn’t resist diving headlong into any good project that sprang from his wildly creative mind. Imagine a grown-up Max with a passion for good food and you just might end up with someone like Williamsburg’s Dan Delaney.
Dan has chased that passion for food around the globe, filming his adventures and discoveries for his show VendrTV. When he’s back in Brooklyn, you’ll find him tackling all kinds of food-related projects. In September, Dan and his girlfriend Miko Mercer launched Eater’s Digest – a newsletter that compiles intel on all the food events happening in the five boroughs each week. He’s also partnered with The Brooklyn Kitchen to produce BKTV – a series of short daily videos bringing recipes and advice from many of Brooklyn’s food luminaries right to you.
Is that all, you ask? Of course not. In addition to Eater’s Digest and BKTV, Dan and Miko recently started bk’cue – their own BBQ-centric supper club which they host at their place in Williamsburg.
We spoke to Dan to learn more and to find out how he keeps up with it all.
Hi Dan – so tell us about Eater’s Digest.
I travel a lot for VendrTV, and I just found it really hard to keep track of all the foodie happenings in New York. I don’t really ascribe to one microcommunity of the food scene here. I’m not just interested in things like home pie bakeoffs or locavore events…I like getting out there and exploring everything the city has to offer. I was feeling frustrated because it felt like a job and a half just to keep up with what was going on. I had to constantly be on facebook and twitter, and scouring emails from Tasting Table and Grubstreet and everyone else just to find out what was going on in any given week. There was no trustworthy centralized source that pulled together all the food-related events happening in the city.
Our goal with Eater’s Digest is to pull all the information about all the food events in the city into one weekly email, and to organize it in a way that makes it easy to digest. We just want to take the work out of keeping up with it all. We want it to be easy.
We also give away tickets to events each week to subscribers. We’ve given away tickets to a walking food tour of the East Village, to an Oktoberfest party, to some classes at The Brooklyn Kitchen…we’ll keep doing those as long as people want them.
How can people subscribe?
It’s easy – just go to the website to sign up.
The BKTV videos look great. How did that project come about?
I met Harry and Taylor, the owners of The Brooklyn Kitchen, about three years ago. The shop was at its old location on Lorimer St, just a couple of blocks from my apartment. I just loved the place…thought it was phenomenal. What they were doing just seemed vastly superior to what any similar-minded businesses were doing in New York. It wasn’t just the products they were carrying, but the super-helpful attitude of the staff, the customer service, the classes…
There were so many opportunities to create great content around the things going on at the store that I just thought why not create a web show? I was kind of hectoring them for a while about it and as we got to know each other better and they moved into their new space everything came together and the timing was finally right.
We’re looking at it as a way to teach, and also as a way to highlight some of the great people in the Brooklyn food community. There are so many people doing wonderful things with food these days, but many of them don’t have a platform to spotlight their work, or to explain what they’re doing or how they’re doing it. We want to help to give them a larger audience.
We’ve got a pretty aggressive schedule – we’re releasing a new episode every weekday. We’re already scheduled all the way through January, and provided that people like the content and find it engaging, we’ll continue to do it.
How can people find out about new episodes?
The Brooklyn Kitchen recently relaunched their website, and the daily video episodes are integrated into their blog. We’ll be posting the videos to youtube, vimeo and lots of other channels too. If you’re tuned into The Brooklyn Kitchen on twitter or you just check their blog you’ll find out about the new episodes every day.
Great – so next up is the supper club. Tell us about bk’cue.
My girlfriend Miko and I went to Kara Maci’s ‘Ted and Amy’ supper club a few weeks ago and we had a great time and were inspired. I love barbeque – it’s one of my favorite things. We have this big five-foot smoker at home and we always have friends over for barbeque dinners. We do everything from butts to brisket…I love doing all different styles of barbeque. We were having like three dinner parties a week at one point and when we visited Kara’s supper club we realized it was something that we could actually do. We didn’t know of any other supper clubs in Brooklyn that just focus on barbeque, so we thought we’d give it a try.
We’re going to keep the meals really informal. Everything is family style. We might not even always use plates – we might just put down butcher paper…like true, real down-and-dirty barbeque. A lot of the well known supper clubs are very high end – the plating is really exciting and it’s an important part of the experience. Ours is going to be very much the opposite direction. We’re talking Hank Williams on the stereo, piles of ribs, beer can chicken and things like that.
How frequently will you be hosting these?
We thought we’d just do one to start, but all the spots were reserved in about an hour. So we decided we’d better do another one. That one sold out too, so we’re going to start hosting them every two weeks. We’re going to do different themes each week. We’re doing a Texas-style brisket on December 19, a Mediterranean-inspired one with slow smoked lamb shoulder on the 28th, and we’re going to do Carolina-style pulled pork at the one after that, on January 19th.
How do people reserve spots?
We have an email list that you can sign up for on our website. We’ll be announcing the dates to the people on the email list the day before we post them on our website, so if people are really interested they can sign up for that. Basically, reservations are first come, first served.