Stir the Pots focuses on the food biz, especially chefs. Some are famous. Others aren't. What interests us are the tales about this crazy business, whether the folks we interview are responsible for cutting edge cuisine or old fashioned comfort food. Together, we stir the pots, talking about the passions, frustrations, or challenges of chefs and other food professionals.
Here’s what we’re not: a place for lots of tips and recipes. Sometimes Stir the Pots will lead our audience to those things, or simply link to some of the terrific web resources for such precious information. But for the most part, we’re interested in the dramas (comedies, tragedies, and everything in between) that capture life around professional kitchens.
My name is Jeremy Shapiro. I’m a chef. My brother is a chef. My father, who was a painter, met my mother when he was working in a Paris kitchen as a cook (the story is he burned her friend’s green beans, she complained, he responded by inviting her out to the movies). Later he would talk her into marrying him and moving from Paris to America, where she instilled her love of great, simple Southern European cuisine to her uprooted family. But like my brother Philippe, I had my first formal training as a chef here…
serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Stationed in Germany as an Army private, I grew to love the North European beer and bread but missed America. So I came back to New York City, where I spent the last 20 years working in top kitchens and studying under a range of culinary masters.
Today I am head chef of a private gentleman's club in New York. It's so private, I can't share the name. What can I share? I serve men who believe they make and break empires. All I know is this: get them near the right desert, and your average power broker has all the resolve of butter. Between my creme brulee and five minutes flirting with our black-eyed hostess, I bet we could transform the greediest politician into a raving saint. Sex and food, I don't know which comes first, or even if they can be separated.
Besides cooking, I love baking. When not managing the crew at work, I come home to my Sunnyside apartment in Queens and run a micro-bakery. Food and cooking are my passions. Bread and baking are my loves.
Anyway, our executive producer, Jonathan Field, is a recovering playwright. He’s also worked in a lot of kitchens, and thinks they’re cocoons of turbulence. Jonathan says it's something about eating being among the most intimate of acts. According to him, such intimacy brings out the best and worst in people, inspiring either lunacy or reverie, depending upon the particulars of the meal. "Try bringing an under-baked piece of salmon to the sweetest old lady. It's a cruel discovery that when it comes to food, your basic senior citizen can throw a tantrum worthy of a two year old. Food erases all boundaries of age when it comes to provoking displays of passion."
Philippe and I have to agree. When you're in the kitchen you see it all. Love boiling over. Hatred chilling in the deep freeze. Or just the nuanced rhythms of craftsmen and artisans working together to create something sweet, delicious or… not. Anyway, in the next few months we will be developing this endeavor. We think we can offer some great stories. Thanks for visiting, and if you have any chefs, restaurants or, yes, even recipes or tips we should know about, please write me here. Thanks for listening.
Chef Jeremy Shapiro