Stirring talk about chefs, bakers, and food

About Stir The Pots

Stir the Pots focuses on the food business, especially chefs and bakers. Some are famous. Others aren’t. What interests us are the tales about this crazy business, whether it involves the newest upscale or bougie edge, or just old fashioned comfort food. Stir the Pots explores 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. He ended up in France after fighting in the American army during the Second World War. My mother, whose family was originally from Italy but migrated to Franced, ended up in America after marrying my father.  Somehow he convinced the poor woman to leave the beauty of Paris for the east coast of America.  It was here where my mother instilled her love of great, simple Southern European cuisine to our uprooted family.

Our house wasn’t big in space but it was huge in feeling. Mainly because of the warmth of the kitchen where my mother welcomed all of her children’s friends. There she invited them to savor the dishes of her own childhood. She also inspired all of us to learn to cook. Like my brother Philippe, I had my first formal training as a chef serving in the United States Armed Forces. Stationed in Germany as an Army private, I grew to love German 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 City. 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 feeding them my creme brulee and allowing them five minutes of 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 apartment in Sunnyside, Queens and run a micro-bakery. Food and cooking are my passions. Bread and baking are my loves.

Jeremy's bread

Anyway, my co-founder at Stir the Pots is a writer who has also worked in a lot of kitchens. His name is Jonathan Field, and he claims that food + business = cocoons of turbulence.

Jonathan claims it’s something about food. He believes that eating is among the most intimate of human acts. Based on his PhD in street-based psychology, such intimacy brings out the best and worst in people, inspiring either lunacy or reverie, depending upon the particulars of the meal.

As he puts it, “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, thank you for visiting. If f you have any chefs, restaurants or, yes, even recipes or tips we should know about, please write us here. Thanks for listening.

Chef Jeremy Shapiro
Sunnyside, Queens NY

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