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Five Boroughs Food Talk: Brooklyn as a Brand
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This project is funded by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, through the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

+ About the Performance
This program was recorded 01/06/2015 at Symphony Space.

Just the word "Brooklyn" alone evokes images of artisanal popsicles, mason jars filled with pickled produce, and delightfully labeled homebrews. Brooklyn has become the "it" spot for trying something new or reviving something old with a twist, and food is certainly part of this borough's burgeoning brand. Curious about how an entire borough can conjure such a distinct flavor? Join host Gabriella Gershenson in this lively discussion with some of the people making it possible.

Guests include:

Eric Demby, co-founder of Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg, and Berg'n

Allison Kave, founder of First Prize Pies, co-owner of Butter and Scotch

Marty Markowitz, former Brooklyn Borough President, Vice President of Borough Engagement & Promotion at NYC&COMPANY

Rachel Wharton, editor in chief of Edible Brooklyn


+ About the Artists

Gabriella Gershenson is the food features editor at Every Day with Rachel Ray magazine. She was formerly senior editor at Saveur, and prior to that, edited the dining section at Time Out New York magazine. Her articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe and many other publications. She has been a regular guest on WOR’s Food Talk with Mike Colameco and NYC TV’s Eat Out New York with Kelly Choi, and appeared on the Food Network’s 24 Hour Restaurant Battle and The Best Thing I Ever Ate. She lives in New York City.

Eric Demby is a co-founder of the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, overseeing the markets’ brand, daily operations, and curating of vendors as they have grown to become New York City’s largest outdoor markets. The Flea has been named one of the best markets in the U.S. and the world by Travel + Leisure, Country Living, and Budget Travel, and The New York Times called it “One of the great urban experiences in New York.” Smorgasburg attracts 10,000 people per day to its Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridge Park locations, and none other than Mario Batali called it “The single greatest thing I’ve ever seen gastronomically in New York City.” In August of 2014, he and partner Jonathan Butler opened Berg’n, a 9,000 square-foot beer hall in Crown Heights featuring Smorgasburg food vendors.

Eric served as Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s communications director and speechwriter from 2003 to 2007, and worked as a journalist covering art, music, architecture, and politics from 1995 to 2007. He has been active in New York City community-building for more than a decade, including the movement to legalize dancing and helping create ice-cream parlors in Rwanda and Haiti through the Blue Marble Dreams project. He has a BA from Eugene Lang College at the New School and lives in Prospect Heights with his wife, daughter and son.

No one has worked harder for all 2.6 million Brooklynites than Marty Markowitz. Since entering Borough Hall in January 2002, Marty has reinvigorated the office of Borough President, serving as the tireless chief advocate for Brooklyn’s economic, social and cultural interests, while initiating and promoting efforts to improve Brooklynites’ quality of life. Born and raised in Crown Heights, Marty graduated from Wingate High School in 1962. He received his B.A. in Political Science after attending evening sessions at Brooklyn College from 1962 to 1970.

Elected to the New York State Senate in 1978, Marty represented Central Brooklyn for 23 years. In 2001, he was elected to the office of Borough President; he was honored to be re-elected to his third term in 2009. Marty began his career in public service in 1971, at the age of 26, by organizing the Flatbush Tenants Council, which grew into Brooklyn Housing and Family Services, the largest tenants’ advocacy organization in New York State. In 1973, he founded the Senior Citizens League of Flatbush, an organization that is still going strong — in fact Marty proudly joined the League in 2006 at the youthful age of 60.

Allison Kave is the co-owner of Butter & Scotch, a bar and bakery opening soon in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and the author of First Prize Pies, published in March 2014 by Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Allison’s pies and other creations have been featured in The New York Times, Food & Wine, Saveur, Bon Appetit, The Today Show, and in many other publications. She has taught pie workshops at the James Beard House, The French Culinary Institute, and in many tiny galley kitchens around NYC. Her ideal last meal would include matzoh ball soup, sopapillas with honey, a lobster roll, and a hot fudge sundae, all washed down with a magnum of Taittinger. She lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn with her boyfriend Jay and their pit bull Charlie.

Rachel Wharton is a James Beard Foundation Journalism award- winning freelance food writer, reporter and editor with a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University. The editor-at-large of Edible Brooklyn, her focus is on food culture and New York City — often where the two meet—and her work has twice appeared in Best New Food Writing. She is the author or co-author of several food books, including 2010’s Edible Brooklyn: The Cookbook, and freelances for publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Everyday with Rachael Ray.

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