Susanne König approached me in the summer of 2014 with the idea of collaborating on a book celebrating the local artisanal food and drinks movement. As a Dumbo-based bookseller and purveyor of locally handmade goods, Susanne has a unique perspective on the scene. She is a well-seasoned cultural attaché for Brooklyn, and I jumped at the opportunity to work with her, meet the makers, and share their stories. We set out with our intrepid photographer, Heather Weston, to capture the essence and diversity of the makers and the ethos of the artisan community—and of course, to taste everything we could get our hands on.
In the process, we met makers whose families had established food businesses long before the current small-batch scene took hold. In the shadow of giants like Domino Sugar and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, small producers smoked fish and roasted coffee, hand rolled pasta and dipped chocolates. They worked long hours to provide for their families and, in turn, nurtured their communities through the common language of food.
More recently, a new wave of artisanal makers arrived on the scene ready to reimagine the culinary landscape and weave new ideas into the existing fabric. Just as hardworking as those who came before, today’s makers strive for authenticity and precision. That’s not to say they don’t understand the value and power of social media. Word spreads so fast, it’s often hard to meet the demand. But still, they stay true to the core values of small-batch artisanal production.
Now it’s time for our readers to dive in. Consider this a sourcebook, travel guide, and coffeetable book all in one… Profiles of each maker give a taste of who each maker is and why they do what they do. Arranged alphabetically by brand name, along with their stories, each profile page provides the maker’s name, the date they established their brand, the product they make, and their web address. Heather’s intimate portraits and behind-the-scenes visual reportage of process and product take center stage and are guaranteed to leave you salivating.
Neighborhoods are noted at the top of each page along with four icons, created exclusively for this project. These help to let you know at a glance what sort of product you’re looking at: Sweet Foods; Savory Foods; Tea, Coffee, Beverages and Alcoholic Drinks. You’ll find two indexes in the back of the book, one by product and one by neighborhood. So if you need a coffee fix, flip to the product index. Or if you’re in Greenpoint and want to check out the nearby makers, use the neighborhood index. We’ve included a map of the singular microcosm of the “Made in Brooklyn” food and drink phenomena, Red Hook, for a quick reference and convenient planning. It’s a wonderful day trip. We hope Made in Brooklyn will inspire and guide you to taste new things, maybe even try your hand at making something yourself.
Excerpt from Foreword by Melissa Schreiber Vaughan
Made in Brooklyn by Susanne König and Melissa Schreiber Vaughan; Photography by Heather Weston; published by powerHouse Books