Greenpoint Gazette

A Laboratory in the Kitchen

BY Juliet Linderman

The nabe’s favorite foodie spot launches a new venture

A large statue of a cow with the Manhattan skyline painted on its side stands outside of 100 Frost Street, in the shadow of the BQE, greeting scores of visitors who have come to celebrate the unofficial grand opening of the Brooklyn Kitchen Labs. When completed—by November 16th—the massive, 7,000-square-foot former warehouse now houses three enormous teaching kitchens, a fully stocked butcher shop called The Meat Hook, featuring organic and locally grown meats expertly sliced by celebrity butcher Tom Mylan, and an expert selection of cook books, ingredients, tools, utensils and more.

The labs—which will function as a one-stop shop for all things foodie—was the brainchild of Mylan and Brooklyn Kitchen owners Harry Rosenblum and Taylor Erikkenen, who sought to create a space and environment to house, host, develop and foster all of their “collective obsessions,” as Mylan puts it. In addition to offering several classes each day—from bread making to beer brewing to kombucha to kim chee—taught by instructors from all corners of the foodie sector, the Labs, as its name suggests, aims to be a haven for those interested in learning, trying new things, and most importantly, experimenting with ideas, concepts, recipes, techniques and all else relating to the craft and culture of food and cooking.

“The lab is a blank slate for whatever crazy ideas pop into people’s heads—we have the space now to make it happen,” Mylan said in reference to how he and the other owners plan to curate the cooking classes that will be offered. In addition to inviting certain instructors and coordinating particular classes—Rosenblum, for example, will teach a pie baking class, while Mylan will continue his famous pig butchering seminar—the owners of the labs are open to suggestions, both from chefs and cooks who wish to teach a class, and patrons who wish to learn something new. Participants can either take a single class, a la carte style, or sign up for a more intensive series of classes.

“Our goal is to be the education center ground zero for the food community in New York City, and I think we can do that,” he continued. “We’re in this to do something new and interesting. We’re always trying to learn and push ourselves, to become better butchers and better business owners, but also to learn from other people. I can’t wait to take a pasta class, or a bread making class, when I get a little free time!”

When construction is finished and the classes get underway, the owners of the Labs hope to begin having different types of events at the space, such as lecture series’ on relevant topics.

“I’d love to have a meat symposium with butchers from around the country…and have Bill Murray be the moderator. That’s one of our dreams.”

Because of its size and scope, the Labs truly has the potential to become what Mylan hopes will be “a food dork community center, where people who are trying to do new and different things come together—it’s in the spirit of North Brooklyn to do it. It’ll be a mix of high and low culture. We’ll strive to stay ahead of the curve, always be learning, as just stay weird.” And, in the spirit of the neighborhood, the brains behind the Labs are making a concerted effort to incorporate as many neighborhood cooks, chefs and foodie-minded folks into the project as possible.

While the Labs may be designed as a place for patrons to experiment with their wildest food- and cooking-related interests and dreams, the Labs itself is an experiment as well—and there really isn’t anything quite like it.

“Because it’s a laboratory, it’s an experiment in and of itself,” Rosenblum said. “Having a butcher shop, a place to get the ingredients, the tools and the education to make something new; a place to ask questions, take classes, look through out-of-print cookbooks for inspiration—it’s a place for people to learn and experiment. If someone has an idea for a new bread recipe they want to try, they can come here and we can help them figure out how to make it, give them advice, and even the ingredients.”

The Brooklyn Kitchen Labs and The Meat Hook
100 Frost Street
Officially open November 16th
Check it out!

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Greenpoint Gazette
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