We don't get out to the west coast (or some say, the best coast, and in an N.Y.C. winter we have to agree) that much, but when we do, we know how to eat.
Just a week or two before I was leaving for L.A. to help host our pop-up at Weddington Way, Ellen Bennett, the founder of Hedley & Bennett and one of our makers, was visiting our N.Y.C. office. When we met, the Apron Lady (a.k.a. Ellen) and I were off to the races, talking a mile a minute about all the things Food52 needed to see and do (and who to meet) while we were in Los Angeles.
When you meet Ellen, it's immediately apparent that she has a genuine love and passion for connecting people and bringing the movers and shakers of the world together. And her favorite way to do this is by getting them around a table of glorious food.
To our delight, the Apron Lady rounded up a bunch of local Boss Ladies (yes, capitalized letters are in order for this inspiring female crew of entrepreneurs), as she calls them, for a brunch while we were in town. She requested that all attendees bring their favorite ingredients to her bright and dreamy Elysian Heights home where we'd prepare them together. No surprise: It was a very fun mess of cooking together and meeting one another that resulted in the most beautiful brunch spread.
If you have met Ellen, this all makes total sense. Her energy is wild and she is the most gracious host, even for a bevy of bossy women. And as she's shared with us before, inviting people over to cook a meal together is one of her favorite things.
As she puts it:
We've done about 12 or 13 brunches (I think) since we've lived here, so roughly once a month. We would invite different groups of people that we love... But it's always a different mix and it's really nice, because you see all these people who you know will get along really well suddenly become friends for the first time because they get to make a dish together. For all of our brunches, guests show up with ingredients and then we make all the food here together, so by the time everyone sits down to eat, an hour and a half has gone by and you've already poured tomato sauce on your neighbor! So it's very intimate and fun. Usually around 11 to 12 people.
At our brunch, everyone put on a Hedley & Bennett apron (to match their outfits, of course) and got cooking. Here's what we contributed:
The rest of the menu included citrus salad, chia pudding, avocado + heirloom tomato salad (thank you, California), breakfast sausages with honey nectarines, fried eggs, pound cake, croissants, scones, blueberry buttermilk pancakes, lox, yogurt and berries, DIY avocado toast, bread pudding and egg tarts from Whoa Nelly Catering, and banana chocolate chip cake from Matchbox Kitchen. We were hungry, okay?
The boss ladies:
Everyone had the very best time (see all of the above) and here are the Instagrams to prove it. Thank you, Ellen!
Photos by Kate Kudish, Instagrams by their respective account owners.