To welcome the 2015 Saint Laurent (our first batch of highly aromatic wine made from the resurgent Austrian grape) to the cellar, we invited our friend Lee Desrosiers from Achilles Heel to prepare a feast on the knoll; if you’re ever in Greenpoint NYC during the colder months, then we suggest you go to his spot to warm your hands on the wood burning stove. Lee is a butcher by trade, so he put himself to work by preparing one of Don Watson’s lambs. Don is a bright, brilliant participator in the farming world, whose sheep graze on a rotating schedule of Sonoma properties.
We had a catch up with Lee on the knoll ahead of the dinner:
On his earliest memories of food
My aunt Carol kept a garden in the summer; I remember the tomatoes, green beans and eggplants. I didn’t understand much about growing or cooking food at the time, and she died when I was young, but retrospectively I’ve always respected her patience with ingredients and the care she took in cooking, and it has taught me a lot.
On home dining
I grew up in the suburbs of Massachusetts and dinner was often at home and often consisted of meat, vegetables, and potatoes with a glass of milk.
On food philosophies
Early in my cooking career, I remember reading Lulu’s Provencal Table and being super impressed with her style of cooking: lamb legs hanging in the hearth, garlic and herbs in her mortar and pestle. I didn’t necessarily want to make “french” food, but I knew that somehow I wanted to cook with a matriarchal approach that emphasizes togetherness, health, abundance and flavor.
On the importance of eating fresh and seasonal produce
Not only does it taste better, but it just feels better.
On cooking outdoors
There is no kitchen more comfortable than the one created when cooking with fire outside. It brings you closer to food and cooking when you have to build your own oven and stove out of logs and stones.
On the missing ingredients from our diet?
Offal! I didn’t grow up eating heart, blood & liver, and it wasn’t until my early 20s that I realized how fortifying and delicious they can be. Since then, I’ve become very enchanted by peasant foods of various cultures. Making things that are considered unpalatable may take a little more finesse, but when it’s done well there is no snack more satisfying.
On comfort food
Toast, butter & black coffee. Always.