Summer is over and so is my silence.
Autumn brings us a colorful blanket of tired leaves to the ground... and for me a Tapestry, woven of fresh flavors to lift spirits and celebrate the harvest memorably.
I cannot believe it has been 23 years since I moved to New York City! Bound for The School of Visual Arts to study graphic design and art history, I came as an impressionable and enthusiastic twenty year old. Less believable perhaps, is the fact that now I have spent more time here in New York than in my birthplace New Delhi. Today I continue to make home in New York -both in the city and at our upstate farm-and live my life still as smitten and energized by New York City as when I first arrived... still dreaming, living, hoping, and working like life is beautiful and the possibilities endless.
Spring of 2012 brought me a tremendous opportunity to explore creating a real "farm-to-table" restaurant in San Francisco. I jumped! And begrudgingly thereafter (naughty Charlie prevailed!), gave up our pied-a-terre in Tribeca. We kept our farm in Hebron and committed to live life East and West, setting up home 26 floors above a still-being-reviltalized Market Street in San Francisco. After a long search for the ideal location to build, my business partner Paresh Ghelani, a serial entrepreneur, global citizen and peerless visionary, took lease of what surely would have become a landmark restaurant in San Francisco. For 19 months we worked on the space - paying rent, designing, and planning what would have been a 400 seat restaurant and bar; this in a time when large brick and mortar restaurants were dwindling faster than dreams. In end though, bureaucratic hoops won over vision and opportunity. We pulled out of the building and from the apartment in the sky overseeing the Foggy Golden Bay. Much time lost, money too, but in end it seems we were being blessed by the powers of the universe. The space remains empty. The Mid-Market neighborhood not performing as well as was expected. Paresh had a gut feeling that the dramas we were having to endure were not worth fighting there and then, and it seems he was right again. As a dear friend in Pacific Heights said, "Honey, you got out just in time!"
My gut had been aching too though, for in truth, I am a New York City boy through and through! I wanted to make my West Coast relatives, friends, and Charlie, happy by exploring a California dream...but found myself longing for the hustle, bustle, and ever diverse people of home. Now back fully and in whole measure to New York, I have teamed up with Roni Mazumdar, my co-owner at Tapestry. A young, charming, articulate guy who is full of spunk. Roni believes that hospitality begins inside the business and then serves its patrons with similar indulgence. I also brought a bit of San Francisco back with me in Chef Joel Corona. Joel, now 28, was a young 14 years old when we first met at the CIA and has been working with me ever since. His passion, commitment to flavorful food, and hunger to change palates one dish at a time, matches my own and made him a must for our team here! And so we work together- creating, planning, inspiring and sharing, with hopes that our food will change lives, warm hearts and comfort souls. They, along with Service and Beverage Director Jessy Peters (quite the mixologist!), and Harsh Dayalani our sommelier, bring a wonderful brilliance and sparkle to how we present Tapestry to our guests and inspire our team to share memorable meals and moments with each.
Team Tapestry is made up of dedicated women and men who work hard daily to bring what we think is delicious food from across many regions of the world. Stops I have made in my own journey and that which Joel has made as well. We share dishes that made us pause, made us smile, and were delicious enough to be remembered by us long after we first tasted them. Global comfort food is what I call it. You can call it what you wish, but in the end my hope at Tapestry is to bring a mosaic of delectable flavors together. Bites and tastes that are free of borders and limitations. Fresh, forward, boundless, exciting, memorable and distinguished. Never too foreign, yet never simplistic...and thoroughly New York City!
The farm in Hebron keeps us grounded to reality. Set in an idyllic landscape in the verdant valley between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Rural life has much to teach-- and be certain that it has informed who I have become. Less has become more to me since setting our homestead there. Respect for life and animals has only gotten stronger and more unwavering. The farm brings us inimitable eggs that our girls lay. Colorful and varied, but delicious beyond words. We turn them into deviled eggs for you to savor at the restaurant. We have been raising pigs for two years now. They too make their way onto the tables at Tapestry. Of course herbs, greens, chiles and such from the summer bounty keep Joel smiling and happily garnishing. But our garden has a short life. It is seasonal. And as such, we work with farmers and vendors that have similar respect for land and sea. It is my hope that this winter I shall once again be united more frequently with the farm and the creatures big and small that make it my rural haven, allowing me to play in my home kitchen to bring new weekly inspirations back to the city.
It is New York City that keeps me amused and entertained daily. It always has. No city matches its effervescence and vibrance. It has a way of marrying the brilliant with the mundane, the gilded with the gritty, the rich with the poor, the rare with the common - and always with a saltiness that is earthily real. I can be happy and at peace at the farm, but Manhattan breathes oxygen into my lungs that even the verdant green of Upstate NY fails to. It is the life of freedom, of endless discovery and boundless hope. And this is what makes me proud to be a New Yorker.
Come join me at Tapestry, and allow me to give you a hug, share a smile or two, perhaps even spoil you with a drink, a dessert, or a bowl or dish of delicious indulgence from our menu. I am hardly predictable when it comes to spoiling strangers and friends alike, but I am certain to spoil all that cross my path. That is something I love to do, and is a strong part of who I am. Tapestry is my home for most of my waking hours each day, and more likely than not you'll find me sitting at a table or popping up from the kitchen or bar......looking forward to catching up with each of you and doing so in a setting that makes me feel deeply grounded and utterly happy.
With hopes to see you soon,