The salmon is finished baking and looks amazing. You can see the delicious, natural oils from the salmon in the pan.

Between the Bread – Brunch Lesson in Chelsea

Almost exactly a year ago (June 15th to be exact!) I wrote a blog post review about my favorite lunch spot by my old office, and to my surprise they reached out to me and offered me a cooking lesson. It took us a year of going back and forth to get it scheduled, since they had been busy quickly expanding their business, but we finally met up this past Sunday at their new Chelsea location. I had the best time.

Between the Bread on 55th between Seventh and Sixth is the location that I had always gone to, but they have now expanded to two additional retail spots. Their Chelsea location is in the Terminal Warehouse building, which used to house Tunnel nightclub. The Terminal is in the middle of a three-year, $50 million renovation and they hope to become an office-restaurant hub, like the nearby Chelsea Market. Currently along with Between the Bread, they also house Uber and La Colombe. The other recently opened Between the Bread is near Bryant Park on 40 Street between Madison and Fifth, with a garage-style door that opens up the whole front of the store — great for people watching.

None of the Between the Bread locations are open on the weekends, but the CEO, Jon Eisen, the Chef de Cuisine, Juan Aranda, and their publicist, Amanda Barry, came in to the city on a gorgeous sunny Sunday to open their kitchen just for me!

I had never been to this location before. I love all the rustic details that Jon and his fiancé, Victora Rolandelli, worked together on decorating the place with. Victoria also hand selects some choice, locally sourced snacks and drinks that they sell, such as these amazing goat’s milk caramels from Big Picture Farm in southern Vermont. Jon gave us each one to try out for dessert 🙂

 

Between the Bread Chelsea
Between the Bread Chelsea
Talking food with Jon Eisen by the communal table
Talking food with Jon Eisen by the communal table.
Between the Bread Chelsea decor
Between the Bread Chelsea decor
Between the Bread Chelsea decor
Between the Bread Chelsea decor
Between the Bread Chelsea Kitchen. Chef Juan Aranda prepping for my lesson :)
Between the Bread Chelsea Kitchen. Chef Juan Aranda prepping for my lesson 🙂
Between the Bread Chelsea Kitchen window view from inside Tunnel, aka the club I used to go to raves at back in the day lol
Between the Bread Chelsea Kitchen window view from inside Tunnel, aka the club I used to go to raves at back in the day, lol.
For dessert we had goats milk caramels that Victoria sourced for the store from Big Picture Farms in Vermont. Woah, these are gooooood.
For dessert we had goat’s milk caramels that Victoria sourced for the store from Big Picture Farms in Vermont. Woah, these are gooooood.

 

Between the Bread’s tagline says it all: Gourmet To-Go. They provide restaurant quality, healthy and filling food in a grab-and-go setting.  As long as the line may be, and the length of the lines shows how great everyone thinks this place is, it will always be only a 5-minute wait, at most, because they keep it moving.  But one thing that I have always loved is that even though the people helping you keep it quick, they always keep it super friendly. It is a very positive environment, and you know I love that.

Between the Bread buys from farmers directly, visiting local farms and tasting each item to make sure everything is always up to their high standards. On a regular basis, they have 2000 items in their repertoire. A fun fact: Between the Bread serves about 30 tons of kale and 40 tons of Brussels sprouts a year!

 

Veggies ready to be prepped
Veggies ready to be prepped.

 

The company was launched as a catering company in 1979 by Jon’s mother, Ricky Eisen. After working in finance for a year out of college, Jon joined the family business. In the last two years he has already doubled their revenue. He knew that people would flock to their tried and true use of seasonal, organic food in a retail setting and he was right. He has been extremely busy growing that end of the business very successfully.

You can tell by speaking with him that Jon is well versed in the food industry, and you can just feel the passion about the company and food through the way he talks about it. Foodies unite! He has worked very hard to make things more efficient, and spoke to me about how they are going to start delivering soon. I can’t wait!

 

Jon Eisen holding a beautiful piece of Ocean caught Norwegian salmon. Fresh, never frozen.
Jon Eisen holding a beautiful piece of 0cean-caught Norwegian salmon. Always fresh, never frozen.

 

I was so lucky to learn from Chef Juan Aranda, who has been with the company for 21 years. Born in Mexico City, he got his start as a meat cutter at a local butcher shop. At the age of 15 he learned the importance of sourcing the most fresh ingredients possible. In 1987 he moved to NYC to study at the French Culinary Institute. Juan’s culinary inspirations hail from his experiences ranging from butcher at the Odeon Restaurant in Tribeca to being a sous chef at Man Ray, where he was inspired by Asian infusion.

In 1995 Juan took the head position at Restaurant Aglio e Olio, operated at the time by Between the Bread Hospitality Group, before eventually transitioning to Between the Bread’s Chef de Cuisine. Juan’s and Between the Bread’s ideologies are aligned — that healthful eating derives at the source and that food should be wholesome, fresh and filling, and here that is exactly what it is.

I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to learn from Juan. You can tell how passionate he is about the food with his every move. I felt that he was thrilled to teach me and thrived off my excitement about it. Please see a photo journal below of my experience at Between the Bread’s Chelsea location, with captioned descriptions.

 

My favorite kale salad being prepared right in front of me. Kale, julienned green apple that's been soaked in lemon and water, craisins, and sunflower seeds which have been roasted at 325 degrees for 28 minutes, stirring half way through.
My favorite kale salad being prepared right in front of me. Kale, julienned green apple that’s been soaked in lemon and water, craisins and sunflower seeds which have been roasted at 325 degrees for 28 minutes, stirring half way through.
Dressing the salad - 1 tablespoon garlic, one tablespoon fresh ginger, 1 cup lime juice, 1 and a half cup olive oil and kosher salt.
Dressing the salad – 1 tablespoon garlic, one tablespoon fresh ginger, 1 cup lime juice, 1 and a half cups olive oil and kosher salt.
Kale salad all dressed and garnished
Kale salad all dressed and garnished.
Norwegian salmon ready to be filleted by Chef Juan Aranda. Alway fresh, never frozen.
Norwegian salmon ready to be filleted by Chef Juan Aranda. 
Chef Juan masterfully filleting the salmon
Chef Juan masterfully filleting the salmon.
Chef Juan slicing open half the salmon for stuffing
Chef Juan slicing open half the salmon for stuffing.
Chef Juan slicing open half the salmon for stuffing
Chef Juan slicing open half the salmon for stuffing
Salmon marinates in olive oil, chopped garlic -which they soak for days in olive oil, and kosher salt.
Salmon marinates in olive oil, chopped garlic -which they soak for days in olive oil and kosher salt.

 

 

 

Chef Juan stirring the marinade
Chef Juan stirring the marinade.
All the salmon resting in the marinade
All the salmon resting in the marinade.
The split salmon is cooked in a very hot pan on each side for only 30-45 seconds just to get a nice sear on the outside and seal the flavor in.
The split salmon is cooked in a very hot pan on each side for only 30-45 seconds just to get a nice sear on the outside and seal the flavor in, starting with the top, finishing with the bottom.
Chef Juan preps the fennel for the stuffing
Chef Juan preps the fennel for the stuffing.
After sautéing the fennel with garlic rum is added to the pan, and set on fire to burn off the alcohol. There was no white wine in the house today, but that is what they suggested for this.
After sautéeing the fennel with garlic, rum is added to the pan and set on fire to burn off the alcohol. There was no white wine in the house today, but that is what they suggested for this.
Adding fresh spinach to the caramelized fennel.
Adding fresh spinach to the caramelized fennel.
Chef Juan cooking down the filling to perfection, seasoning with kosher salt at the last minute.
Chef Juan cooking down the stuffing to perfection, seasoning with kosher salt at the last minute.
The split salmon is placed in a warm pan and filled one by one.
The split salmon is placed in a warm pan and filled one by one.
The split salmon being filled. Next the pan is transferred to a 350 degree oven and baked for 13 minutes.
The split salmon being filled. Next the pan is transferred to a 350 degree oven and baked for 13 minutes.
Roma tomatoes used for the toppings for both salmon dishes today. Starting in July they will switch to heirloom.
Roma tomatoes used for the toppings for both salmon dishes today. Starting in July they’ll switch to heirloom.
The topping for the stuffed salmon is sautéed eggplant and tomato with a little bit of the left over filling mixed in.
The topping for the stuffed salmon is sautéed eggplant and tomato with a little bit of the leftover filling mixed in.
Stuffed salmon is baked and ready to be plated.
Stuffed salmon is baked and ready to be plated.
The stuffed salmon is plated and topped with the sautéed eggplant and tomato and garnished with fresh herbs.
The stuffed salmon is plated and topped with the sautéed eggplant and tomato and garnished with fresh herbs.
The fresh herbs used for garnish are also the same mixture that is used in their herbed salmon. That version is marinated overnight in house made garlic oil, which is chopped garlic soaked in olive oil, along with rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley and salt. Yum.
The fresh herbs used for garnish are the same mixture used in their herbed salmon. That version is marinated overnight in housemade garlic oil, which is chopped garlic soaked in olive oil, along with rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley and salt. Yum.
The next set of salmon is grilled for 30-45 seconds on each side, turning after 15 seconds or so at a 45 degree angle to get gorgeous crossed grill marks.
The next set of salmon is grilled for 30-45 seconds on each side, turning after 15 seconds or so at a 45 degree angle to get gorgeous crossed grill marks.
The grilled salmon is transferred to a pan, which has been sprayed lightly with pam, to bake in the oven for 13 minutes at 350 degrees.
The grilled salmon is transferred to a pan that’s been sprayed lightly with Pam, to bake in the oven for 13 minutes at 350 degrees.
While the salmon roasts chef Juan slices the leeks very thinly.
While the salmon roasts, Chef Juan slices the leeks very thinly.
The leeks are given a quick bath to make sure that all the grit is removed.
The leeks are given a quick bath to make sure all the grit is removed.
The leeks are then sautéed in a pan with garlic.
The leeks are then sautéed in a pan with garlic.
This saffron has the most amazing scent.
This saffron has the most amazing scent.
Saffron and kosher salt are added to the leeks to finish them off and give them a fantastic color.
Saffron and kosher salt are added to the leeks to finish them off and give them a fantastic color.
Chef Juan Aranda doing his magic.
Chef Juan Aranda doing his magic.
Chef Juan Aranda doing his magic.
The veg for the grilled salmon is grilled portobello mushroom and roma tomatoes finished in a sauté pan. So simple, but so delicious.
The salmon is finished baking and looks amazing. You can see the delicious, natural oils from the salmon in the pan.
The salmon is finished baking and looks amazing. You can see the delicious, natural oils from the salmon in the pan.
Chef Juan plating the grilled salmon.
Chef Juan plating the grilled salmon.
The grilled salmon being garnished with the sautéed leeks, portobello mushroom and roma tomato
The grilled salmon being garnished with the sautéed leeks, portobello mushroom and roma tomato.
Grilled the baked salmon topped with sautéed leeks, portobello mushroom and roma tomato
The grilled-then-baked salmon topped with sautéed leeks, portobello mushroom and roma tomato.
The owner of Between the Bread, Jon Eisen, making us freshly squeezed cherry lemonade. 50% lemon juice, 50% water, cherry juice, and a simple syrup of 25% brown sugar/75% white sugar. Delicious.
The CEO of Between the Bread, Jon Eisen, making us freshly squeezed cherry lemonade. Equal parts lemon juice and water, plus a splash of cherry juice and a simple syrup of 25% brown sugar/75% white sugar. Delicious.
Sunday brunch is served. The picture does not do this meal justice. It was incredible. I wish I could've finished it all right then, but was more than glad to have this as leftovers! Lunch today was amazing :)
Sunday brunch is served. The picture does not do this meal justice. It was incredible. I wish I could’ve finished it all right then, but was more than glad to have this as leftovers! Lunch today was amazing 🙂

 

Sincere gratitude for this unforgettable day goes out to Jon Eisen, to Juan Aranda for his invaluable culinary lesson and energy, and of course, Amanda Barry for keeping in touch with me over the last year to make this possible. And to all of them taking the time to come in on beautiful spring afternoon to make this all happen. I can’t wait until we meet again!

Me with Jon Eisen and Juan Aranda. Ready to eat this delicious meal!
Me with Jon Eisen and Juan Aranda. Ready to eat this delicious meal!

More information about Between the Bread can be found on their website – http://www.betweenthebread.com

Make sure to visit all of their locations:

Midtown West at 145 West 55th Street – 212-765-1840

Bryant Park at 20A East 40th Street – 212-765-1796

West Chelsea at the Terminal Warehouse Building – 609 West 27th Street – 212-765-1687

For information on Big Picture Farm visit their website at http://www.bigpicturefarm.com
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2 thoughts on “Between the Bread – Brunch Lesson in Chelsea

  1. Kudos for the review. You’ve captured the entire essence for a “must visit” destination. At any of the “trifecta” addresses — everyone will be a winner! Can’t wait to assuage mouth-watering desires and quench the thirst . (Question: Is bread available?) Emmy N.

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  2. Thursday —June 30- Enjoy every minute!! However, sorry for this interruption. Just picked up my mail. Big carton for Luis — On outside a marking says “MILK” .plus other non-understood words. Will it need refrigeration? I’m here to help. E.

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