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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’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!
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!
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.
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!
I am Visual/UX designer at B&H Photo Video by day, a yogini by morning and a foodie at all times. I love to eat, cook, spend time with my long time boyfriend & our 4 dogs, and travel as much as possible to see beautiful places and eat as much as possible. View all posts by Jaye Rose Lindner