Health and Fitness

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On February 27, the Dining Room component of Gem opened in New York City with 19-year-old “prodigy” chef Flynn McGarry. The Living Room—Gem’s casual, café counterpart—opened on February 12, 2018. This exciting debut follows the world premiere of his namesake documentary “CHEF FLYNN” at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and is a culmination of nearly a decade of cooking at his supper club restaurant, EUREKA, which he operated as pop-ups and residencies in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City, beginning at just 12-years-old.

Gem’s inviting space(s) reflect something sought by modern culture, an oasis of comfort to restore and revive the spirits in an environment of high-energy and polished veneer. Rooms at Gem bare titles which resonate the sanctuary of home, this invites diners to relax and enjoy the experience. We admire cultures who spend lazy lunches in good company, but the fierce pace of our modern cities is primed for fast food with little time to socialise. That’s why Gem and Chef Flynn are such a welcomed retreat in the big apple.

Q/A with Chef Flynn

What inspired you to reimagine cafe culture with a touch from home?

I wanted to have a place where people could come in during the daytime—a “living room” in the middle of New York City. It’s also a nice way for people to experience Gem even if they aren’t coming in for dinner. I wanted everyone who visits Gem to feel like guests in my home—they can relax, hang out all day, work…

What is your vision of an intimate space and how does Gem reflect this?

Gem is a small space, we can seat 18 on either side at any given time (the Living Room and the Dining Room). For me, it’s a perfect mix of clean and minimal but also comfortable. We have a vintage Persian rug in the Living Room…. in the Dining Room, we have an island-style open kitchen which is visible from every point in the room. It feels very intimate and like you’re in someone’s home—our guests can watch as we prepare the meal. Our tables are these custom walnut dining sets that have movable dividers, so you might be dining next to strangers but it still feels private and personal. We also have a lot of plants and greenery everywhere, and artwork from my friends and family. 

How have you transformed a familiar atmosphere with a taste of culture?

I think when people feel comfortable in a space, that this helps break down their barriers. The design of the space itself is influenced by many different cultural ideas of comfort—spanning from Japanese, Danish hygge, and even Belgian with our linens and fabrics.

Flynn’s Favourite Comfort Food Fix…

Sweet Potato Bread (Makes 1 Loaf)

2 large sweet potatoes
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 3/4 cup bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

Method

1. Roast sweet potatoes wrapped in foil for about an hour at 350F, or until soft.
2. Scoop sweet potatoes and blend with milk, eggs, oil, vanilla.
3. Mix all dry ingredients and whisk into potato mixture in three stages until smooth (careful not to overwork the gluten).
4. Bake at 325F for 60-75 minutes.

What to Expect from this Unique Eatery…

At Gem, there are two distinct dining experiences: the “Living Room” and the “Dining Room.” The Living Room, open daily from 8:00am to 5:00pm, is an all-day café offering a selection of micro-roaster coffees, rare teas, and seasonal specialty drinks curated by Director of Coffee Elliott Foos. Guests may also enjoy a rotating assortment of house made pastries and snacks like Semolina Apple Bundt Cake; Caramelized White Chocolate Blondies; and Blueberry Violet Muffins.

The adjoining Dining Room, open Tuesday through Saturday, offers a $155 per person (inclusive of gratuity) multi-course tasting menu, with seatings at 6:00pm and 9:00pm for up to 18 guests. Guests may also opt for a $100 per person beverage pairing. The interactive experience is a reflection of an intimate dinner party among friends: guests begin in the Living Room with a glass of champagne and snacks, then move into the Dining Room where they will be seated to enjoy the remainder of the menu—a mix of small plates, shared family-style dishes, and desserts.

A clear view of the kitchen allows guests to watch McGarry and his culinary team at work from every seat. Guests are also given the option to enjoy an after-dinner drink back in the Living Room. Upon opening, menu highlights include King Crab with leeks, grapefruit, and rose; New Potatoes cooked in yogurt with mussels and hazelnuts; Pumpkin Char Siu with koji and lime; and the “Lamb Feast,” a series of shared plates including Lamb Loin with vadouvan bagna cauda; Lamb Shank braised with warm spices and apple cider; Grilled Sunchokes with sunflower seed and chili salsa; and a simple, palate-cleansing Bitter Green Salad. Two of McGarry’s signature dishes—a peanut “Ritz” cracker-inspired snack with foie gras, as well as Aged Beet served with its greens and bordelaise—will be menu mainstays.
 
General Manager and Wine Director Quinn McCann, an alum of Eleven Madison Park and Betony, built a beverage program that predominantly features wines from France, Germany, Austria, and the United States, in addition to an ever-evolving collection of more unique bottles. Sake, East Coast beers, and ciders are also available.
 
The restaurant’s name, which is McGarry’s mother’s name “Meg” spelled backwards, also nods to it being a neighborhood gem of sorts. It is located on a modest street tucked between a local barber shop and a residential building – but inside the 1,000 square foot space, Gem boasts a welcoming, home-like atmosphere intended to evoke a similar setting to the original supper club dinners McGarry ran out of his childhood home in San Fernando Valley, California. The design was a collaboration between McGarry and friend and interior designer, Brett Robinson.

The Living Room features simple design elements including a vintage Persian rug, and an upholstered banquette with a row of asymmetrical steel tables (designed by Robinson) that pair with wooden chairs from Charles Eames. In the Dining Room, the island-style open kitchen anchors three different seating areas complete with Josef Hoffmann armchairs and custom walnut dining sets of banquettes, table tops, and dividers (all handmade by a local artisan in Philmont, New York). Overall, the spaces are set with warm and natural tones and are decorated throughout with potted plants and varied floral arrangements. Rotating artwork from friends and local artists hang on the walls.
 
Flynn McGarry’s instinctive talent, diverse experience, and unwavering ambition has gained him widespread notoriety and the support from inspirational chefs all over the world. At 13-years-old, he took an apprenticeship at Ray’s and Stark Bar at LACMA under chef Kris Morningstar, then later went on to stage at Michelin-starred restaurants like Eleven Madison Park and Alinea in the United States, as well as Maemo in Oslo, and Geranium in Copenhagen. He was the subject of a New Yorker “Talk of the Town” piece; featured on the cover of the New York Times Magazine’s Food & Drink issue; became the youngest honoree on Zagat Los Angeles’ “30 Under 30” list; and was named one of the “Top 25 Most Influential Teens” by TIME magazine.
 
Where to Experience Gem…

Gem is located at 116 Forsyth Street, between Delancey and Broome Streets, in New York City.  The Living Room is open daily from 8:00am to 5:00pm, and the Dining Room is open Tuesday through Saturday, with seatings at 6:00pm and 9:00pm. Reservations are required and can be made via Tock. For more information, visit gem-nyc.com. Follow Flynn @diningwithflynn.

Self-confessed Herb Nerd, Reece Carter explores gut and brain health in his new book ‘The Happy Gut’. This recipe-rich reference is filled with tonics and elixirs from the garden along with the latest research into the gut-brain axis. Based on traditional naturopathic remedies, made using ingredients sourced from nature that anyone can make at home. Today’s lifestyle and nutrition choices can stress our digestive system, this book offers a holistic approach to restoring the essential foundation of good health… a happy gut!

About the Author: Herb Nerd Reece Carter holds a Bachelor degree in Health Science (Naturopathy) and has a lifelong passion for all things green. From the planter box to the pantry, Reece reveals how to turn leaves and petals into remedies through his web series ‘The Garden Apothecary’. His written work features in Bare Essentials Journal, The Australian Women’s Weekly, Women’s Fitness Magazine and GQ and numerous online blogs. He has appeared on The Morning Show and at a number of food and wine events. Reece has his own clinic and herbal product, Dose Vitality Tonic, and also works as a model with Chadwicks. Reece lives in Sydney.

Follow the Herb Nerd @ reececarter.com.au

The Happy Gut by Reece Carter (Harlequin Books, April 2018) ISBN: 978-1489254689

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Scotland’s southernmost distillery, Bladnoch, has launched a special Bicentennial Release as a celebration of its rich history and a toast to its new chapter of renaissance.

Offering the perfect balance between provenance and progression, Bladnoch is enjoying an exciting revival in its 200th year, having been bought by Australia’s own David Prior – a successful yoghurt magnate – who bought the distillery in 2015. Becoming the first Australian to invest in Scotland’s whisky industry. Changing fates and fortunes over the years resulted in the distillery switching hands several times, before it fell silent and ceased production. Inspired by its story and charm, Prior and his team have set about turning this important piece of Scotch whisky history into a modern day distilling operation with production recommencing last year.

Made from just two exceptional casks of whisky distilled in 1988, the release is limited to just 200 bottles. Initially matured in Oloroso Sherry, the special malt was finished for the last 18 months in Moscatel casks. Described by Master Distiller, Ian Macmillan, as “Chestnut gold in colour, our bicentennial release has lovely rich sherry and acacia aromas with notes of dark chocolate, sweet oak and citrus with a long and satisfying finish. This is a fantastic whisky to mark this incredible milestone and I’d say it is best enjoyed shared, and savoured, with friends and family.”

Bottled at cask strength 41.2% ABV, the new malt will be available in select international markets for an RRP of $8,800AUD per bottle. The release is presented in a luxurious gold and glass bottle with a heavy gold stopper, designed by David Prior.

Commenting on the Bladnoch journey so far, David Prior said: “In the last three years, we have significantly invested in Bladnoch to revive whisky production, as we strive to give Scotland’s most southerly distillery back its true title as the ‘Queen of the Lowlands’.

“We may be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the distillery, but Bladnoch’s renaissance chapter is only just beginning.”

Crafted using only the purest ingredients – pristine water from the River Bladnoch and Scottish barley – Bladnoch malts are non-chill filtered and naturally coloured. The range includes Samsara, Adela 15 Year Old and Talia 25 Year Old. Bladnoch’s sister expression, Pure Scot, offers a zesty and versatile blended Scotch whisky.

Experience The Taste of Scotland @ bladnoch.com

Beatrix Potter’s beloved Peter Rabbit, hops into theatres this Easter with all the hallmark characters rendered in CGI. The reimagined classic features an enticing plot full of slapstick mischief to enthral new audiences, and the right amount of tribute to satisfy fans of the original.

To celebrate the films release we have a delicious recipe inspired by Beatrix Potter’s ‘The Tale of Petter Rabbit’ excerpted from: The Little Library Cookbook by Kate Young, courtesy of Harper Collins.

Then old Mrs Rabbit took a basket and her umbrella, and went through the wood to the baker’s. She bought a loaf of brown bread and five currant buns.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter

Afternoon rain in Australia is often intense – it’s the kind that will drench you through to your bones in seconds. If I was caught in a deluge on my walk home from school, my backpack full of textbooks and sports kit, I could easily have reached for the umbrella underneath it all. In reality I almost never did. Instead, I took my shoes off, turned my face up towards the clouds and belted out ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ at the top of my lungs. I jumped in puddles, and danced around, and sometimes even took the long way home. And when I finally walked through the front door, I had a hot shower, a toasted fruit bun spread generously with butter, and a cup of tea.

I still love being outside when it rains – especially when there’s the promise of tea, buns and a bath at the end of it. These are my favourites: dark, moist and full of flavour. The type of thing I imagine Peter would want after a tiring day stealing vegetables in Mr McGregor’s garden.

The recipe below makes wonderful hot cross buns each Easter, with a line of flour and water paste piped down the centre, but I love them unadorned through the rest of the year too. They’re ones I’ve developed from a Dan Lepard recipe: his Short and Sweet is a complete baking bible.87

Currant Buns (Makes 12)

Ingredients

150ml apple cider/hard cider (at room temperature)
2½tsp fast-action yeast
¾ cup rye flour
150ml double/heavy cream
4tsp mixed spice/pumpkin pie spice
3tbsp honey
2 eggs
2¼ cups dried currants
3 cups strong white bread flour
¼ cup cornflour/cornstarch
1tsp salt

Glaze

2tbsp sugar
5tsp water
1tsp mixed spice/pumpkin pie spice

Method

1. Tip the cider, yeast and rye flour into a bowl. Stir and allow to bubble away for 30 minutes while you put your feet up and enjoy the rest of the bottle of cider over ice.

2. Warm the cream, mixed spice and honey over a low heat. Remove from the heat, beat in the eggs, then pour into the cider mix. Add the currants.

3. Sift in the flour, cornflour and salt, then mix by hand to form a sticky dough. Cover and leave for 10 minutes.

4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface (grease it with a little flavourless vegetable oil first, so it doesn’t stick) and knead for 10–20 seconds until noticeably smoother. This really won’t take long at all, so don’t over-knead it. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to prove for an hour.

5. Once visibly risen (it doesn’t need to double in size here), weigh the dough, and divide into 12 balls. Roll each under a clawed hand until smooth, then place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Leave about 1cm/⅜in between each – you want them to join up while they prove, so that you end up tearing them apart after they’re baked.

6. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and leave the buns to prove until they’ve doubled in size: about an hour.

7. When the buns are approaching the end of their prove, preheat your oven to 220ºC/425ºF. Transfer the buns to the oven and bake for 15–18 minutes, until browned.

8. In a small saucepan, heat the sugar, water and mixed spice. Reduce by half and remove from the heat.

9. Remove the buns from the oven, allow them to cool for a couple of minutes, then paint the glaze over the top. Serve warm, or toasted the next day.

About the Book: Paddington Bear’s marmalade, a Neopolitan pizza with Elena Ferrante, afternoon tea at Manderley… Here are 100 delicious recipes inspired by cookery writer Kate Young’s well-stocked bookshelves. From Before Noon breakfasts and Around Noon lunches to Family Dinners and Midnight Feasts, The Little Library Cookbook captures the magic and wonder of the meals enjoyed by some of our best-loved fictional characters.

About the Author: Kate Young is an Australian-born, London-based food writer and cook. After moving to the UK in 2009, she started her blog, thelittlelibrarycafe.com, which now has readers all over the world and is regularly featured in the Guardian.

The end of 2017 marked a long overdue victory for the little plant of big controversy.

Australia has been slow to adopt hemp as a food-grade ingredient, banning imports and forcing growers to label their products as pet food or skincare. With the lift in policy our shelves are displaying a more diverse offering of hemp infused foods, from hemp yogurt to artisan breads and beers. The consumer is spoilt for choice as imports compete for shelf space alongside homegrown hemp, and here is where we have a chance to support local growers in an emerging industry.

We asked artisan producers Australian Primary Hemp to give perspective on the potential expansion of hemp products and the difference of locally sourced hemp.

Since the legalisation of Hemp as a food in Australia on the 12th of November last year, we have seen the market inundated with new Hemp food products hitting the shelves. At Australian Primary Hemp our retail line includes a Hemp Oil, Hemp Protein, and Hulled Hemp Seeds. Other interesting food products popping up around Australia include Hemp Beer, Hemp Granola, Hemp Milk, Hemp Butter and even Hemp Ice-cream. The wider Hemp market has also flourished introducing a range of hemp clothing, concrete, paper and plastic products to the market.

The Hemp seeds used to produce different consumables can be sourced locally here in Australia and internationally from places like China and Canada. At Australian Primary Hemp we are passionate about supporting local farmers and watching this emerging agricultural industry grow. This is why we source all our seeds directly from the farmer we work with locally around Australia. By doing this we can ensure the quality of the seed, how it has been produced and that it is 100% Australian.

The risk with buying Hemp food products that use internationally imported seed is that you can’t guarantee the seed is fresh, what conditions it has been grown in and where it has come from.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, why not add a new food experience to your romantic plans. Our Vegan Hemp Pesto creates a beautiful vibrant green colour, goes perfectly with crackers or bread and is simple and quick to make. Perfect for a picnic under the stars or for recreating your own ‘Lady and the Tramp’ pasta moment!

Ingredients

2 cups of fresh basil
1/2 cup of fresh spinach leaves
1 garlic clove
1 cup Hemp Oil
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 hemp seeds
1 tablespoon of Hemp Protein
Pinch of salt

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Serve with fresh bread, crackers or with pasta.

Dine Differently with AU Hemp @ ausprimaryhemp.com.au