They’re activists, They’re authors. They’re ice cream kings, chefs, creatives and masters of the grill — not to mention fabulous dads. This week, our editors are fêting some of their favorite local fathers.
VIDEO: Ample Hills Creamery, Brooklyn New York by Stephen Christensen on Vimeo
Brian Smith, founder of Ample Hills Creamery in Prospect Heights, is one of Rachel Wharton’s favorite local dads.
Betsy Davidson: Jay Jadeja
Motivated by a kick in the seat of his royal pants by his Rajput father, Jay Jadeja is a father first and chef/owner of West East All Natural Bistro and Wine Bar in Hicksville, second. Jadeja, and his wife, Raquel, are just as apt to discuss the latest escapades of their young sons, as they are the specials at this tasty organic eatery. Jadeja’s raison d’etre: Jonah and Julian.
I am attaching one of my favorite photos, taken by Doug Young — Jay and Jonah…if ever a photo says “Happy Father’s Day,” this one is it!
Rachel Wharton: Brian Smith (video above)
Brian Smith did what every kid under the age of 50 wishes their Dad would do: Open up an ice cream shop. As the owner of Prospect Heights’ Ample Hills, his kids (Noma Kai and Kaleo) now get to take Salted Crack Caramel for Show & Tell. They might still be too young to realize just how special his ice cream really is — he makes his custard base from-scratch, which means he also runs a USDA-certified dairy — but we’re pretty sure they’re thankful their pop is currently the ice cream king of the neighborhood.
Marissa Finn: Mitchell Sudock
My family has 7 go-to restaurants on Long Island: 2 steakhouses, 2 sushi spots, 2 Italian restaurants, and Mitch and Toni’s. Mitchell (aka “Mitch”) SuDock’s restaurants were always better than the rest, but I didn’t recognize years ago that it was because his food changed with the seasons, used ingredients from farmers markets, and was actually seasoned correctly. Mitchell was trained under two of our favorite Manhattan-based dad chefs — Bill Telepan and Tom Colicchio — before he moved out to the Island. Drawing from their techniques, he’s created a menu that’s worth the trip — even from Manhattan (easily walkable from the Albertson LIRR stop). And while you’re there, get the brisket sliders with cider glazed sweet potato tots and a side of spring pea and smoked gouda mac and cheese.
Caroline Lange: Paul Greenberg
Before this year’s Edible Institute, I interviewed frequent Edible contributor and sustainable fishing expert Paul Greenberg, who, when I rang, was sitting in his car while his kids were at soccer practice. He told me about his favorite dumpling spot, in Chinatown, called Fry Dumplings, and that those dumplings are in his son’s lunch so often that “he’s about 80% dumpling.”
Gabrielle Langholtz: St. John Frizell, John Tucker, Bill Telepan, George Weld, Peter Hoffman & Mike Anthony
When my work first brought me into touch with chefs, I was very excited to be able to talk to the white-coated about our mutual obsessions: sourcing and cooking. Over a decade later, the conversations often include a new mutual obsession: parenting. For those of us with kids, that unpaid job is as important as anything we do for a living. So in between discussions of razor clams and lemon balm, we end up talking about carrots & sticks, and the toughest customers ever: our kids.
I’ve talked to St. John Frizell of Fort Defiance about coffee and cocktails but also his boy Chet, and swear I’m going to write a nightly diary with my daughter like the two of them share (it will include entries of breakfasting there; she loves the French toast and I can order what every parent needs: a Corpse Reviver). John Tucker of Rose Water has been my favorite restaurateur in Brooklyn for over a decade—and now that he’s a decade ahead of me in parenting and I hope I handle the teenage years as well as he does (wow). Bill Telepan was one of my favorite chef celebrities when I was 22, but when I interviewed him this spring about his recent trip to Paris, he was as excited for his daughter’s experience there as his own. Speaking of daughters, my own enjoys George Weld’s girls as much as I enjoy their dad. And I’ve had many heartfelt chats with Peter Hoffman about everything from the Farm Bill to fracking, but also about his Theo and Olivia, the latter I remember counting out quarters to buy maple candy at Union Square when she was the age my girl is now.
And when I saw Gramercy Tavern’s Mike Anthony at Brooklyn Uncorked last month, we proudly showed each other pictures of our girls (one of his is also named Gabrielle). Best of all, I learned that he’s hard at work on a new cookbook full of recipes simple enough for working parents to make for growing families. And while my daughter loves eating out as much as I do (her favorite is Del Posto, probably because of the enchanting staircase) I can’t wait to stay in and cook with her from its pages.
Feature photo of Jay Jadeja and son Jonah: Doug Young