HOMETOWN HEROES: Haven’s Kitchen

From local beers to rooftop gardens, eating local is all the rave these days. But the people behind the scenes often go unnoticed. So here’s a new monthly column, Hometown Heroes, in which Eater highlights the guys and girls who are fighting the good fight on behalf of New York City. If there’s someone (a business owner, chef, bartender…) you’d like to see featured as a Hometown Hero, feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.

In this month’s edition of HOMETOWN HEROES, Eater pays homage to the ladies behind Haven’s Kitchen, the cooking school, specialty food shop, catering company, and event space located in Union Square.

[Photo: Haven’s Kitchen]

Alison Schneider is the brains behind Haven’s Kitchen, the new cooking school, shop, catering kitchen, and party space in Chelsea. She and her team (which includes Katie Fagan, Julia Sullivan (the chef), and Lela Ilynsky), are improving New York City one class, one bite, one event at a time.

Located in a carriage house near Union Square’s Greenmarket, Haven’s Kitchen’s mission is simple: to make sustainable eating more attainable for the common folk, both in theory and in practice. Their goal is to teach New York’s home cooks that it is possible to make meals and cocktails that are at once delicious, healthy, and earth-friendly.

Haven’s Kitchen’s cooking school is centered around recipes and techniques, of course, but they take it one step further and bring in an educational component, helping participants understand how their food choices impact the environment and local economy (nearby farmers and local food businesses). While Alison, Julia, and sous chef Katie Carey each teach several classes, they also call upon local food and beverage talent like Hung Hunyh, executive chef at Catch, Anna Gordon of Brooklyn’s The Good Batch, and mixologist Aaron Polsky, previously of the White Star and Essex Street (among others), to teach many of their classes.

Their store is loyal to the locals as well, stocking products like Ovenly‘s baked goods (got their start in Brooklyn), La Colombe coffee (originated in Philly and have a few stores in NYC), and Bellocq teas (recently relocated their atelier to Greenpoint and craft all their teas there).

And to top it all off, they’re planning on opening a rooftop garden complete with a beehive, fresh produce, herbs, and flowers. The items grown up on the roof will be sold in their store. Once open (look for it in some time in the spring), the hope the space will be a retreat from the busy city streets and plan on offering gardening classes.

So, yeah, the ladies behind Haven’s Kitchen are this month’s Hometown Heroes because they are improving our city through fresh produce and earth-conscious practices. But it’s not just that. They also care about taking care of the little guys – the local farmers and small businesses – that make this city unique.

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