First, I would like to state that in the 2 months since writing a post about Simon, he has still NEVER baked for me (making macarons does not count). If you see him this weekend, or any point afterward, I give you permission to embarrass him about it.
RIP Greenpoint Food Market.
We learned about the Greenpoint Food Market through other artisan food vendors. We were so excited when we got our first confirmation email from Joann saying that we have a spot at the next event. Unfortunately, the GFM was laid to rest after a New York Times article exposed that many of the vendors were producing out of their home kitchens and without other permits.
When Macaron Parlour started, many people asked us why we rented a kitchen when Simon has a beautiful kitchen in his home. We tried explaining that it was illegal and we were trying to do the right thing. They said that no one was going to check so we might as well save ourselves the money. The only way we stopped all those questions is by saying that a commercial kitchen had a bigger oven so we could bake in half the time and have more time to devote to developing flavors. They liked the idea of new flavors.
It's crazy to me that in a city with so many resources and so many restaurants, it's so difficult to find a commercial kitchen. I have been doing research on commercial kitchens for the past two years and there really aren't very many kitchens that go out of their way put a listing on Craigslist saying they have space to rent. It's even harder to find a rentable kitchen that has space dedicated solely to pastry. The ones that are available have ridiculous rates ($375 per shift?!?!) and an 8 hour shift hardly seems like enough to get done. Simon cold called half a dozen places and we were lucky to find a kitchen within our budget that had adequate space, equipment, and a great location. But wow, if we were any poorer, we wouldn't have had such luck. It took all the spare money we had between us to make Macaron Parlour a proper legal identity. Even after being in business for 3 months, we still haven't recovered all of our initial investment.
I loved the idea of the GFM. I spent 3 years working in one industry, but fantasizing about baking. I just wasn't ready to make that jump. I wasn't sure if I had a viable product - if it was worth throwing away a steady paycheck for one that varies from week to week. The GFM was a great in-between location that could help you decide whether you should give up that desk job in exchange for a life making cookies, or jellies, or macarons. Everyone should be allowed the opportunity to dream a little and to see if that dream could become a reality.
I hope the GFM comes back in September and that the community kitchen they're banking on comes to life.