For those of us who aren’t quite ambitious enough come Saturday morning to whip up our own marmalade for toast — let alone a bottle of chile-pepper infused honey or dark chocolate rosemary peanut butter — there’s still hope for a masterful brunch at our humble homesteads. Enter the Batchery. Sonya Samuel and Chitra Agrawal are here to change the breakfast game, and probably many other meals, too. The premise of it all? To meet your maker. Quite literally. The duo has rounded up their fellow small-batch producers from the five boroughs for a popup market that plans to emphasize all things locally made and curiously delicious. And the character of it all is marked by an indomitable team spirit crafted during the process.
“We had two main focuses when we decided to start [the Batchery],” Sonya says. “The first was to make a community of food makers, and the second was to get us all out there so people know what we’re doing. It’s a great way to have a sort of curated event where people can see what’s going on in the food maker market.” Both of the founders are makers themselves: Sonya owns Bacchanal Pepper Sauce, a name that hints at her celebration of spicy tropical flavors. And her culinary co-conspirator, Chitra Agrawal, founded Brooklyn Delhi, dedicated to mixing up different varieties of achaar, a popular Indian condiment that perks up many a dish with its wide range of flavors. “We wanted this to be a lot of handcrafted stuff we know already — like Mike’s Hot Honey, who I’ve known for a while — and people that we thought were doing innovative things,” Sonya explains.
It can be tough to strike out on your own as a small-batch cook, so Sonya and her peers have been finding a way to make it work together. “Few of us have our own actual kitchens, so we wanted one of the key points of the market to be to ‘come meet your maker,’” she says. Guests will be invited to plenty of face time with the people we wouldn’t normally meet in a restaurant kitchen or at the grocery store shelf. “It’s a constraint to produce in small batches, but in other ways it’s a good thing,” Sonya says. “People like to know that they’re close to the production, and that they’re getting something that’s made with lots of love in it.”
Sonya’s favorite advice for other independent makers is to try and find a community of people who are doing what you’re doing. “I think that’s why we’re starting to foster these kinds of events,” she says. “Making food is something that can get very lonely, so once you find other people who are doing it, you’re able to get ideas and maybe grow your business in ways you didn’t think were possible. There’s so much inspiration out there.” Yessir, independence and teamwork livin’ together like whiskey and bitters.
Accordingly, Sonya and Chitra plan to host this weekend’s inaugural market out of Bushwick’s Bat Haus co-working space. “I think the co-working spaces that do it the best are ones where people can ask each other ‘what are you working on?’ or ‘how can i assist you?’” she says. “I think [the market will] be a great time because you can purchase the products or just hear more about what people are doing in the space.” Take note to come hungry and come curious. Here’s what we’re lusting after from this Saturday’s hardworkin’ handicrafters:
Bacchanal Pepper Sauce
What’s good: seriously spicy sauce made with unique ingredients like papaya, tamarind and the sweetly hot Caribbean Scotch Bonnet peppers.
What’s good: all-natural achaar, an Indian relish made with fresh fruits and veggies. Adventurous eaters should head straight for the Gooseberry Achaar.
Better Off Spread
What’s good: dark chocolate rosemary organic peanut butter. Do we even need to explain why?
The Jam Stand
What’s good: crazy sounding ingredients that work together in curious ways. Case in point? “Sweet Wino-nion” Jam (made with Merlot) and “Not Just Peachy Sriracha” Jam make our toast do a dance.
What’s good: the Lavender Bloom drink mixer melds the fragrant floral with jasmine tea and honey for cocktails that make us feel like the human form of a spring day.
Mike's Hot Honey
What’s good: a spicy-sweet blend that would make bees weak at their knees (if bees had knees.) Pro-tip: Be sure to ask Mike about his favorite recipes and food-pairings for a real taste of what this stuff can do.
What’s good: curried cauliflower, ginger carrots and peppered okra — certainly not your average pickles. We’ll take it.
Brooklyn DIY Supply
What’s good: a DIY cocktail bitters kit to impress our friends and make our drinks taste better; plus a DIY soap-making kit to unleash your inner Tyler Durden without any messy consequences.
Start your shopping list now, then browse all of this (and more) at the market this Saturday. It’s all goin’ down inside the Bat Haus at 279 Starr Street from noon ‘til 6 p.m. Admission to the market is free, as are the samples, hot chocolate and music.