Hello world! I’m Merlyn, and I’m speaking to you as the new marketing associate at Cook Space and Life Beyond the Recipe. The past month has been a whirlwind of figuring out how Cook Space operates, what makes our studio special and where I fit into my new workplace. As the newest addition to our team, I’ve had a bit of a fresh perspective on what we do - some of what seems so normal to my colleagues is absolutely amazing to me. Throughout my past few weeks at Cook Space, I’ve realized that everything here is about improvisation and creativity. Not just in our classes, where we teach people to cook without recipes, but also in the mindset we use when approaching our mission and work.
At the end of July, the Cook Space team travelled to Greenport, Long Island for a weekend of pop up events on the North Fork. (Needless to say, I was a bit nervous - have you ever spent a weekend away with your newly acquired coworkers?) This wasn’t just a new experience for me though, but also for the rest of our crew. This was our first pop up, and an exploration into whether or not we could take our cooking classes and events to a new venue. Back at our home-base in Prospect Heights, our gorgeous studio is pretty much outfitted with everything we need. Decorations? Already there. Every kind of cookware you could possibly own? We have it. Accessible grocery stores? Lots of ‘em. But when cooking outside in a new environment, with only local ingredients available, it’s a lot harder to source everything you need. That’s where the Cook Space magic comes in -
Each member of our team is adept at taking what’s given to them, and turning it into something that seems perfectly suited for what we need. I watched Eliza transform an unfamiliar space into a cozy, new cooking studio (complete with check in desk and outdoor cooking station). Tom switched up our menus (several times) to accommodate the local, seasonal ingredients we could find. And Michelle made our own decor by picking flowers from her garden and painting chairs she found around town at garage sales. What I figured out while witnessing the set up and action of our pop up - and as I bounced around trying to help wherever I could - was that this was the crux of the Cook Space ethos. Whatever ingredients you have in your pantry are what you use, and even if you’re missing something you need - the food will still come out delicious.
My coworkers made our pop up run smoothly, because they simply took that philosophy and applied it to a new event - it doesn’t matter if you’re serving a six course meal in a beach house, you can make it work with what you’ve got. Before I sign off and to sum it all up, here are a few of the things I learned during my first weekend away with my new Cook Space crew: Food is more delicious if you foraged for it. When at the beach, always reapply sunscreen. Eliza makes an excellent roommate. If cooking outside at night, make sure you bring lanterns. And people everywhere can build a community and get excited about making delicious food.