Brooks Headley: Munchies

Uploaded by vice on 22.01.2013



BROOKS HEADLEY: I'm Brooks Headley.
I'm the pastry chef at Del Posto in Manhattan.
I kind of approach cooking and food the same way that I would
approach being in a punk band.
The way that I would figure out drum parts to a Born Again
song, or a [INAUDIBLE] song.
For cooking it's the same way.
I'm not inventing new techniques or anything, but I
feel like I'm taking from different styles of food--
really, really simple stuff, like almost stupid stuff and
that's good.
That's like a good punk song-- it should be stupid, and it
should be direct, and it should just
be almost like duh.

I'm here with Michael Laiskonis, a pastry chef from
Le Bernardin.
And we are headed to Williamsburg to go to Sal's
Pizza, my favorite pizza place in the world.

MICHAEL LAISKONIS: I actually think I met you as a pastry
chef first, right?
MICHAEL LAISKONIS: And then years later realized we had
this sort of common interest in punk rock, underground
music scene.
And realized probably 20 years ago that there was a good
chance we were in the same room.
BROOKS HEADLEY: Working in a kitchen is kind of like being
on tour, but being on tour your whole life.
Because it's something that completely controls everything
that you do.

When I think of pizza in New York, I think of this place.

Can we get a grandma to go?

I lived basically around the corner from Sal's for the
first four years that I lived in New York, so
it became my spot.
It was comfort food and super old school.
Real New York City pizza.
MICHAEL LAISKONIS: Last time I was at Del Posto I actually
was sent home with a pizza.
But it was a dessert pizza, but he sent it out in a pizza
box as we were leaving, so that was pretty hot.
BROOKS HEADLEY: Anytime I can get pizza in there.
But I actually went to the place around the corner and I
was like, hey, I want to buy one pizza box.
And the guy's like what are you talking about?
I find a lot of inspiration in pizza in general.
Whenever I can compare it, or when I find that comparison in
my head and it kind of works out on the plate at Del Posto,
it just cracks me up.
Because I'm like oh, yeah, this is pizza, you know.
Sometimes it drives me a little crazy that pastry chefs
or people that make desserts, they sort of have blinders on.
And they're only thinking about sugar or specific cakes
or cookies or something.
For me, the thing that I'd want to do is cook a bunch of
So you're still thinking in terms of different flavors,
sweet and salty and bitter and sour, just to
highlight the product.
And that's such an Italian thing to do.
Sicilian, regular pizza, you got plates.
Thanks, man.
-All right?
OK, have a nice day.

So we got some pizza.
Now we're going over to the Momofuku Milk Bar, bakery,
complex, airplane hangar spot.

Yeah, Christina Tosi who is the master dessert pastry
person for all of the Momofuku restaurants and just one of my
favorite people-- she's hilarious.
Has a commissary basically in Williamsburg where they make
everything for all the different restaurants and all
their mail order and stuff.
Her crack pie became world famous, which is awesome,
hilarious, and totally cool.

CHRISTINA TOSI: Come, I'll give you the rest of the tour.
It's my pride and joy.
I named her Beyonce and painted her gold.
Did you not have a sheeter before?
CHRISTINA TOSI: No, we were rolling everything by hand.
We were making all these croissants at one point, it
was like compound butter.
And it was just getting to the point that I was just like, no
one's ever going to roll fast enough.
You know what I mean?
-So this is our office.
BROOKS HEADLEY: Whose dogs are these?
-These are Tosi's dogs.
BROOKS HEADLEY: Dogs in the kitchen, is that a violation?
-We don't let the dogs [INAUDIBLE], that's why they
only ever live [INAUDIBLE].
CHRISTINA TOSI: Are you guys going anywhere after this?
BROOKS HEADLEY: Yeah, we're going back to Del Posto.
MICHAEL LAISKONIS: Am I working tonight?
You're going to sit down and relax.
I'm going to put on the paper hat.

Well basically at that point we went and got some pizza.
We got the grandma slice.
Hung out with the ladies at Milk Bar.
And then the only responsible thing to do at that point
would be to go back to Del Posto and eat some vegetables.
I just wanted to invite some people that I know, some
through food and some through music.
Who was there?
Rick was there, Amelia was there, Erin was
there, Tonie was there.
That I knew would appreciate eating a bunch of vegetables.
So there's plenty to drink out there if
anybody needs anything.
-Are there painkillers?
Because I am--
TONIE JOY: Probably behind you.
--Seriously need a break.
MICHAEL LAISKONIS: I booked shows at a place [INAUDIBLE]
and they ended up playing a year after I stopped.
-I won't send you away.

We geek out over both pastry and punk rock, I guess.
BROOKS HEADLEY: So listen you guys, I'm going to go make us
some vegetables, all right?
-All right.
-Oh, yeah.
-I hope they're good.
BROOKS HEADLEY: They better?
Yeah, really?
All right.

To me, vegetables are totally sacred.
When I was in bands 15 years ago, that's all we did was
talk about and think about vegetarian food and veganism
and whatever.
So this is a butternut squash and apple salad.
And then this is just ricotta with salt and pepper.
Olive oil, roasted cauliflower with olives and capers, so a
total Mark Latimer classic.
Chickpeas and leeks, basically.
And the leeks are sweated down so they're totally sweet.

-Are you saying we're ready?
BROOKS HEADLEY: I think so, yeah.

-You have wine, liquor and beer in front of you.
-Listen, I came to party.
BROOKS HEADLEY: So this is a Anuloti with a Lambrusco
-Oh, there's more?
BROOKS HEADLEY: Speck, it's got meat in it, so I made you
a special one--
pasta with butter, for the babies.

-Are we really not getting any dessert?
BROOKS HEADLEY: No, you're going to get some dessert,
Obviously, the pastry chef has to make some
sort of dessert, right?
I mean, I'm sort of a contrarian deep to the core.
So I had no desire to showboat and make a bunch of desserts--
oh, look at me, look at what I can do.
This is great, look at this, this is great.
So I made, obviously, the most simple, almost silly, Italian
dessert, which is tiramisu.
The first place I ever worked, we made individual ones and
then we would put a candle in that.
But it had cocoa powder on top, so when people would blow
out the candle it would like--

I am full-on, 100% a restaurant pastry chef.
And even more specifically than that, Del Posto.
If you dumped me in another kitchen in Manhattan, at
another three or four star restaurant, I'd
probably get fired.
Because I exist specifically to do one
specific style of food.
Complicated doesn't necessarily equal delicious.
To a bunch of fucking vegetables.
I love it.
Thank you, Brooks.
-Thank you so much.
-Thank you very much.

CHRISTINA TOSI: We are well-fed, thank you.