Photo: M. Wesley Ham
It’s not every married couple that can work alongside one another harmoniously, but the practice clearly agrees with husband-and-wife duo Brian Campbell and Elizabeth Stark. Together, they helm Brooklyn Supper, a recipe blog highlighting simply prepared, seasonally hyper-specific dishes. (Think: strawberry tarragon cocktails in May, and pear pancakes in October.)
"In all things that we do, we’ve always been a team," Stark told us. "We do fight, but it’s almost never about the blog. Working together is pretty seamless; mostly it’s just wonderful to work with someone who’s there to help me."
She and Campbell met about a decade ago in Charlottesville, Va., where both were DJs at a local radio station. They first bonded over a shared love of music: He loved to spin Black Sabbath, and she dug indie rock. Later, they bonded over their mutual farmers’ market addiction. Today, they’re the proud parents of two daughters, and their cooking takes inspiration from two cities in particular: Brooklyn and Charlottesville.
Below, Stark sheds a bit more light on how their beautifully photographed blog came to be, and how Brooklyn can be a state of mind.
Brooklyn Supper’s chocolate layer cake with kumquat glaze. Photo: Elizabeth Stark
1. Collaboration is the name of the game at Brooklyn Supper.
"I do most of the posting, cooking, recipe developing, and all of the photography. But Brian writes the funniest posts, and he edits everything. Nothing gets published that both of us haven’t looked at. In some ways, the blog is our collective voice."
2. Seasonal ingredients were the blog’s inspiration.
"In the late 2000s, the local-and-seasonal movement was really just starting up. Brian and I had been very involved in going to the farmer’s market and sourcing a lot of food from there, and it seemed like a really great inspiration for a blog."
3. But that wasn’t how Stark ate growing up.
"My mom is a really big fan of mine, so I want to say this very carefully: She’s from the pre-baby boomer era and likes 50s-era food, like Wonder Bread and pre-packaged tacos from a box. When I was a kid, those were an unquestioned part of my family’s food rotation. But my grandmother was a really great cook and baker, and she was known for her pies. One of my earliest memories is of her cherry pie."
A tempting roasted golden beet and turnip salad with green goddess dressing. Photo: Elizabeth Stark
4. Pie continues to play a big role in Stark’s life.
"I won the Enid’s apple pie contest in late 2007—it’s this restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn that has an apple pie contest every year. (It’s kind of a big deal!) A couple years before, I’d sampled the pie that won the contest, and I felt very confident that I could take care of business. I’ve always made a really good pie! The blog started eight months after that.”
5. About that pie…
"It was just a classic apple pie. That’s what’s funny. I threw in a little bit of orange zest, made a buttery crust that’s really flaky, used wide-cut apples that have some bite, and went easy on the sugar. It’s really simple, which is kind of what I love: Simple food that doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles.”
Brooklyn Supper’s cranberry apple pie. Photo: Elizabeth Stark
6. Stark has an art background, which helped define Brooklyn Supper’s aesthetic.
"I studied film photography at the University of Virginia—I’m too old to have learned digital photography in college!—and I also have an MFA in painting. That said, I think it took a lot of time to get to this level. I’ve been photographing food for seven years, but it’s only the past six or seven months that I’ve started feeling really good about my photography. It’s a learning process."
Roast goose, anyone? Photo: Elizabeth Stark
7. Brooklyn Supper isn’t based in Brooklyn anymore.
"We started the blog in 2008, when I never thought I would leave Brooklyn. It’s kind of a complicated thing—we picked the name ‘Brooklyn Supper’ because it felt very of-the-moment. That was where we started feeling really connected to the food world, in our own way.
Almost two years ago, we moved back to Charlottesville, Va. We had lived in our Brooklyn apartment for eight-and-a-half years, which is an eternity in New York. It was a good time for us to move: We just kind of fell out of love with the city. You know how in a breakup, or when you stop being friends with someone, everything they do annoys you? It became like that with New York. It just wasn’t gelling with us anymore.”
8. But they love their new home in Virginia.
"It was bittersweet to leave, but it was also really great. We moved in the spring, and it was nice to come home to fresh air and a huge yard. We live in a house, not an apartment, and we’re right on a river that runs through the town. The nature is overwhelming and wonderful—it was intensely magical for months and months, and still is.
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