Paige van den Burg
Union Square Cafe
Where do you call home?
Brooklyn, New York; the borough of KINGS; KINGS country that is.
Any tips for tourists?
- If you stumble across people standing in a line, stand in it and eat there.
- Go to Flushing and eat at Dumpling Galaxy. It’s in a crazy mall. ‘Nuff said.
- Walk to Coney Island via Ocean Parkway.
- Walk the East River Promenade.
- Please DO NOT take a Citi Bike and ride Brooklyn Bridge with a selfie stick.
Read any new books that you'd recommend?
10 Restaurants That Changed America. Love it
What about old books you’ve recently re-read?
I re-read A Catcher in the Rye while my nephew and I looked at colleges. God, that is a good book.
Any new albums you are feeling?
Have you revisited any olds albums?
Yellow Ostrich. I heard an NPR show about getting in touch with old new wave and that’s when I rediscovered them.
What’s popping on Netflix?
I LOVE Black Mirror.
How about podcasts?
Podcasts are my jam. As a chef, I listen to The Sporkful, Gastropod, Prince Street, and Grub Street. As a person I listen to Death, Sex & Money; Hidden Brain; Terrible, Thanks for Asking; The Hilarious World of Depression; How I Built This; and all the other NPR faves.
What are you wearing?
Danish endurance compression socks. I wear them at work, and they are the best.
Um…how about Break North?
I’m not going to lie: I wear my Break North T-shirt under my chef coat all the time. It’s so comfortable.
Well, I love to pickle, ferment, cure, and smoke. So I will give you my new root beer pickle recipe:
Sassafras root, Ginger, Allspice, Clove, Cinnamon, Sarsaparilla tea, Mustard seed, Bay leaf, Peppercorn, Apple cider vinegar, Sugar, Water, and Salt.
Make tea of sassafras and sarsaparilla with clove cinnamon and allspice. Soak over night. I like to use burdock root (peel, slice thin, and keep under water with lemon wedges). Add ratio of 2:1 vinegar to waters. Salt and sugar to taste. Add tea and boil (keep tea basin there). You must cook burdock until tender, then jar and as needed. (If you are scared of the root beer flavor, you can use 5-spice; it works great too.)
What’s your secret to staying young?
I am a 43-year-old who was recently asked on the street if I was over 21. I’m genetically wrinkle-free. I know it drives my 43-year-old wife crazy, even if she won’t admit it.
Words to live by?
- Less is more.
- Do what you love, love what you do.
- Cook with your heart, and you will feed the soul.