At 26, Will Edwards had worked in some of the best restaurants in New York City. He has settled down in Brooklyn, Williamsburg to be exact. And while it can feel impossible to escape the hipster trap, Will’s intimate and philosophical love affair with food is palpable. On a sticky August day over passion fruit Caihpirihnas at Beco by McCarren Park, Will quietly but with great intent talked about his passion for food. The truth is I’ve known Will for a while and he is a good friend. However, his schedule makes him kind of a ghost friend that floats into our lives between the hours of 2 am and 2 pm. “I guess it started when I was little,” Will said as he takes a sip of his drink. Holidays were filled with big meals crafted by his Mom and family friends. It was amazing to him how effortlessly these elaborate feasts were put together. The party aspect was important too. It’s not just about the food, but about the experience.
“I didn’t really start cooking though until college,” Will continues. A self-described stoner in school, it was a mixture of not wanting to spend money and finally getting a shitty kitchen in his junior year suite that sparked his inner foodie. “It was mostly pasta, we didn’t have a dishwasher either so it was pasta with chicken we’d sauté with some sort of sauce … like a ragout.” I laughed to myself as I don’t think I can recall ever sautéing anything in college. “Cooking pasta is a lot of fun, you know before you send it out if you got it right … when the sauce coats every piece … with pasta, you just know.” Will’s path in college was different. He started out studying civil engineering, but chemistry was not his friend and he later switched his major to business. “By the time I was a senior I would start out with a full load of classes and then wait until the last minute to drop them so it wouldn’t affect my standing.” Will decided to drop out his senior year. “I knew it was the right thing … I was miserable and just wasting money … I needed to take some time to figure out what I was passionate about.”
He found it. First working at Fishtail by David Burke, Tamarack country club, Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, and finally back home in Brooklyn at Marlow and Sons and Diner. On the Brooklyn foodie scene he’s pretty direct: “it’s unique in some ways but kind of like Starbucks. You know how you can find it on every corner … Brooklyn food is all seasonal and we’re all getting food from the same purveyors so while we’re unique to the rest of the world, it’s all the same in Brooklyn … it’s really ingredient-driven.” He coyly talks about the competitive factor in Brooklyn; when a chef eats somewhere there’s definitely the “I can do it better” factor.
Of course I wanted to get the dirt. My knowledge of the food industry is limited to Anthony Bourdain’s drug-fueled sagas but it’s not as exciting that, at least not anymore. “Sure we drink a lot but drugs not as much.” “I’ve had past head chefs that did coke which was really frustrating because they’re manic.” “I used to smoke but the kitchen is just too stressful to be paranoid on top of it.” In a few short years, Will has found what works for him in the kitchen. In ten years he hopes to be able to make a good living off of cooking. “There’s so much food out there, and so much bad food … that’s really all you can hope for … to be able to make a good living from it.” Will is in a unique position with friends and family that are interested in opening a place or supporting the opening of his own restaurant[k1] . He sees his job now as a way to learn about the different aspects of how a restaurant is run “from payroll to salads.”
He sees cooking as the opposite of school. “Cooking you do it and if it’s good, fine, and if it sucks, you’re done and you can start over. It’s immediate gratification. There are rules but you can bend them. Things can suck but you can always fix it.”
“Nothing is set in stone.”
Maybe philosophy should’ve been his major but then we wouldn’t get the benefit of all his good food. Check out his badass-ness at Marlow & Sons pretty much everyday.
FAVORITE DISH TO COOK
-red wine vinegar
LOCAL HAUNTS TO CHECK OUT
Glasserie - Brooklyn, New York -“the space is really nice and the service is great.”
Narcissa - Manhattan, New York - “it comes off as super fine dining, which is usually a turnoff but it’s really good … they do a lot of rotisserie like with beets.”
DREAM FOOD CITIES
Anywhere in Japan
By: Daniella Henry.