I was busily preparing for a pop-up pâtisserie on Saturday when – someplace between mixing a 10-batch of bacon-chive muffins by hand, and pulling a sheet pan of cookies from the oven – there was a knock at the door. I was up to my ears in flour, but this was worth taking a pause to clean my hands, rip open the box, and beam a little bit.
For some time, I’ve been pipe dreaming a different type of pop-up shop; not one that showcased new pastries, but an online shop that would serve as a place for me to share an incredibly small list of beautiful objects found while traveling, hard-to-find-yet-unbelievably-worthwhile-ingredients, and items I love owning – and using -as I navigate from project to project, from place to place. It’s an idea that’s seen a few stops and starts since it leapt into the forefront of my mind but is one that’s opening my mind to a whole new world of people and things, and allowing me to collaborate more closely with the people + products I love.
This special delivery on Saturday was the start of all that; it came from my friends at Hedley + Bennett in Los Angeles, and was filled with what has come to be “The Essential Apron,” around here; a whole box of them! Pressed, shiny, and new. The apron (lovingly named after Chef Jonathan Benno’s tightly run ship, the 1 Michelin Star Restaurant Lincoln in NYC by Ellen Bennett herself,) was hand-delivered to me while on the Tour of California last summer, and I have hardly taken it off since. The apron was the super-hero cape I wore to create the Skratch Labs Cookie Mix, and it started being essential because that was the sign to anyone that might enter the kitchen that I was at work. (Although, sometimes I did take naps in the apron and that was clearly confusing.) Since, I’ve consistently received comments on it when I do little pop-up pâtisserie here in Boulder, when I’m traveling + cooking around the country, and even when we throw dinner (er – read ice cream only) parties here at the house.
When I feel like a complete mess, with flour in my hair (and probably wearing a beat up SRAM t-shirt) it makes me feel polished and pro. And so I ordered up as many of the aprons as I could from Ellen + the Apron Squad to sell as the first product available in the new little pop-up shop here on the site open today!. The stock is somewhat limited, and so if we sell out the shop will allow for backorders to a point. And, should I get the word from the apron squad that we’ve exhausted the back stock option, I’ll close the shop and restock.
I’m so excited and proud to share this special piece with you in this way, and just to be a Hedley + Bennett stockist; Ellen and I once shared the Providence L.A. kitchen and it’s been wonderful to watch her literally revolutionize kitchen style and spread her apron goodness all over kitchens across the country, and now the world. It’s been so much fun working with her team on both this little release, because in addition to recipes, and cooking good food its a way to spread my passion – and theirs too. And a completely different way of thinking about what’s possible.
All grandiose waxing aside, this small thing – becoming a “shop owner” – has uncorked a whole bottle of questions I didn’t think I’d be asking myself right now. What about a name? (Mine will do – for now.) What color of washi tape will decorate the shipping boxes? (You’ll see!) How about flat rate shipping? (Thanks for helping with this, Derek!) And international shipping? (I have a call into UPS.) And what was the name of the little store where I bought that amazing carrot honey in Rome last summer? (Still thinking about this one.) Ohmyglop, do I need to take a photography class on product shots? (Please, no.) And the website needs to be redesigned to integrate the shop. And and and. I digress (for now.)
The little shop is OPEN! And it will be open when we have new products in stock! Just the The Essential Apron for now, but oh there’s so much more on the way soon. In advance thank you for your support + enthusiasm, and for asking enough about the apron that it inspired me to do something about it!
I can’t wait to send little apron care packages to you all! – xo L