LOCAL PROFILES: Ryan Gormley (Eataly NYC Downtown) 5.22.17
At Life Below Canal, we love food in all forms: Cooking it, eating (ok fine, mostly eating it), sharing it with friends....that love for it got even larger when we had kids and now have the chance to take them to the places that mean the most to us, try new recipes to get them excited, and help them have a general, overall healthy relationship with food.
But enough about the kids, let's talk about the food.
When Eataly NYC Downtown opened, we couldn't be happier. With its incredible hours (7AM to 11PM), a slew of restaurants ranging from vegetable-focused (Orto E Mare) to fish-focused (Il Pesce) to carb-focused (La Pizza & La Pasta) to even a gorgeous reservations-encouraged upscale date-night dining spot (Osteria Della Pace, home to the incredible salt-baked fish for 2), and great market offerings, we’ve made Eataly NYC Downtown our go-to spot for groceries (who doesn't like to grocery shop with a glass of wine?), happy hours, and dinners with both friends and family.
What is really cool about Eataly NYC Downtown is that they’ve been listening to the neighborhood and evolving their offerings, events, and services accordingly. For example, they transformed La Pizza & La Pasta to accommodate the after work crowds from the neighboring businesses, and added more high chairs for families. Their Foodiversita has been especially fun to see grow. When Whit’s husband was on paternity leave, she was getting a lot of photos of him and their son (usually passed out in the stroller) at the free food university, learning how to make things like tiramisu or fresh pasta from scratch (It should also be noted that Whit has yet to reap the rewards of said husband attending these classes, but that’s for another day).
The classes, free and always a good time, happen daily and their popularity has led to the launch of free (registration required!) hands-on classes for the entire family. From picking seasonal produce in the garden to making fresh mozzarella, the goal is to teach kids the importance of healthy and wholesome food.
If you think that’s cool, they’re about to launch a lot of fun new offerings for summer.
We spoke with Ryan Gormley, Eataly NYC Downtown’s Education Manager, who has been developing some really exciting in-store events and demos for you, live now!
Let’s start with the basics. How did you get into Italian food?
My great-grandmother is from Calabria, Italy, and, growing up, I was always picking her brain for Italian recipes, and even studied abroad in the region she grew up, learning what it means to be Calabrian. While in Italy, I went to the Expo Milano in 2015 and worked by launching a food truck in Milan. I just knew I had to work with Italian food, and be as close to the culture as possible. It’s been a dream come true helping to bring others into my passion.
What’s your favorite ingredient we can find at Eataly?
Basil! It’s so versatile. I love its aroma, and how you can use it in so many dishes.
What is your favorite thing about Eataly NYC Downtown?
The cooking classes of course. I really have enjoyed growing the kids cooking program. We’re getting a lot of very young kids, ages 3 to 6. It has been really cool to see them take an idea they’ve never seen before, like making fresh mozzarella, or trying a food they’ve never tried, like basil or a new vegetable, and finding out that they actually enjoy it. We’ve had a few occasions where parents will tell us their kid will refuse to eat something at the start of the class, and by the end of the class the child has discovered they actually like it, and the parent has a new way to prepare the ingredient with their children. It’s really fun.
What do you have up your sleeve for us this summer at Eataly NYC Downtown?
We’re doubling up on the kids cooking classes on Saturdays and Sundays, adding a second timeslot. So you now have the choice between 10:30 and 12:30. This way nobody gets shut out from being able to take a class as long as they sign up in advance. We’re also adding more class options, from making granola to meatballs to arts & crafts. All you need to do is sign up a week in advance via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re also launching “Weekends At Eataly.” Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday there will be a new experience for you to explore at Eataly, including in-store events and sampling. We’re bringing in the producers on the weekends and having them interact with the customers, so you can sample things from and talk directly to the purveyors of your favorite products. We love helping drive the conversation around food, and creating a new experience for you to explore every time you join us. We’re also going to be highlighting the popular stations at Eataly on the weekends and having interactive stations set up. For example, at the mozzarellalab you can learn how to make mozzarella and see it being made in real time. Our website will have all the times so you can make sure you don’t miss out on anything.
Lastly we’re launching one major event a month (with tickets required). Each month will have a special theme and focus, with the first one being Friday, June 9th, Take a Trip Around Sicily.
I hope to see you there. And if you’re ever in one of my classes or see me experimenting with new recipes at Foodiversita', please come introduce yourself. We all love to meet our neighbors!
So what is your favorite thing about working below Canal Street?
The proximity to the Hudson River is incredible, and from working with local businesses for both catering and events, it has been amazing to see how friendly everyone down here is. Everyone I work with and I meet at the store through the cooking classes and off-site events around the Downtown neighborhood is friendly and family oriented. It’s great to meet so many people who are genuine and down to earth.
Eataly NYC Downtown
101 Liberty St, New York, NY 10006