How to be a flea-market artisan
David Campaniello, co-owner, [node:897647 link=Arancini Bros.;]
Mon Aug 1 2011
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Former profession: Sound engineer
Making the switch: While touring with rock band Secret Machines, sound engineer Campaniello discovered he shared a love for arancini (fried Italian rice balls) with the guitar tech Will Levatino. The pair started experimenting with recipes at home, took a research trip to Sicily and eventually snagged a stall at the newly launched Hester Street Fair to test-run their snacks. The Sicilian street food ended up being a hit, gaining fans and garnering favorable mentions on blogs such as Serious Eats. The newly minted market stars knew they were onto something and rented an out-of-use kitchen in Bushwick's Wreck Room bar—saving themselves the cost of building a kitchen from scratch—to establish their first storefront. Although they still pick up the occasional music gig, Campaniello and Levatino now hawk their fried balls full-time from their Brooklyn shop.
Word to the wise: "Do a unique, specialized product. In New York, there are so many people who are interested in food that just being something new is attractive."
Get your feet wet: Discover the backstory and learn the craft of established food artisans at Ger-Nis Culinary & Herb Center's Brooklyn Artisanal Kitchen series. Call the center to find out when the next class will be held; recent speakers include Ben Van Leeuwen of Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream. 540 President St between Third and Fourth Aves, suite 2E, Gowanus, Brooklyn (347-422-0337; ger-nis.com).