24 Hours, 24 Million Meals
The Big Apple. It’s the centre of the universe for art, culture, finance, fashion, and food. Eight million people clamoring for three square meals a day.
How does one of the world’s most populous centers, a city of concrete, glass, and steel, feed itself? Feeding New York shows the complex choreography of distribution that keeps New Yorkers fed. It’s a dance of supply and demand that happens in cities all over the world, every day.
Just after midnight, we prowl the streets of the Bronx where barbed wire fences hide the world’s largest produce market. Inside, the three kilometre stretch of loading docks displays almost every fruit and vegetable imaginable. Meet Mario Andreani, and watch him in action as he moves hundreds of tonnes of produce in just one night.
At 2 am in Chelsea market, they’re busy making a lot of dough.
Overnight, they will make thousands of loaves of bread, rolls, and buns by hand, hundreds of which will soon be transformed into sandwiches at Financier Patisserie, near Wall Street.
There, owner Eric Bedoucha, describes his passion for patisserie, a culinary art that he learned as a teenager in Paris. Eric keeps the pulse of Wall St. by the number of cakes he sells. When times are bad, sales go up, as more laid-off employees receive goodbye cakes.
At 4 am, forklifts speed through a refrigerated warehouse the size of three football fields. This is the New Fulton Fish Market at ‘rush hour.’ Fishmongers smoke stogies and swing fishhooks as they sell the day’s catch from around the world.
Just after 6 in the morning at Manhattan’s Union Square Greenmarket Karen Weinberg sets up her booth. She has driven overnight from her farm in Upper State New York to sell her cheese and lamb directly to New Yorkers who want to know where their food actually comes from.
One of her buyers is chef Michael Anthony, whose entire food philosophy revolves around locally grown and raised food. He is searching for ingredients he can use in his menu at Gramercy Tavern later tonight. For years, he trained in Japan and Europe, and now he’s one of the most popular chefs in the city.
Celebrity chef Daniel Boulud needs the best to satisfy his demanding customers. There are 23,000 restaurants to choose from in New York, and he has to provide the ultimate in food. Luckily for him, gourmet food salesman John Magazino has just returned from hunting white truffles in secret forests in Italy.
He scored, and has rushed his rare delicacies overnight to New York. Jet-lagged from a red-eye flight, he heads to Restaurant Daniel at four in the afternoon to try to sell them. At $2500 a pound, these exotic fungi are a hot commodity, and the negotiation is almost like a drug deal.
Amid all the markets and restaurants, two men are committed to feeding New York’s hungry. Lex Wilder is a food rescuer for City Harvest who scours the city, trying to help feed 1.3 million New Yorkers who don’t get enough to eat.
And chef Michael Ennes in West Harlem often takes that food to make ‘gourmet’ meals. His philosophy is that it doesn’t matter if you pay $100 or if you pay nothing, the meal has to please the customer.
Across the city, the dance continues. Feeding New York reveals a complex, hidden world that few know about, but everyone relies on.