The Cool Kids is a series documenting creative humans shaping present day society with their work and outlook.
LAUREN GERRIE + FLANNERY KLETTE-KOLTON | bigLITTLE Get TOGETHER | CHEFS + OWNERS
Lauren Gerrie and Flannery Klette-Kolton are on a mission to inspire and excite through a passionate culinary experience that invites you to eat your heart out. Their private chef service, bigLITTLE Get Together, offers something close to walking through a museum gallery of curated colors, inventive displays and seasonal expressions of flavor. They are making art in both preparation and presentation, providing inspired contemporary urban cuisine that's being documented on the Instagram streams of New York's culture set, including fashion power player, Marc Jacobs. In addition to their work, these women are two of the most dedicated and supportive people in the entrepreneurial world right now. Get to know Lauren and Flannery as they prepare for a public pop up dinner at Butter & Scotch this coming Monday night, August 17th.
Tell me about bigLITTLE Get Together. How did this all start?
We both grew up cooking a lot with our families, eating different ethnic foods, and watching a ton of Food Network. That was our common denominator. We decided to throw a Great Gatsby themed party for our mutual friend's birthday and cook together for the first time. The party was epic. The guests were encouraging and we had a blast. That night we decided that we should do this and came up with the name instantly. We dove in head first, blindfolded, and have managed to stay afloat. We filed for our LLC and simultaneously started working in kitchens, going to culinary school, going out at night to meet chefs and spreading the word. Lots of trial and error. Lots of research. We were taking almost any job that came our way and finally we established enough of a following and brand awareness that now we can be more selective. This is really important because we do not do jobs anymore that do not represent the best we have to offer. We know our strengths and prefer to share the work we are the most excited about and proud of.
Where did you originally meet?
We met at our local coffee shop, Ninth Street Espresso, and to this day we still have coffee together every day. We touch base and gear up together and we have held this ritual for 9 years.
How does living in NYC contribute to your work?
In terms of the culinary world, we have access to some of the best chefs, mixologists, restaurants, ingredients and products in the world. It is the most competitive place for our industry because the field is so densely saturated in NYC. This means we are constantly learning, making, and eating new things. The opportunity to experience here is infinite, and we are doers. Also, having so much human contact on a daily basis is incredibly inspiring and allows you to think outside of the box. As you interact with people you try and find a common denominator or a way you can mutually appreciate each other. Ultimately, this means that there is a lot of crossover between professional fields and collaborative opportunities.
What is the best part about what you are doing?
We are incredibly lucky right now to be at a point professionally where we are able to put out the food that we want to with little resistance or hesitation from clients. It took some time to gain the trust of everyone's stomachs. These days we are doing really amazing collaborations and brand experiences where companies put trust in us to represent their brand through the medium of food. In this way, we are almost commissioned artists.
Where do you find inspiration for your dishes?
There is inspiration everywhere! The universe is infinite. Open your eyes and see for yourself or close your eyes and absorb the energy. When coming up with menus we go to the farmers market to see what is available and beautiful. Then the rest is like a puzzle. We pull inspiration from other chefs we admire, art, architecture, pop culture, color, texture, sound, and smell.
How do you maintain momentum?
We stay involved in the industry and are constantly creating. These days we are gaining more momentum by collaborating with other chefs, designers, and photographers to reach a larger more diverse demographic.
What is one thing you have learned that continues to remain present in your career path?
You are never done working. Or better yet, there is always work to be done!
What do you discover about yourself through your work?
Endurance and humility. The days are long. The labor is manual. It is also just food. It is important not to lose this.
What does your work contribute to society?
We hope that our work helps people better understand the importance of what they put in their bodies and that we can help inspire them to take some initiative. We hope eventually, the more awareness we can generate, the less people will want to eat processed and artificial foods. Ultimately, this will lead to a healthier and happier population. Food is fuel. Stop pouring sludge into your engines.
As creative humans, what do you hope to contribute to the world?
Positivity. Love. Peace. Sharing a meal is a great way to achieve these things and appreciate your surroundings. We hope to contribute more and more opportunities for people to experience these emotions through the simple act of eating.
What is your personal Mantra?