No Strings Attached: Hedley and Bennett Aprons

The growing Hedley & Bennett team When Ellen Bennett started out in the culinary industry, her intention was to work her way through the kitchen. Learning to tourne carrots and perfect sauces were part of her plan, but little did she know that she would soon be sitting atop a burgeoning business that counts chefs David Chang, Jonathan Waxman, Vinny Dotolo, April Bloomfield, Tyler Florence, and Marcus as some of her biggest fans. And that's just a start of the names that adore the 25-year-old's Hedley & Bennett Apron collection.

Named for her grandfather and herself, Ellen Bennett was tired of donning ugly and ill-fitting aprons that caused her more headache than getting perfectly crispy fish skin as a cook at Providence restaurant in Los Angeles. Tight neck straps, strings that dug into her side after hours on the line, and lack of pockets led Ellen to consider a side business--why not craft custom made aprons that could be personalized to the chef or cook? With little knowledge of sewing, Ellen took to fabric stores and trim shops to fashion her ideal apron--ones that were made from denim, linen, and chambray--and had fun with colorful ties and patterns. What was left were aprons that fitted well against the body, could be worn for hours on end, and had plenty of pockets for tools, pens, notepads, cell phones, you name it. No detail was left out and the industry has taken notice.

The Hedley & Bennett construction

Armed with samples and a good roster of contacts, Ellen started making calls to chef and chef friends and sent aprons all over the country. Her attention to great fabrics and excellent construction was quickly noticed, and a glance on her blog shows she has made lifelong fans. Marcus included Hedley & Bennett aprons in his recent People Magazine gift guide for cooks and you'll find it hard not to see her signature "&" logo in some of the best restaurant kitchens across the country. And you can't miss her kid's aprons...for the savviest culinary mini-me's around.

marcus people

To order Hedley & Bennett aprons or to learn more about Ellen, visit her web site

Back to the Roots Aquaponics Kit

  Photo courtesy of Back to the Roots

The option of growing your own food just got easier and more exciting thanks to Back To The Roots’ AquaFarm. This self-cleaning aquaponic aquarium and garden makes it easy to grow a variety of greens, and keep a fish. You may know this company for their grow-it-yourself mushroom kits, but Back to the Roots’ at-home aquaponic sets bring indoor farming to a whole new approachable level.

Photo courtesy of Back to the Roots

The system is 100% self sustainable. You can grow organic baby greens, basil, beans, mint, parsley, and thyme right on top of the tank. It works like this, an electric pump moves ammonia-rich waste from the fish tank through a closed loop system to sustain the plants. Then, the greens that shoot-up on  top of the tank clean the water, and pump it back down to the fish. Basically, the fish waste water gets upcycled and used to help the plants grow, and then the greens clean the water so you don’t have to maintain the tank.

The counter top system makes indoor farming easy to do in your home, office, or classroom. All you need is a decent amount of sunlight, an electric outlet, and water. The kit includes everything you need to create a small scale aqua farm: one 3-gallon tank, basil, lettuce, and wheatgrass seeds from Seeds of Change, pots that grow the seeds; gravel for the tank and pots, fish food, water conditioner, and a Petco coupon for a betta fish. One fish is all you need to cultivate enough waste to fertize five plants

You can purchase the AquaFarm for $60.00 from a variety of retailers online and from the Back to the Roots website. You do have to continue to buy conditioner and fish food, but hopefully the tank will pay for itself considering you can eat the vegetables and herbs that grow out of the top.

Style File: Gitman Vintage x The Hill-Side


In this new column by writer Travis McHenry, we take a look at some lifestyle brands making their mark on the menswear scene and the story behind the style.

The recent collaboration between Gitman Vintage and The Hill-Side is by far one of the most exciting menswear releases this year. This collection of goods combines style, prints and patterns with modern tailored fits. The Hill-Side are fabric and pattern masters with Gitman Vintage being a constant source for quality shirts; with this kind of cred this collection of shirts is going to be one of the best things that happens to men's wardrobes this summer. This collection is out now, which means that you can check your local shop or purchase online here.

Check out a video of the collaboration here:

Travis McHenry is a men's lifestyle writer living in Dallas, Texas. Read all of his musings on his web site, Buttoned & Sewn

The Modern Pantry: Bourbon Barrel Foods


"Slow...small... and simple." That's the way the people over at Bourbon Barrel Foods, located in Louisville, Kentucky ("The Gateway to Bourbon Country") have been able to make their products so unique. Here's a sample of their goods: smoked sea salt, worcestershire sauce, "mint julep" sugar (made with raw Demerara sugar and fresh mint powder) and their flagship product, the Bluegrass Soy Sauce, the last of which excites us most today. And here's why:

Bluegrass Soy Sauce, is the only small-batch soy sauce in the United States. Produced from 100% non-GMO, Kentucky-grown soybeans, roasted winter wheat and pure limestone filtered spring water (the secret ingredient to the world's best bourbons) this soy sauce is not only organic, but full of that rich oaked flavor. The barrels that the soy is brewed and aged in are received directly from Kentucky's finest Bourbon distilleries. As of now, they are known as the only producers to make soy sauce in this fashion: the Southern style.

To purchase Bluegrass Soy Sauce or check out there assortment of products, click the link below:

Need some recipe ideas that include Soy Sauce?

Still curious? For more information, you may want to watch this brief video from Discovery Channel's, How It's Made program on what else? Soy Sauce.

For more Modern Pantry items, click here.

Photos courtesy of Bourbon Barrel Foods.

The Modern Pantry: Tin Mustard

With a need for an accoutrement to a charcuterie board during service, Tin Dizdarevic, a Colicchio vet, quickly improvised and came up with this "caviar pop" grainy mustard. With simple, natural ingredients to back it up, the texture is really what makes this condiment shine in an array of dishes.

A great partner to its original mate, charcuterie, Tin Mustard is also great in vinaigrettes, on grilled meats or an all-American hot dog. Add it to this grilled sausage and pepper sandwich or a healthy and simple green salad with shake and pour vinaigrette (made) in a jar. They guarantee it's so good, you can even eat it solo from the spoon. Let's just say, Tin has taken The Mustard Revolution to a whole new level.

The company is run by Tin himself along with creative professional, David Ostroff and marketing specialist, Jan Dizdarevic . Tin Mustard is sweeping the nation and can be found  from California to Florida, from Georgia to Washinton D.C. And of course in good old, trendy Brooklyn at places like The Bedford Cheese Shop and Bklyn Larder.


"The Caviar of Mustards"

Try it in this delicious roasted corn salad recipe, on your favorite sandwich or any of these dishes:

or like they say, "grab a spoon and dig into the jar of creamy mustard 'caviar' solo!"



To learn more about Tin Mustard or grab a jar of your own, click the link below:


Happy schmearing and spreading, dipping and dunking, dressing and marinading!