“[W]e just thought it would be fun to have a weird tiny little restaurant in the East Village that sold … vegetarian food.”
In the first episode of Meatless, Alicia talks to Brooks Headley, chef and owner of Superiority Burger in New York City and the author of the Superiority Burger Cookbook.
ALICIA KENNEDY: This is Meatless, a podcast about eating. I’m Alicia Kennedy, a food and drink writer. I’ll be having conversations with chefs, writers, and more about how their personal and political beliefs determine whether or not they eat meat. This show will ask the question, “How do identity, culture, economics, and history affect a diet?”
In this first episode, I’m speaking to Brooks Headley, the chef and owner at the East Village’s Superiority Burger, and author of the just released Superiority Burger Cookbook. It’s not really a secret that I’m a very big fan of Headley and Superiority Burger. I take first timers there to initiate them into the beauty of eating yuba in Tompkins Square Park as rats scurry about. For two years in a row, I ate the eponymous veggie burger on Christmas Day. His first book, Fancy Desserts, subverted the entire cookbook concept. It was part memoir, part zine, and Steve Albini, who’s produced records for the Pixies, Nirvana, and PJ Harvey, wrote the forward. This wasn’t a book for food people, it was a book for people, the ones for whom food is a massive and necessary aspect of living, but only one facet of culture, a piece of the puzzle. And the pictures weren’t super lush and beautiful and aspirational. They were pretty fucking weird, and it was mindblowing.
The new book, written entirely in first person plural, to give credit to all the other folks he works with every day, is far more workmanlike. It gathers some of the most important recipes from the three years of Superiority Burgers’s existence, such as the burger itself, the tahini ranch romaine salad, the “Sloppy Dave,” all the way through those amazing sorbets and gelatos. Whereas you might enjoy sitting on the couch with fancy desserts, this is a book you’re going to stand up in the kitchen. We talked about both of his cookbooks, the writing process, and why an affordable vegetarian restaurant was his punk dream come true.
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ALICIA KENNEDY: So thank you Brooks Headley of Superiority Burger, and congratulations on your new cookbook coming out in 22 days, I believe.
BROOKS HEADLEY: Yeah, soon, very soon.
ALICIA KENNEDY: OK, cool. So this is your second cookbook, and I recently actually interviewed a chef, a different chef, and this one came up, and he asked me who wrote it, and he was dubious that you did it yourself. So I wanted my first question to be confirming that you did indeed write your own cookbook.
BROOKS HEADLEY: That I wrote either cookbook?
ALICIA KENNEDY: Or just this one.
BROOKS HEADLEY: I, I did.
ALICIA KENNEDY: OK, cool.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Because apparently people out there don’t think any chef actually writes their cookbook.
BROOKS HEADLEY: Oh yeah, no, that’s, I actually have an English degree, so finally I get to use it.
ALICIA KENNEDY: And yeah, you’ve done a lot of writing for Bon Appetit. So do you actually enjoy writing? Is that…?
BROOKS HEADLEY: Oh, I love it.
ALICIA KENNEDY: OK.
BROOKS HEADLEY: It’s something that, but I, I don’t think I could do it for a living because being under like the writing deadline on a regular basis, whenever I’ve done it, columns for Bon Appetit or I wrote a thing for Cherry Bombe, have done stuff in Lucky Peach, it’s like a one-off thing and then I don’t have to do it for a while.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Right.
BROOKS HEADLEY: If I had to do it constantly, I think, I would, I would, I wouldn’t be able to do it. Luckily I can make food in the, in between.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Right, right, right. So what would you say are the main, like, cooking and writing, these are obviously, as a food writer, we have to do both of these things, but what’s the main difference between cooking and writing? Like what, what are the differences in what they use?
BROOKS HEADLEY: In terms of like…?
ALICIA KENNEDY: Your mental…
BROOKS HEADLEY: Parts of the brain?
ALICIA KENNEDY: Parts of the brain.
BROOKS HEADLEY: For me, cooking of any kind is just, kind of comes, it comes like second nature, like, and that’s why when I started cooking professionally, which I did kind of late for a cook, I didn’t start cooking professionally until I was 27. It just instantly became a thing that, even things that I hadn’t done before I could do right away. Like when my first job, it was, I was like bottom of the line pastry cook at a fancy Italian restaurant, and, you know, the very first time I ever had to pipe pâte à choux out of a pastry bag, it’s like I knew how to do it without ever having done it or seen it or even researched it before. So a lot of cooking stuff just, just comes, it just comes second nature to me and it’s also incredibly fun and I never ever, ever get sick of it ever.
I mean, I’ve worked basically almost every single day for the almost three years at Superiority Burger, and even if it’s a rough day or a rough night or it’s busy or there’s a staffing problem or the dishwasher explodes or the health department is there, the next day when I wake up, I’m as excited as the very first day we’re open, every single day. As opposed to writing, which is more like I kind of, it’s, it’s, it’s something I have to like really like sit down and think about, and, and not a very spontaneous writer either, so it’s more tons and tons of time and revision. I mean, I guess that’s true for everyone, but, it’s definitely, it hurts my brain a lot more than cooking, so, in a good way for sure.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Cool. In one of those Bon Appetit pieces you wrote about the horrors of finishing this cookbook that’s about to come out. How do you feel about the process now that it’s over?
BROOKS HEADLEY: I’m extremely glad it’s over. It’s just any like a cookbook is a, is just a really big job. You’ve got to, you’ve got to get the recipes compiled, you’ve got to get the head notes written, any essays that are going to be in it and then like string it all together and have it then be laid out in such a way by someone who understands the design of the, of the aesthetic you’re going for, you know, and maybe not everyone involved with the project has the same commitment or understanding of what you want to do.
So it’s a, it’s, and it’s, it’s not, it’s not, you’re just, it’s not you’re writing and then it’s all yours. It involves lots of other people, you know. So it’s, it’s fun at times and it’s totally infuriating at times, but, and if, if you had asked me this question two months ago, I would’ve said I will never ever do another cookbook ever again. But as of right now I have something like 90 more recipes that aren’t in the Superiority Burger Cookbook that I’m now, I’m ready to do another one, so. And this one’s not even out yet, so.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Right. So what was the process of selecting the recipes? Like what was the, what were the ones that were definitely making it in?
BROOKS HEADLEY: The, the way the restaurant worked pretty much from day one was we had kind of like a core menu, and then tons of different specials that changed around, and basically any special that we ran on any sort of regular basis, meaning like more than two times, would go in because that meant was something that we actually made and sold, you know? Sometimes you would do things that just didn’t work and those didn’t go in. And sometimes we did things that I just couldn’t remember because it was, it was long ago and or we just forgot how to do it or whatever. So, but some things are like, some things in the book are things we still make today, some things we haven’t made in a couple of years. So.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Cool. And how was the process? Was there a lot of changes made from how you make them in the restaurant to how a home cook would make them?
BROOKS HEADLEY: No, it’s pretty much the same because we don’t have any special equipment.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Right.
BROOKS HEADLEY: Tiny, it’s a very tiny kitchen. We have a convection oven that, that I inherited, that I absolutely hate. Your home oven is probably better than our convection oven. And other than like say like a Vita-Prep blender, which are expensive, but not totally out of reach for a home cook, we’re not using anything that a moderately outfitted home kitchen wouldn’t have, so.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Cool. So Fancy Desserts, your last cookbook is way more elaborate and this one is a little more functional, I would say, or maybe you would disagree with me, but how, what was the cross…
BROOKS HEADLEY: Oh, Fancy Desserts is completely nonfunctional.
ALICIA KENNEDY: OK.
BROOKS HEADLEY: I actually never meant for anyone to make any of those recipes.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Is that true or no?
BROOKS HEADLEY: Absolutely.
ALICIA KENNEDY: OK. So, so then it was a completely different process from this cookbook. Can you kind of elaborate on the biggest ways it was different working on that one versus this one?
BROOKS HEADLEY: Oh sure. I mean for that one, that one was, I had this idea of this kind of manifesto, almost like memoir thing that I wanted to write, you know, that was the recipes were the absolute least important part of that. They were, in a way they just, they were just a way for me to get the cookbook deal, but that was, I didn’t want, I didn’t want people reading Fancy Desserts for the recipes, whereas the Superiority Burger Cookbook is only about the recipes to the point that we didn’t even have any, there’s no, there’s very little in the way of backstory of the place.
It’s just a document of what we made and how you can make it, and then maybe a, you know, one sentence or two sentence head note to describe the recipe or whatever. So it was sort of like, as, as conventional as I could, as I could get it, you know, whereas Fancy Desserts was supposed to be as unconventional as possible at all times.
ALICIA KENNEDY: OK. So the subtitle of the book is “the vegetarian hamburger is now delicious.” Do you believe that you made the first good veggie burger?
BROOKS HEADLEY: I am a huge fan of fake meat.
ALICIA KENNEDY: OK.
BROOKS HEADLEY: I’ve always loved it, like, from the first time I tried it in, you know, in the mid-80s to now, like I’ve eaten my weight in Boca Burgers and MorningStar Farms patties, fake sausages, like fake, fake chicken, like all that stuff. At the same time, I always realized that most of that stuff was pretty processed and weird, even though I loved it, and to this day still do love it. I love, maybe I love it all a little less now because I opened up my dream restaurant where we don’t do that, that happens to be a vegetarian restaurant. So, the, like, I, it’s weird, like I love that stuff, but at the same time, like it was the heavily processed aspect of it, or just tasteless part of it, where, you know, something I learned from working in fine dining restaurants was just, was seasoning food.
I learned tons and tons from Mark Ladner at Del Posto and Johnny Monis in DC, people that like, you know, those weren’t vegetarian restaurants at all, but kind of transferred that knowledge I got from those, those people. Nancy Silverton and, in LA, you know, when we made sorbet bases in LA at Campanile when I worked there, there wasn’t a recipe, it was, you basically had your, your base syrup and your fruit and your seasoning it to make it taste right because it’s not always going to be, the fruit tray’s not always going to have the same amount of sugar or whatever, so very different than any other place where I’d ever worked, you know?
So, and the, you know, when we came up with a burger recipe and we’re doing pops up, pop-ups and stuff, like, it wasn’t supposed to be mimicking meat. It was supposed to be its own kind of thing, you know? And like it’s, it’s, you know, it’s the opposite of a Silicon Valley-made burger that bleeds, you know. Polar opposite, because that’s also totally made, everything is made by hand, we don’t even use a mixer, like every, every single burger patty that we’ve ever made was mixed by hand. I mean we use, we have like a big immersion blender to blend up some stuff, but other than that it’s, it’s like pattied out by hand and flattened with a sheet tray and then par-griddled to set the potato starch in it so it binds it and then griddled again on the pickup, you know. So it’s a really like, handmade thing.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Right. Have you had other veggie burgers that you’ve enjoyed that are more in the handmade realm? Because it’s not just like a Boca Burger versus just an Impossible Burger, but there’s a lot kind of in the middle right now, I would say.
BROOKS HEADLEY: Oh, for sure. Yeah. I mean over the years, I mean I have kind of like vegetable patties that I have like ingrained in my head as like, that one was amazing. A lot of them are from maybe 20, 25 years ago there was this amazing place in San Diego in the early to mid-nineties called Faque Burger, f, a, q, u, e, and it was like a, kinda like a Dairy Queen setup where you just, you ordered at a kind of kiosk and just ate in your car in the parking lot. And in my mind that was like the greatest, but I’m not sure anymore what it was, if it was a handmade version or was like a heavily processed, splatted through a million dollar machine, denatured wheat protein, grow a field full of peas and then turn the peas into flour and squirt them through a machine kind of thing, you know? I don’t know.
ALICIA KENNEDY: OK. So I wanted to ask, the media, namely dudes who love meat, were really eager to like be, praise your veggie burger, and do think that that had to do with your fine dining background? And do you think that they would have been as open to it if you didn’t have a James Beard Award and work at Del Posto, that kind of thing?
BROOKS HEADLEY: I didn’t, we didn’t open up the place.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Right.
BROOKS HEADLEY: It wasn’t, the intention wasn’t to open up the place to like have everyone say, “Oh, this is the greatest veggie burger we’ve ever had.” We just wanted to have like a, we just thought it would be fun to have a weird tiny little restaurant in the East Village that sold, you know, vegetarian food. So.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Right, right, right. So in your own life, you obviously have a really long history with vegetarianism. What kind of drew you to that both as a lifestyle and a cuisine or is, are those things very separate?
BROOKS HEADLEY: Oh, punk rock.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Yeah.
BROOKS HEADLEY: One hundred percent.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Totally.
BROOKS HEADLEY: When, it’s funny, when you, when I read like manifestos or whatever for the current crop of like, the Silicon Valley veggie burgers or whatever, like all the information is, as in terms of like amount of water used and like, you know, benefit to the environment of not eating meat, it’s just all me and all my friends that are, I’m 45, so all of us of a certain age, we’re always like, yeah, yeah, yeah, well, you know, we were reading those pamphlets at shows in like 1992 or whatever. So, you know, it’s like glad you guys caught up.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Do you eat meat now?
BROOKS HEADLEY: I have a very complicated relationship to food.
ALICIA KENNEDY: OK
BROOKS HEADLEY: So I guess I could leave it at that. However, in terms of like what we cook at the restaurant, we don’t use any eggs. It’s, we’re basically a vegan restaurant that makes ice cream with real milk, which sort of confuses people, even confuses me sometimes, because there are times when I’m like, well why not just make everything vegan? And then there’s certain things like labneh or like, I’ve never been able to crack a code for a totally vegan gelato that is the same as the dairy ones I make, so.
I mean, but there are other things, like where we had a beet dish where we used, we got this Ben’s Cream Cheese, which is like the best cream cheese you can get, but then we couldn’t get it for a while, so we had a vegan version which was a fermented cashew cream, and not being able to get the dairy version, we ended up kind of fine-tuning that fermented cashew cream, so now that’s all we use and nobody can tell the difference, and it’s kind of fun that like, we’re not even worried about necessarily like having an alternate version for that.
At the same time, you know, cashews have their own issues, like every, I mean, once you get down to like, it has to be vegan because of the animals, because of the planet, because of this, because of that, then it’s like, well, do you drive a car? Do you live in New York City? Like you have to, like, kind of pick your battles on those things, you know.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Totally. What do you think is holding you back from a vegan gelato?
BROOKS HEADLEY: Milk protein acts in a certain way. And that’s like, since 1999, that’s, that had been my training, is making, I mean we have, we’ve come up with some pretty good ones, but never one that was like really, like, enough to, like, that I would abandon the dairy and the, and the ice cream. But we always have vegan options and like, you know, when we make cakes for special desserts, we always make them vegan. We, we don’t make a cake, we would never make a cake with eggs, partially because of space, we don’t have space for two things, and personally because of time because we have so much stuff going on in the day.
But like we’ve got a pretty good cake method now where we can make almost any style of cake that’s light and fluffy and is also vegan. So, we think in, I like to consider superiority burger the most accommodating to vegans, non-vegan restaurant probably anywhere in the world, because you either have a totally vegan restaurant or you have a vegetarian restaurant that only you can only get a couple things, or maybe more than a couple of things, I mean, you can get everything basically except the ice cream, but then we always have a vegan option that is, I want to say just as good. So.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Right. It was your dream restaurant to open a vegetarian restaurant. Where along the line did, did this vegan perspective kind of take hold?
BROOKS HEADLEY: I mean you can’t open a vegetarian restaurant without also kind of opening a vegan restaurant, but I was never like sort of beholden to like I will, I want to use butter as a tool. I want to use certain things. I, I have to use eggs because I love eggs. Like I was, I’m sort of indifferent towards egg. So when we used to use eggs to bind the burgers and then when realized like we’re going to have to make a vegan patty and a vegetarian patty, and if the only thing different is the egg, let’s find something else out.
So, because we have a limited amount of refrigeration space, plus they look the same and you know, you don’t want to serve the wrong food to someone that, when it looks exactly the same, so it’s more like you, it’s, it’s a lot of, it’s based on our spatial issues, especially when before, we have a little prep kitchen across the street now, but before we had that, we had only had the actual restaurant so we can either be, which is why when we first opened up we were only open from six to ten, because it would take us all day to get everything set and also all our deliveries would go into the dining room and there was no way we could be open, prepping food, as one of my old sous chefs used to say “taking the big food and making it small,” and also serving that food, you know, so people, and when we first opened people would say like, “you guys are ridiculous, you’re just being contrarian just opening up a veggie burger place that’s only open for four hours, like, like what bunch of jerks.” Like believe me, I, if it was up to me, I would be open 24 hours. It was just a matter of space, you know?
ALICIA KENNEDY: Totally. So not just in the title of your first book, but in the intro to the newer, new one, the word “fancy” comes up a lot. So I wanted to ask what it means to you, the word “fancy.”
BROOKS HEADLEY: It’s just fancy, you know? You know it when you see it, right?
ALICIA KENNEDY: Yeah.
BROOKS HEADLEY: Like it’s so fancy. I mean, I came from this, like, fine dining world for years where it was like, I can’t tell you the amount of paper doilies that I’ve ripped apart. Like I never ever want to touch a doily ever again, like the little chips fly everywhere, like doilies, like shiny crystally things and, you know, I have a very, I also have a very complicated relationship with fine dining because I learned so much working in places like that. But it’s, they’re such a bummer, because normal people can’t eat that food. And then the rich people that go to these places don’t even care about the food. Right?
And it’s, it’s such a weird thing, you know, which is, I had had it basically up to, up to here at that point, when I was like, I gotta, I have to cook for, I have to cook for everyone, you know, and I, that’s what I love about Superiority Burger is like, you know, I go to the Greenmarket and I buy the same exact produce that all the fancy restaurants do. Same exact stuff. We’re all there at the same time, I’m a little bit later because I don’t like to get up so early, and then they sell it in the context of a hundred, two hundred dollar tasting menu and we sell it in a little paper boat, you know?
ALICIA KENNEDY: Right.
BROOKS HEADLEY: And I just, I totally get off on that. And that’s just, and like, a lot of people would, when we first opened would think like, oh, so you’re going to do this thing, this is your fast casual business, and then you’re going to go and have a fancy restaurant again. And no, absolutely not. Like I never, I never want to do anything other than this ever again. Like, I would just want to have a place or maybe have two, I don’t know, like that, where maybe a place where more than six people can sit at once, that sells like really kind of thought out, ambitious food for as cheap as I can possibly sell it. So it’s never really been about commerce, you know? I mean it’s a business, it has to exist, it has to maintain itself, but I would rather take a loss and sell some good stuff than sell really expensive stuff, you know.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Totally. That kind of brings me to my next question, which is that, with your ingredient suggestions, there’s kind of a mindful mix of high and low brow ingredients if that’s not a false dichotomy. So I wanted to ask you how you define quality. Like, what is a quality ingredient when it can come from a supermarket or a Greenmarket?
BROOKS HEADLEY: Right. I know that it’s, yeah, it’s sort of like, that’s what we use and that’s what I like.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Right.
BROOKS HEADLEY: So yeah, there is, like, there are certain things where, you know, when it comes to like a, like a finishing olive oil, I’ll source the best, most delicious one I can get that’s sort of prohibitively expensive to use within a framework of a place that’s selling five and six dollar salads. At the same time, like I will, there are certain things that I’m fine with using just regular old supermarket stuff for. I think that’s, I mean I think that’s just like, there’s no way I could use only expensive stuff, but there’s no way in my heart I could use only garbage too. Now when I say garbage, I mean just like not the greatest stuff.
So, so yeah, it’s a mix, you know, it’s not, a lot of people sometimes will say like, you know, cooking is about taking really crappy vegetables and through time and cooking, making them good. And I agree. But I also agree that making friends with the coolest farmers at the farmer’s market, like Campo Rosso Farm and getting their, like people that really know about minerality in soil and growing things that are like the most beautiful things that sometimes you can get anywhere on the East Coast, and then take that and barely do anything to it and sell it. So, it’s a, it’s a combination for sure.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Yeah, yeah. So you mentioned the kind of bleeding veggie burgers before, so I wanted to ask just a more broad opinion on those and whether you’ve eaten any of them.
BROOKS HEADLEY: I have, I’ve had, let’s see, I think I’ve had one and one quarter total over the course of, about maybe six, because it’s always like someone has one and then we chop it up into eight pieces and taste it, you know, so.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Have you learned anything, or is…?
BROOKS HEADLEY: Have I learned anything? I think what I’ve learned is that, from those at least is that there’s nothing to do with anything that we’re doing.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Of course, yeah.
BROOKS HEADLEY: It’s completely different. And that’s fine. You know, I like to think of it like that, I mean to me they taste the, they taste the same as like a Boca Burger.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Yeah.
BROOKS HEADLEY: Texturally, they figured out some weird stuff to make it kind of weird and stringy and fall apart-y like actual ground beef, but also not. So I, I’m not opposed. I’m not opposed to them. I don’t hate them. I would actually say like with the right, if like, cooking of it and putting it on the right bun with the right stuff, you know, probably be great. But in terms of like, like when they first started popping up, I’d get like emails or texts from people like, like, like, “So what are you, these guys going to put you out of business!” And I was like, “No, no, this is a totally, it’s a totally different thing.”
The thing that, like I guess is the most, like our veggie burger patty is, is recognizable as food. You can like open, you can smash it and open it up and oh, like oh, that’s a carrot, that’s a piece of quinoa, that’s a half chunk of barley, that’s, that’s an onion, you know, that, oh, that’s a sliver of parsley. Like it’s not, you know, highly processed wheat and coconut oil, or isolated pea protein, that kind of thing. So.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Yeah. So now that you’ve got the book out and you might be doing another one, perhaps…
BROOKS HEADLEY: No one will ever let me do one again.
ALICIA KENNEDY: How do you kind of stay so inspired to do so many new things every day at Superiority Burger?
BROOKS HEADLEY: It, well, like I said, when we started out, like the initial plan was we’re going to have this white board with six things, and the gelato was always going to be labneh because it’s the one, the version we used to make was really easy and I wouldn’t have to think about it, and then we would switch the sorbet around. So the only thing I ever planned on changing ever was the sorbet. Everything else was just going to stay the same because I thought that’d be cool. Have a little tiny restaurant that that’s what you sell.
But immediately got bored and we did a special on the first day, and then that turned into a thing where what we can do is we can, I can get whatever at the Greenmarket, or not at the Greenmarket, order it off the Baldor truck or whatever in the winter because, there’s nothing grows here in the winter so you can’t get everything from the market, get some stuff, but to keep it interesting for the staff, and also interesting for me and also interesting for the people that come to the restaurant all the time because like, because it’s not, the specials aren’t a set thing.
If I get only enough asparagus to run 20 specials, I can run that, and then when they’re gone they’re gone. I take it off the board. As opposed to a traditional restaurant where there’s a set menu where, and this is one of the things in fine dining, it always bugged me, it was like you have, this has to be on the menu for a certain period of time. So nature doesn’t work the same way. So when the asparagus runs out, that was really good, which is why you put it on the menu in the first place, then you start buying asparagus that’s not as good, and you know, it’s not as good, but it’s still on the menu so you have to do it that way. And that just seems like, that’s just seems like you’re cheating the people that are buying. And although in a fancy restaurant, who cares, they’re all rich people so they can, they don’t care. They don’t care anyway either.
So, but we also, one of my business partners lives around the corner from the restaurant, and he travels a lot, but when he’s in town he eats at Superiority Burger every day with his girlfriend. So the gauge that I have is if Matt can come in and get something new, then we’re, it doesn’t have to be totally new because he comes every day, I obviously can’t have something brand new composed thing every single day, but if he can come in almost every day and get a thing that he hasn’t had before, then we’re like kind of on track. And it’s, and it’s sort of screwed me at points because, say for the the gelato and sorbet, once I figured out I wanted to change it every day, whoever I train to start doing the gelato and sorbet, and we’ve had like three or four people since the beginning, I’ll say like the first thing I’m like, “OK, so we’re going to change it every day,” and everyone’s like, “all right, cool.” And then because it’s like, it’s a very collaborative environment, especially for the ice cream, like that’s my thing, but like once I get somebody up to speed, they can do whatever they want, as long as it makes sense with the restaurant and isn’t too weird or isn’t too not weird, you know?
And is always delicious and texturally perfect or whatever. But a lot of times someone will make something and I’ll be like, “that’s amazing,” I was like, “let’s make that again,” and usually the person is like, “oh, let’s, let’s give it, let’s give it a little bit, you know?” And I’m like. So it just keeps, it’s like this, we have a little tiny kitchen with tons of people packed into it, but constantly doing new stuff. It makes it, it makes it more interesting for everyone involved, you know. So.
ALICIA KENNEDY: So where do you like to eat when you’re not at your restaurant?
BROOKS HEADLEY: Oh my God, I, I, I never really, I almost never go anywhere else.
ALICIA KENNEDY: OK.
BROOKS HEADLEY: Just because I’m always at the restaurant, and or at my apartment, but I’ve, I’ve in my, I’ve never once cooked in my apartment ever. I lived in my last apartment for seven years and my current place I’ve been for a year, and the two places combined, I’ve, I’ve heated up a tortilla on one of the burners once, but that was the extent of any cooking I’d, I’d done at home and in the past eight years, whatever. Part that’s because it’s teeny apartments with….
ALICIA KENNEDY: Right.
BROOKS HEADLEY: …but also because all of the rest of the day and night, I’m cooking or like involved in like a cooking situation, whatever. I mean there’s tons of amazing places all over. But uh, yeah, I don’t. Someday I’ll get out.
ALICIA KENNEDY: OK. This is my last question and I think this will be my last question forever, because I asked a chef this yesterday and I liked what they said, but, and it’s a very basic question. Is cooking for you a political act?
BROOKS HEADLEY: I mean, of course.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Yeah.
BROOKS HEADLEY: It’s like, yeah, yeah, I mean like Superiority Burger is a vegetarian restaurant, but in the scheme of reasons why it exists, the low priced, the, the low priced quality of it, I don’t, that’s probably, that’s a terrible way to phrase it, but the cheapness of it. Inexpensiveness of it.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Yes.
BROOKS HEADLEY: To me is more important, more important than the vegetarian part. While the vegetarian part is also crucial, like that’s the reason, like I was in this fine dining world for so long where it, where it just seemed, just everything about it seemed unjust and, and, and just, you know, normal people can’t eat food, that food, and a lot of that food is so beautiful and, like, through the cooking process or the time or whatever, but if, if a normal person can’t buy one, a piece, a chunk of it for ten bucks or something, then that sucks. That’s like, that’s, that’s the worst, you know.
So yeah, our restaurant for sure, its existence, what we serve, and how we serve it is of course a political act, so.
ALICIA KENNEDY: Alright, great.
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