When you get paid on a regular basis to do something you love, sometimes it just doesn’t feel right to call it a “job.” That’s sort of the case for Josh Greenfield, guitarist and vocalist for Brooklyn rock band The Canon Logic. Outside his time with the band, Greenfield prepares food for parties, plans private rooftop dinners for two, and serves multi-course meals to groups of friends — and even though he makes money from it, he hesitates to call it a business. “The word ‘business’ always scares me,” says the 26-year-old, who runs the non-business with his younger brother Mike and a couple of friends. “It doesn’t feel like work.”
It doesn’t really look like work, either. When I arrive at Greenfield’s Williamsburg loft, he and Mike are in the kitchen pickling cucumbers and carrots, and there are other veggies and fruit scattered on the counter. In the fridge is leftover pie, and a huge tupperware container filled with black bean sliders leftover from a catering job, the latter of which Josh and I eat for lunch with sautéed kale, scrambled eggs, and a spicy salsa made from rooftop garden veggies. It’s a perfectly designed kitchen, which Greenfield says took a lot of planning, and he tells me his friend who’s also involved in the food work just moved in across the hall, so they work in both spaces.
Greenfield’s interest in food began in high school, when he’d watch Emeril on TV to satisfy his hunger (since he was on the wrestling team and needed to make weight). Around that time, he was on vacation with a girlfriend’s family, whose personal chef took him under his wing for the weekend. “I had never been served before, it was literally breakfast, lunch and dinner he would serve these meals,” he says. “So I asked him if he would let me learn with him.”
The foray into a more professional culinary setting came naturally: Greenfield moved to Brooklyn with the band about four years ago and unexpectedly landed a job as a private investigator. After getting laid off from that, he decided to start spending $50 a week on food for himself and his roommates. Eventually, friends started offering to pay him for dinner parties. “I guess it’s more personable and more comfortable than going to a restaurant, eating at someone’s house — not having to worry about splitting bills and picking a place,” he says.
Greenfield writes a blog about his food (and sometimes music) ventures, which was partially inspired by Cathy Erway, author of The Art of Eating In and the blog Not Eating Out in New York. After meeting Erway through a friend last year, Greenfield gave himself a challenge to not buy food for a year. “I’d cater a party and be eating leftovers, but I restricted myself,” he says. “I wouldn’t even go to the grocery store; I never bought any food. I just had to work with what I had.”
A good amount of what he ate during that time was from the garden he started on his roof. Now in its third year, it’s home to about 15 tomato plants, several types of basil, bell peppers, jalapenos, eggplant, melons, blueberries, strawberries and more. (For an amazing look at the garden, and a demo of the Greenfield brothers’ cooking, check out the gorgeously-filmed first episode of their new web show, YuNork.) Greenfield says since he’s so busy with his music, still his first priority, it’s Mike — who graduated college and moved to Brooklyn last year — who’s really made it his project.
“It’s nice to have the cooking to balance out the music but music has always been my focus,” he says.” The Canon Logic just finished an EP that will be out sometime this month, and then they’ll start working on a new full-length. And even though music is Greenfield’s first priority, he says he has similar approaches to both that and his food. “I was never classically trained; just always played it by ear,” he says. “It’s all teaching yourself and figuring it out.”
Greenfield also knows that what he’s doing can inspire people and show them that following their passions is a possibility. “I think sometimes someone will see that I’ve been cooking and playing music for a while and they’ll be like, ‘Ah I can’t do that.’ But even a year ago I wasn’t doing a lot of this stuff,” he says. “It’s not a catering business because we don’t just do catering so much. We keep the realness to it.”