Photo by Dominick Mastrangelo
When Dave Chaitt moved into a first-floor Williamsburg apartment with a grapevine-filled gazebo out back, he knew it was only a matter of time before he came up with some crazy idea as to how to take advantage of it. He was working in the music industry and had been hosting weekly pizza dinners as a sort of informal networking event at his previous apartment, and that connection between people and food set the groundwork for what’s now the Backyard Brunch Sessions. Starting in April 2010, Chaitt began inviting bands to come over and cook brunch with him, then play a short, intimate set outside to about 15-20 people. He found a partner to take care of the film work, and also befriended Dan Lynch of nyctaper, who now records audio of the performances.
I was invited to a session in the middle of this summer’s heat wave; where Chaitt cooked huevos rancheros with Johnny Ollsin, guitarist for the awesome Family Band (who happen to be eMusic Selects alums!), pictured above. Chaitt’s were made with fresh mozzarella, caramelized shallots and balsamic-soaked strawberries; Ollsin’s were with cotija cheese, cilantro, and broiled tomatillos, onions and jalapenos. And all of that was accompanied by McClure’s bloody marys, and amaaazing ice cream from Adirondack Creamery (my favorite was carrot cake spice). We watched XVSK and Family Band while we ate and tried not to melt (it was definitely worth braving the heat).
I caught up with Dave a couple weeks ago to chat a bit more about his cooking history and what goes into each session.