Inside the Community-Inspired Cookbook “A Seat at the Table”

Partners Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, known together as Beekman 1802, released their fourth cookbook and it's all about creating and cooking as a community. We spoke with Brent who gave us the story and shared a mouth-watering lobster recipe.


Images courtesy of Beekman 1802.

You might know Beekman 1802 from their TV show “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” on the Cooking Channel. Or maybe you remember them from the Amazing Race in 2012 when they traveled 45,000 miles around the globe in front of an audience of 10 million and won the grand prize. Or maybe you already own their first three cookbooks

Any way you slice it, you’ll be excited to know that Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, the duo known as Beekman 1802, have released their fourth cookbook, “A Seat at the Table,” that’s filled with 115 recipes meant to embody the traditional story of stone soup, in which everyone brings their piece to the pot to create something greater than its parts.

We had a chat with Brent who told us about the inspiration for the book, one of his favorite recipes and how he gets by with a little help from his friends. Order your first edition signed copy here.

How did you come up with the idea for “A Seat at the Table”?
In a world in which people seem to be less and less concerned with the welfare of their neighbor or spend most of their days isolated behind their phones, our business, Beekman 1802, and our little village saw the world differently. By working together we’ve not only grown each of our businesses but have also revitalized our Main Street. Who would think that the little town of Sharon Springs, NY (population 547) would be the setting for so many trends?

We started working on this book (our fourth cookbook!) over two years ago as a way to tell the personal story of Beekman 1802 and the way that food and gathering around the table could nourish you and your community in more ways than one.

Where do you envision these recipes coming to life?
We hope that people will use the recipes to create “communities” of all sorts.  Is it a literal community dinner made up of the people on your block?  A community of coworkers? A community of people you see at the gym every week but have never asked their name?

We want to encourage people to invite others to the table. And you can post a photo of your gatherings and tag us (@beekman1802boys) or use the hash tag #haveaseat.

You wrote this with a neighbor, Rose Marie Tripani. How did she get involved?
Rose Marie lives just down the road from us. She feeds everyone in town. There’s probably not a person in a 10-mile radius that has not touched a piece of Rose Marie’s Tupperware.

Rose Marie grew up learning to cook alongside her grandmother, mother and aunts in Sicily, and when we learned that she had always dreamed of writing a cookbook, we jumped on the idea of making her dream come true.

The book is filled with Italian-inspired comfort foods that will have people begging for a seat at your table.

What’s one of your favorite recipes from the book?

The crusted lobster with oregano butter. No matter where you live, if you can get a fresh lobster—it’s a special occasion.

This recipe is easy, and any excuse you can get to eat off of a piece of newspaper keeps clean-up easy, too.

What about drinks? How do you quench the thirst of a big gathering?
When we entertain large groups of people, we fill a galvanized water trough with drinks and ice and let people go “bobbing for beverages.”  It’s not always easy or economical to stock a full bar of spirits, so you could also come up with one signature cocktail for the evening that’s easy to manage and will satisfy the cravings of anyone that likes the hard stuff.

If you could have a meal with anyone living or dead who would it be and why?
We love meeting new neighbors — real or virtual. Everyone has a story to tell, and everyone has something to contribute. And we like to sit and listen.


Makes 2 Servings

Even if they’re being caught right outside your back door, lobster is still an extravagant delicacy. It’s easy to prepare and has a beautiful taste all on its own, so when we splurge and buy a couple, we like to keep the preparation clean and simple.

6 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Two 1¼-pound live lobsters
½ cup panko breadcrumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a shallow baking pan — large enough to hold the halved lobsters in a single layer — with heavy-duty foil.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the butter, 3 tablespoons of the oil, the parsley, oregano, mustard, salt, and pepper flakes over medium heat, stirring until the butter has melted. Set aside.

3. Split lobsters in half lengthwise. (You can also ask your fishmonger to do this for you when you buy the lobster.)

4. Place lobster halves cut side up on in the baking pan. Spoon the butter mixture evenly on the lobster halves and top with breadcrumbs. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the breadcrumbs. Bake until the flesh is firm and white and starts to pull away from the shell — 12 to 14 minutes.

Note: In the warmer months, we like to serve this with boiled potatoes or corn on the cob — a simple meal that tastes of summer.

BEEKMAN 1802: A SEAT AT THE TABLE by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell, with Rose Marie Trapani. Copyright © 2017 by Brent Ridge, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, and Rose Marie Trapani. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.