Food & Beverage by Bobby Caples:
Before the days when downloading TV shows, Hulu, and Netflix ruled his TV set (which itself eventually went the way of the past), Bobby Caples actually watched cable TV. One of the benefits of cable over streaming or downloading is you have the opportunity to stumble across more random viewing experiences. One afternoon in 2005, Bobby met Ina Garten. Ms. Garten was unassuming and unpretentious (despite having a house in the Hamptons) – a prerequisite for Mr. Caples continuing engagement with her and her cooking show. Ina soon introduced him to (another) Bobby, Alton, Rachael, Giada, and more folks who showed him that his growing taste for good food could still be possible within a grad school budget. Bobby didn’t necessarily love everyone he watched (sorry Sandra), but he definitely learned.
Bobby’s first experiences with cooking came in college, purely out of necessity. Somehow he made it an entire year with a gas grill chained to my college dorm without the fire marshall levying sanctions, and a grill is naturally the first place a man learns to cook. Cheese-covered kabobs could only go so far, and by the time he had reached his mid-twenties, burgeoning foodie cultural and boredom got together and urged Mr. Caples to learn more. Ms. Garten and friends were there to meet the challenge. Back on his dorm grill, even when keeping it simple Bobby never followed recipes. It wasn’t really an eccentric thing – he just didn’t feel like reading that closely at 9 on a Friday night. Also, he never seemed to have what the recipe called for, but had a few other things that looked close.
Also relevant was that Bobby was not sure any of dorm dwellers had any measuring devices, pretty much ensuring that experimentation was the name of the game. With a firm foundation in experimental dorm room grilling, he was primed for the world of Food TV when every episode offered at least one new tip on how to not burn a quiche or overcook lamb. Mr. Caples also gravitated toward the shows and hosts who taught technique over recipes. Even Rachael on 30 minute meals could deliver. He’d largely ignore the overall message of the show, and focus on the little tips and tricks that could be exported and used the next night with friends. Like many things, it being a social experience also helped.
Somehow Bobby became friends that year of his internship with other people who were growing food nerds. A friend of his across the street actually had a multiple course, catered dinner with wine pairings every holiday, complete with wait staff – all in his house. And they were under 30. Yes, they were nerds, but when the fever takes hold, it takes hold.
Friday nights eventually became more about cooking than clubbing, and the process of preparing a meal during those nights became more and more involved. What started as, “Why don’t you come over for dinner?” eventually turned into every guest becoming an active part of the cooking process. The joke (which continues to be true to this day) was that you need to eat before coming over for dinner because it would be many hours of slaving (and drinking) in the kitchen before you’d ever see a bit of prepared food.
That year eventually ended, but the fire never died. These days, Bobby has been spending an increasing amount of his culinary energy on cocktails. A bottle bought keeps a bit longer than fresh food, and cocktails offer multiple rounds of experimentation throughout the night.
This site is dedicated to Bobby’s kitchen creations, from the burner to the mixing glass. Enjoy the journey & the visit.