A laundromat at 132 Franklin St. that’s sat empty for over a year is in the process of a delicious upgrade. This spring, Paris-based Fulgurances, is opening a Greenpoint location of its incubator for rising chefs.
Parisian and recent Brooklynite Hugo Hivernat (along with partners Sophie Cornibert, Rebecca Asthalter and Pierre Bufett) launched his original chef residency program in Paris, Fulgurances, L’Adresse, in 2015. In 2021, Fulgurances will bring a similar visiting chef model to the Brooklyn rendition.
“We compare what we do to an artist residency: Fulgurances invites young chefs for a three- to six-month residency program where they can learn how to manage a team, define and refine their culinary identity, and express themselves as they want, without having to worry about the administrative and financial aspects of running a restaurant,” said Hivernat.
In Paris, chefs and sous chefs, who were “hidden gems in the kitchen,” Hivernat said, have come to Fulgurances from restaurants all over the world, including highly acclaimed global restaurants like Noma, Osteria Francescana, and Cosme.
“With this new residency location, we hope to keep bringing both local and international chefs, because a huge part of cooking is about being open to others and to the world,” said Hivernat. “The goal is also to create bridges between Paris and New York, and perhaps even have chefs rotate from one city to another in order for them to be confronted with a new terroir, and a new audience.”
A roster of visiting chefs for 2021 and beyond has yet to be confirmed, but the residency is definitely an enviable position while New York’s restaurant industry experiences an unprecedented upheaval. “The core of our business is promoting up and coming chefs,” says Hivernat. “In this environment, we feel these chefs need that support now more than ever, as it will probably be especially hard to open a restaurant in the next few years.”
Another important tenet of Fulgurances is supporting sustainable, responsible, organic producers. “With what this [pandemic] crisis has revealed about the precarity of our supply chains, we are more committed than ever to supporting a local, sustainable food supply,” said Hivernat. But not everything about COVID-19 has been negative for Fulgurances. “We’ve also seen the support and encouragement for other local businesses in Greenpoint, and really feel that we are surrounded by a strong community,” he added.
Construction on Fulgurances, which started in February 2020, paused in March due to the pandemic and picked up this past summer. The site in Greenpoint’s Historic District had already been involved in a conflict with the Milton Street Block Association, which was resolved in December 2019 when CB1 prohibited Fulgurances from using the backyard for guests, in order to keep noise levels low in Greenpoint. With the new normal of outdoor dining proving as the safest option for the community, we’ll see if that ruling sticks…