Family businesses are hard. Family food businesses that have lasted four generations, like the New York appetizing emporium Russ & Daughters, are practically unicorns. So, when I had a chance to have Niki Russ Federman and Joshua Russ Tupper on Special Sauce, I jumped at it.
I really wanted to ask them how they manage to not kill each other. The answer? Josh says, "The secret of a family business is as little family as possible." On this episode, you'll hear what this rare team's secret sauce is, and how they keep the hamische (that's Yiddish for "cozy and warm") spirit that has pervaded Russ & Daughters for a hundred years alive and more than well. Hint: It's not the great smoked fish, bagels, cream cheese, and sweets you can buy at the store, but those are important. The true secret to success is a feeling, something that has attracted the likes of Mario Batali, Calvin Trillin, and Lou Reed. Niki Russ Federman was in shock when Reed (RIP) came up to her at a party in NYC and said, "I really wanted to meet you. You're New York royalty."
Check out this week's episode of Special Sauce and you'll have a chance to meet two members of New York's smoked-fish royal family yourself.
You Could Be on Special Sauce
Want to chat with me and Kenji? We're accepting questions for Special Sauce call-in episodes now. Have you been refining your chicken-roasting technique for the past five years, but can't quite make it work? Does your mom make the world's driest sausage and peppers, and you want to figure out how to (politely) give her tips? We want to get to know you and solve all your food-related problems. Send us the whole story at [email protected].
[Bagel and lox photograph: Vicky Wasik]