Photos by Chris Ware
Director’s Cut: Baron Ambrosia
Baron Ambrosia poses with peeled balut (fertilized duck egg) at Cartimar Filipino Deli in Yonkers. He welded the ring himself.
- Advertisement -
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I’m a huge fan of Baron Ambrosia, who stars in my August Westchester Magazine article, Food TV: Left of the Dial. His Bronxnet-produced show, Bronx Flavor, airs on Wednesday nights at 9 on NYC Life, on Cablevision Channel 22.
What I love about this guy is that he’s the anti-Food Network star. Unlike the “charisma by committee” that unleashed cultural luminaries like Guy Fee-eddie, Baron Ambrosia is a natural-born freak. He’s totally DIY, writing, editing, and directing his shows himself, and his self-created shtick is not the result of a network focus group. But don’t take my word for it – check out these two Times stories, or this month’s lovely profile by Indrani Sen in Saveur Magazine.
Wanna know more? Here are 10 facts that you might not know about Baron Ambrosia:
• His favorite book is The Devil Drives, about 19th-century explorer and linguist Sir Richard Burton. Though Burton explored Africa and Asia – and suffered shockingly doing it – he’s best known for his fearless, unexpurgated translations of the Kama Sutra and 1001 Arabian Nights.
• Unlike any other 32-year-old in America, Baron Ambrosia smokes a pipe–get this—with tobacco in it. In fact, he was a pipe specialist at Nat Sherman before he made his self-produced video podcast, Underbelly, in 2008. It’s still available on iTunes.
• Just as Anthony Bourdain name checks the Ramones and the Dead Boys, Baron Ambrosia has hosted hip hop icons Sal “Disco Fever” Abatiello and Melle Mel on Bronx Flavor. In fact, Baron Ambrosia devoted an entire episode of Bronx Flavor to 70’s Sal-soul legend, Joe Bataan.
• Baron Ambrosia leaves phone and email messages as Baron Ambrosia, though his given name is Justin Fornal.
• Presumably as Justin, Baron Ambrosia kayaked with his father down the creepy Park River, a natural waterway that was enclosed by development but still runs underneath Hartford, Connecticut.
• For Canzo Empyrean, the science fiction film that Baron Ambrosia/Justin Fornal directed and starred in, Baron and his crew scaled the Brooklyn Bridge to shoot a fight sequence atop of one of its piers. Everyone was arrested, of course, but they got the shot, which was the main thing.
• Canzo Empyrean premiered at a Monrovia, Liberia, film festival – and Baron Ambrosia took the opportunity to investigate Liberian food for an episode of Bronx Flavor.
• Baron Ambrosia explores abandoned buildings for fun. In fact, much of Canzo Empyrean was filmed in deserted structures.
• NYC Life promoted its re-broadcasting of Bronxnet’s Bronx Flavor by plastering 103 city bus shelters with the Baron’s leering mug. For Mother’s Day 2010, Baron Ambrosia took his mom to a city bus shelter.
• As nutty as he is, Baron Ambrosia was the keynote speaker for the NAB Sony Software Users event in Las Vegas, addressing the huge, well-filled auditorium about the specifics of Sony editing software.
Eat, Drink, and Pig Out
Get all up in some air conditioning as you check out these events – who knows, you might even learn something.
Goat Cheese and Wine Pairings, Institute of Culinary Education at Rainbeau Ridge (Aug 13th, 7-9pm $95) Learn how to get the most out of every style of Rainbeau Ridge goat cheese. This program teaches the finer points of goat cheese and wine pairings, while educating food enthusiasts “about building out a farmstead goat cheese operation and making award-winning goat cheese.”
Wines of the Mediterranean at Wine Geeks of Armonk (August 20th, 7pm $35) This class promises “a virtual tour of the wine regions along the sunny Mediterranean Sea. Discussion led by Sommelier Derek Todd. Reservations required.” It’s a big glass of staycation, folks, for those not heading to sunnier climes.
Pig Roast at Barcelona Wine Bar (Every Sunday in August, $29 per person, exclusive of tax and tip – plus, all bottled wine offered at 50 percent of regular price.) Pig out and party with pork and reduced price wine. Let’s face it, you already had us at pig roast.
Deep-Fried Duck Tongues at The Cookery
But do they taste you back? These Pat La Frieda sourced Hudson Valley duck tongues are deep-fried and delicious, offering the perfect salty bar snack to pair with The Cookery’s by the glass list. The soft, tiny duck tongues are tossed in tarragon and parsley, and arrive in a pool of buttery, cheesy white polenta that tastes like heaven on a plate. The whole affair comes with a drizzle of house made orange marmalade, effecting what Chef Dave DiBari jokes, is “duck à l’orange.”
Making a Scorpion Bowl
Tiki mania is still riding high, so we thought we’d share this oddball clip of two very strange men demonstrating how to make a scorpion bowl. Franz and Hans here are going to pump you up!