The Danny Meyer-backed app that delivers food from home cooks is about to feature a meal from two very familiar names — husband-wife team Matt and Emily Hyland of hit Brooklyn pizzerias Emily and Emmy Squared. The Umi Kitchen iOS app, co-created by Meyer’s daughter Hallie Meyer, launched earlier this year in hopes of creating an Etsy for dinner. All of the meals available through Umi are created by people cooking out of their homes, and the collaboration with Emily will be the first time a professional chef will be offering a special.
Even though Matt Hyland usually cooks out of restaurant kitchens, the special for Umi will be made in the couple’s Downtown Brooklyn home, Emily says. It’s a sandwich that Matt created with Hometown Bar-Que’s Billy Durney, a pulled pork concoction with Emmy Sauce, crispy onions, and red cabbage slaw on a pretzel bun. It’s not on the menu at either restaurant, though it may show up as an off-menu special later. For now, a limited amount will be offered on November 15th and November 16th through Umi Kitchen. Proceeds from the $16 sandwich will go to an animal shelter.
Working with a pro may seem like it’s going against the mantra of Umi Kitchen — which is supposed to celebrate food from non-professional chefs — but Hallie Meyer says the collaboration will help underline what it means to be a home cook. Home cooking is its own "genre of cooking," where people make meals in small batches with "care and intention and love," she says. Bringing in working chefs highlights how it’s a another side of what it means to cook for people. "It’s telling the story of how chefs like to celebrate their cooking in an entirely different setting," Meyer says. Other chefs will eventually be offering home-cooked meals on the app, too.
Meyer’s been dining at Emily for about four years, and the restaurant’s been supportive of Umi’s launch. For the Hylands, it made sense to try the project because they consider their restaurant an extension of their home dining room already. "It evokes for us what it means to be home when he’s cooking food, and I’m serving," Emily Hyland says. "I like that tie-in to being a ‘home cook’ for Umi." People in parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan can start pre-ordering the sandwich on Friday. Fewer than 40 of them will be available each night.