farm to avitab(i)le
Hello! My name is Mike Avitabile (Ah-vee-tah-bee-lay.) Welcome to my little corner of the internet, Farm to Avitabile. I created this website and newsletter to bring together the two things I love most: sharing music and cooking delicious food.
First, a little backstory. My “day job” (a term I use very loosely) is playing the flute and directing the Boston-based chamber music organization, Hub New Music. I started the group while in grad school at the New England Conservatory of Music, back in 2013. It’s been a long and deeply fulfilling process to see my once very ragtag school project become a slightly less ragtag organization that makes me truly proud. While undeniably stressful, my job is uniquely great. I get to travel around the world performing very new classical music (a paradox I know), all while developing a strong community that centers around my work. I also get to work with my friends all day, whether that be my bandmates, the composers who write music for us, our management, or the folks who present our concerts. Some might call it a dream job, and I’m supremely lucky to be doing it.
Now, let’s rewind to my pre-Hub years; to let's say . . . my childhood. I’ve been obsessed with food for as long as I can remember. I wanted to cook before I knew what a flute was. When I was a kid, my dad worked in the restaurant business and some of my earliest memories revolve around food. Going to see my dad at work, watching Sarah Moulton reruns, or the smell of our basil plant were the sort of things that profoundly shaped my adult life. Not to mention making my very first dish: yogurt-fortune cookie-grape surprise, something my parents will never let me live down.
From those earliest experiences into my current life as a professional musician, food has remained extremely close to me. My most cherished days are spent cooking for hours, cramming tons of people into my apartment (probably violating a fire code), eating, drinking, laughing, and then tackling the mountain of dishes with a few brave comrades braced for battle. To this day, I can’t throw a dinner party without using every spoon in the kitchen; a habit I am secretly proud of, but desperately trying to break.
Over the past few years, I’ve taken to developing recipes and seem to have garnered a reputation for a variety of them. The brown butter chocolate chip cookies, the squash soup from Thanksgiving, or that “one pasta thing you made that one time that I think had sausage in it” have all been requested more than once. I’ve also been religiously following more food media outlets than I care to admit - which clearly has consequences as I find myself entranced with the idea of distilling my food life into stories and pictures.
As I currently juggle a life of music and constant cooking, I’m slowly learning that the two share a striking number of similarities (beyond obsession). Primarily I have discovered that bringing audiences into my chaotic and beautiful artistic universe during a concert, oddly resembles inviting a few adventurous souls into my chaotic home to share a meal.
With Farm to Avitabile, I merge my two passions by providing you with a cooking playlist. Farm-fresh ingredients prepared into great dishes are paired with curated music by some of my favorite artists (some of whom are my closest friends.) They might even make a cameo appearance every now then. My goal is to bring you into the vibrant community I’m so fortunate to enjoy, and to help you nourish your own community. Especially the select few who stick around to do the dishes.