Enter the ring – the quest for the perfect bagel

This is a tale of the love of bread, obsession and rolls that look like rings. Dan Martensen is a fashion and portrait photographer who shoots magazines like i-D and Vogue as well as brands like Ralph Lauren as well as Tommy Hilfiger. Martensen, too, is an i-D and Vogue New Yorker (he grew up in Westchester). In the year 2019, after 10 years living in Brooklyn the actor relocated with his pregnant wife and daughter, who was three years old, to north-west London.

They had an infant son. Then the pandemic struck. When work was at a halt and being homesick, he was addicted to the “soul food” that had always been a symbol of home Bagels that were New York-style. Martensen is keen to let it be known that he is a fan of bagels that are East End style, and are sold at London famous establishments such as Beigel Bake and Beigel Shop located on Brick Lane. However, they can be “a different thing entirely” than the bagels the man was craving. East End bagels tend to be bland. New York bagels come with traditional toppings like sesame seeds, poppy seeds onions, garlic, onion along with “everything” (ie all of the above). NY bags are more crisp as well as maltier. They also come with Schmears (flavored cream cheeses) instead of salt beef or sandwich fillings. They are generally more chewy, but this is a subject of controversy.

Dan Martensen’s selection of bagels, with traditional New York toppings (c) Jesse Jenkins Ask Martensen why NY bagels are so important to him, and he’ll answer, “Why does tea mean so much to British? It’s similar to the ticking of the clock.” Bagels can be a must-have part for the New York day. At least, every other day and on Sundays especially when brunch needs bagels. “We’d get a dozen bagels, a bunch of schmears, make some tuna salad and egg salad and have this huge feast with family or friends,” he states. “Every New Yorker has their favorite bagel shops in the neighborhood, and a few others too.” The ones he likes are Ess-A-Bagel located in Midtown (with branches in other areas) as well as Olde Brooklyn Bagel Shoppe in Prospect Heights. He also recommends Russ & Daughters and Barney Greengrass for their schmears, and smoking fish. Martensen is kneading bagel dough . . . (c) Jesse Jenkins …and rolling it into a shape (c) Jesse Jenkins He was obsessed with a’soul food’ that always been a symbol of home.

London, Martensen scoured Google Maps for bagel stores and walked around the city looking for the perfect bagel. He even joined a WhatsApp group with the area of his residence to avail of a weekly bagel delivery. The results were not great, and there was a notable exception Papo’s Bagels in Dalston, which was launched by a husband and wife team who hail from New York. However, Dalston was too far away to be a frequent stop. Therefore, Martensen made his own. “I wasn’t looking to get into the bagel business,” Martensen says of his initial efforts. “I’m a hobbyist. I enjoy learning how to make things.” It was not until a friend of his, Chris Ammermann, co-owner of Caravan restaurants, paired him up with chief baker Jack Ponting that the pair made a breakthrough in the recipe and created bagels that had a crusty outer and a deep, savory chew that Martensen would take pride in.

He contacted members of his WhatsApp group. Within the next day, he received 250 orders. The business increased from there. Martensen enjoys Bagel (c) Jesse Jenkins The BEC (bacon egg, bacon as well as cheese) bagel (c) Jesse Jenkins By 2022, the duo were launching “It’s Bagels” at Caravan Roastery, and launched a wildly successful delivery service via Slerp and received the endorsements of Alexa Chung Laura Jackson and Daisy Lowe. The shop was among the growing number of New York-style bagel stores opening throughout the UK, as well as Bross Bagels in Edinburgh and King Baby Bagels in Newcastle. In the month of March, Martensen opened the first bricks-and-mortar It’s Bagels shop in Primrose Hill. The customers can expect the traditional selection of bagels, variety of schmears that change (including Martensen’s personal favourite the jalapeno-flavored cream cheese) and smoking fish Deli salads, cold and hot drinks. In a way, the latest chapter represents an unrealized dream that has been lingering for a long time.

“I’d always wanted to open a restaurant,” says Martensen. “I’ve been in the kitchen since I was 14. I am awed by chefs. In many ways, the excitement and heat of a kitchen can be compared to the photography world.” And in other aspects, it’s been quite a wild ride. “There is no logical progression where a photographer becomes a bagel baker,” Martensen states. What is the difference between bags and high fashion? “Totally different. Bagels are high in carbs.” A three bagels are being prepared to bake (c) Jesse Jenkins Martensen’s new bakery It’s Bagels located in Primrose Hill in London (c) Jesse Jenkins But: “I hope this is one of the best experiences for me in my life,” Jesse Jenkins says. “I prefer to believe that all things are bagels. I chose this because I was enthralled by the concept.

I didn’t put a whole world of stress on myself. I did what was before me. I was having amusement and, because it was’as ridiculous like a bagel’ it didn’t feel like work.” Recommend HTSI Bake information! What’s going on in the kitchen on the cake front? Bagels have begun to permeate his studio practice. “I photographed with Julianne Moore, and I felt similar to her. …” his voice fades to the level of whispers, like selling marijuana “‘Do You like Bagels Do you like bagels?” For endorsements from celebrities, “iconic Jewish actor” Eugene Levy would be his ideal candidate. Or Larry David. Or Jeff Goldblum. “I was recently on a plane with Jeff Goldblum coming back from Milan,” Goldblum says. “He’d just completed an appearance at the Prada show. It was a shame I didn’t have bagels with me. That’s what I have to do now – keep bagels with me every time.”

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