Haut cuisine and literature are wedded in a pre-war co-op
by Frances Madeson.
Chef, restaurateur Tasha Garcia and fiction writer D.W. Gibson are marrying this June at Ledig House International Writers Residency, a gracious historic home, surrounded by lush green lawns in the Hudson Valley. It’s an extraordinary colony where writers from far-flung locales gather to work. “Even though we’re very hands-off, a community just happens,” says D.W. about Ledig House, where he serves as Executive Director.
“The hardest part,” he says, “is being away from Tasha during the time I’m in residence there.” Tasha’s only day off from Little Giant, the Orchard Street eatery specializing in American nouveau cuisine, is Monday. “Sometimes we get her up on the last train on Sunday night, so we can have a long Monday together and return to the city on Tuesday morning,” D.W. explains.
“It’s a rush, but it’s worth it,” Tasha agrees. She finds it “pristine and utopian” and thoroughly enjoys the intellectual curiosity of the writers. “We have the most interesting conversations at dinner.”
Tasha, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America in Poughkeepsie, hails from Miami, and D.W. come to New York from Orange County, California. They first saw each other at Judson’s Grill, a publishing industry hangout where Tasha worked. “He was a breath of fresh air in that environment,” Tasha recalls. United as a couple for the past two and a half years, for them marriage will mean “more of the same” as well as “next steps.”
“There are so many thing we want to do together in life, that we’re looking forward to doing,” says D.W.
They’ve been through so many interesting and challenging experiences together already: the opening of Little Giant; the sale of D.W.’s children book Fundorado Island, forthcoming from Random House; and the renovation of their Amalgamated apartment from soup to nuts.
“It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come with this place,” D.W. said. “The floors were covered with ancient green carpeting and the kitchen sink didn’t give water,” Tasha elaborated. “We had to start from scratch.”
For Tasha, the success of Little Giant was something of a surprise. “The feedback we received challenged us to take it to the next level, to elevate the service. While food led us here, it’s also about being welcomed warmly at the door, feeling appreciated. It’s been amazing witnessing this neighborhood blossom and receiving support from our Co-op Village neighbors,” Tasha said. ”Our lease runs three more years with options to renew for another three. We feel very fortunate.”