I have strung ropes from steeple to steeple
garlands from window to window
Golden chains from star to star
and I dance.
M.O.B. is a subjective contribution to the new face of America, the belief that "America is back." A smooth approach, built on universal values. M.O.B. is also a step in the life of a man, that of Cyril Aouizerate. A life made of reflections, commitments and deep desires to know “The Other” in its most promising dimension for humanity. An invitation to rethink what appears trite: the desire to and the pleasure of eating together.
M.O.B. was born in the mind of Cyril Aouizerate, over a 20 year period, while he was studying the works of Maimonides on the health benefits of various combinations of vegetables, fruits and spices. At that time he tells himself that someday he will try to make this philosophical text an ambitious project in bringing men together, regardless of their beliefs.
Over the course of the next two years, Cyril Aouizerate made numerous trips to Brooklyn to rediscover the roots of the movement that he sees as the most influential and most creative of the twentieth century: HIP HOP. As the founder of MAMA SHELTER hotels, he had already decided upon an atmosphere paying tribute to urban culture that is often ignored or devalued in France, and in this “small world,” he was known as “PAPA SHELTER.”
It was while walking on the Brooklyn Bridge that Cyril Aouizerate made the connection between his idea of using the health musings of Maimonides and his own desire to realize his American dream in Brooklyn; one of the birthplaces of HIP HOP. It takes him nearly a year before choosing to settle down at 525 Atlantic Avenue. He wanted an “OG” neighborhood in its original state; one of great cultural diversity and significance.
M.O.B. is situated in Boerum Hill; across from a mosque and a block down from the future New Jersey Nets arena – a building born from the mind of rapper JAY-Z – and far from “hipster” neighborhoods like Williamsburg. Consistent with his previous projects, Cyril wants M.O.B. to be both a hot destination spot and a place for the locals, with prices affordable for all. From the start, he wants to give meaning to every facet. Obviously, his primary goal is, first and foremost, "to feed". A restaurant? Not just a restaurant, a movement, a way of life.
The name is M.O.B. (Maimonides Of Brooklyn); a nod to the universalist philosopher who, in another era, would have lived here. The main course – the M.O.B. – a kind of "pie" or "avant-garde pizza" with different combinations of vegetables, fruits and spices, are in the shape of the arches of the Brooklyn Bridge. In order to continue his search for meaning, Cyril decides to create unique trays on which the M.O.B. will be served. He will make the trays (modern replicas of the Brooklyn Bridge) in a little French foundry and on the back add the phrase “designed by M.O.B. States, proudly made by French workers for the people of Brooklyn - Peace."
He also wants to make meatless saucissons (salty and sweet), doughnuts of steam risen dough, un-fried manioc fries, and the Native American delicacy, corn soup. To bring his concept to life, he enlists personal friends and Michelin star chefs, Alain Senderens and Jerome Banctel. With Maimonides in mind, the three work through and create M.O.B.'s first recipes. But Cyril wants a greater culinary discussion and goes in search of an American chef. Very quickly, he reels in Neal Harden. Already well-known in New York's world of raw food, Neal Harden accepts to be a part of the project, becoming the first American chef at M.O.B.. The months past by and the recipes progress, while Cyril discovers the “joys” of the applying for licenses, permits and various inspections... the charm of New York !
Meanwhile, Cyril wants to go even further. For him, M.O.B. has its roots in American culture. Like Michelle Obama's campaigns, M.O.B. is an American answer to food and public health issues. Then he decides to create a comic book. With fake advertisements, games for children, texts and poems to write, an explanation of the origins of M.O.B., but most of all, with a comic that revolves around a young pizza boy who will become a superhero. This superhero discovers his new powers given by pills containing fruits and vegetables. For his powers to work, the hero must wear his Brooklyn Bridge
bling. To make this comic book, Cyril entrusted its conception to his old friends, Les VEGA G, Benjamin and Moussa, whose roots are undeniably “HIP HOP.” The comic book M.O.B. Vol. 1 is obviously free for all and he's already planning Vol. 2 for September 2012.
> Download the comik book (pdf)
Cyril doesn't like design. More specifically, he is weary of the negative results that these hybrid creations can lead to. So, for M.O.B., he decides to work with the famous punk architecture-design duo, Kristian Gavoille and Valerie Garcia. The energy of M.O.B. was created by reading poetry and philosophy, and drawing hundreds of sketches. A huge wall decorated with a redesigned American flag, the stars of which have been replaced by symbols representing all the communities that make up the US landscape, as to remember that the true “stars” are the immigrants who built the country over the centuries. Huge communal tables (made in Brooklyn) with drawers, like at home, where you find silverware, as well as crayons for children. Grandma's lampshades hang over each table. On another wall, one can observe dozens of hunting trophies, of which the victims are vegetables and fruits, with their birth date, their date of disappearance and the cause for their death. There is, for instance, “Mr. Avocado, 2009-2010, died for guacamole,” or “Miss Banana, June 2008-August 2008, died for banana bread.” These fruits and vegetables were made in resin, by the French artist, Louis de Torhout. In the back of the room, one finds a large silver throne, topped with a headdress of a Navajo chief, to remember the presence of Native Americans in the neighborhood of Boerum Hill. This throne is the location of Musical Knowledge, where celebrities and average people of various cultures, will be able to share with customers moments of soul, jazz, funk, blues, hip hop and pop, while banishing terrible “lounge music.” Beyond the room with this room, there is a bar and an open kitchen. There we find a little souvenir shop of M.O.B. and of Brooklyn, but also an arcade table (new generation), where the customers will be able to play the mythical games of Pacman and Space Invaders for free, while enjoying a slice of saucisson and a beer (from Brooklyn, of course).
The main amenity of M.O.B. is its garden which is a very large terrace that offers a view of “One Hanson Place,” – a building converted into an apartment by Magic Johnson, in 2006. In this garden full of trees – a true nod to the patios of southern Europe – one will be able to eat, not only during the summer, but all year long, while not disturbing the neighbors.
M.O.B. was the mind's desire of Cyril Aouizerate. Now, it's a reality. For its founder, M.O.B. has three main objectives:
-To collaborate with others and make Brooklyn the home of avante-garde natural American cuisine that is balanced and respectful of the new stakes of the world.
-To democratize access to a balanced and gastronomical diet, especially for young people, in a city like New York, where access to quality restaurants is often reserved for the richest.
-”Peace, Love, Unity and Having Fun.” By taking back the legendary slogan of HIP HOP roots, M.O.B. wants to erase the sad, often depressing or even sectarian image of vegetarian cooking. M.O.B. proves, even to those who cannot imagine a life without meat, one can find pleasure with vegetables, fruits, spices, natural and local products, a glass of wine or beer, and most of all, the genius minds of the chefs.
Only when the last tree has died, and the last river has been poisoned,
and the last fish has been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.