On Monday mornings when most of us are groggily starting the work week, a small but mighty commercial kitchen on Kingston’s Hurley Avenue is wide awake and cooking up a storm. The space—with its pale pink walls and stainless appliances—was renovated by Emmet Moeller in February 2022 to be the new home of Common Table, his personal chef company. It also acts as a shared kitchen, where local businesses can create their own food products. A native Upstater (he hails from Clinton), Moeller lived in NYC for 13 years before moving to the Hudson Valley. “I loved living in Brooklyn,” he says. “It was very important in my development as a queer and trans person to be in a place that is so full of people like me. Over time though, I was overwhelmed by the city.”
After frequent visits to Ulster County with his partner, the two moved to Rosendale in 2017, where Moeller found wide-open space, plus an inclusive LGBTQ+ community. “The activism happening in this area is inspiring,” he says.
Moeller’s cooking style, which emphasizes raw food and whole grains, was influenced both by his education at the Natural Gourmet Institute and his upbringing. “My parents experimented with ’health food’ and macrobiotic cooking, so I was often the kid in the cafeteria with a tahini and tomato sandwich on Ezekiel bread. As I got older, I realized I loved the ceremony and caregiving that comes with feeding people,” he says.
His business originated with personal chef services and weekly meal delivery, as well as occasional event catering. Last fall, he added a new program: the Full Fridge Club, a meal subscription service that gives back to Kingston. Moeller launched the club with local cookbook author and chef Julia Turshen—the two collaborate on seasonal, locally-sourced meals for club clients. “When I plan out each week, I think about what I would want to eat, and what foods will make people feel satisfied. I’m also a Libra, so balance is important to me,” he laughs. A sample menu of the club: lentil and kale salad, arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette, turmeric rice pilaf with carrots, and braised pork with apricots and olives.
Here’s the give-back part: For every Full Fridge client, Common Table donates at least one meal (often more) to one of Kingston’s three community fridges for the food insecure (locations include the Clinton Avenue United Methodist Church, the Arts Society of Kingston, and 14 Van Buren Street). The subscription (which includes three to four meals) is $150 per week; or you can try out the club once for $165. “I’m trying to build community around food and create alternative structures along the way,” explains Moeller. “Maybe this isn’t the answer to fixing the unsustainable food industry, but it’s my answer.”
To learn more about Moeller, Common Table, and the Full Fridge Club, visit commontableny.com.