Great Neck South High alumni David Feuerman knows a thing or two about food. He studied food science at Cornell University, worked in vitamin manufacturing and nutrition bar manufacturing and even founded his own dog treat company, K9 Bros. Now, after all this time, Feuerman has learned yet another new trick: caramelizing vegetables—for humans.
Feuerman’s interest in food science sprouted when he was a senior at Great Neck South. He’d known he was interested in science and engineering, but didn’t know too much about food science until he had to research it for an elective English class.
“I decided to research Olestra, which at the time was a new and controversial fat substitute.” he said, “My paper introduced me to food science, and while Olestra was really not a good product, the topic was very interesting.”
He went on to Cornell, and when he found out about their food science program, it seemed like the perfect fit. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Food Science in 2000.
After graduating, Feuerman worked in vitamin manufacturing and then in nutrition bar manufacturing on Long Island until he felt like he “needed a change.” He got his MBA from Baruch and worked at a bank for awhile before re-entering the food world.
In 2012, after learning about dog deaths resulting from adulterated dog food, Feuerman was inspired to start a company that would apply higher standards to dog food manufacturing.
“I thought I could use my knowledge from nutrition bars to make better dog treats,” he said.
But it wasn’t easy—he had to build his own food dehydrator because buying one would have been too expensive. Before he had his own facility, Feuerman even had to operate out of his East Village apartment.
The dog days still aren’t over—Feuerman will continue to make dog treats while also focusing on his new company, Gourmet Magic, dedicated to caramelized vegetables.
“People don’t have tails to wag,” he noted, but he wants to make something healthy and good-tasting for them anyway.
“I stumbled upon black garlic, which originates in Korean and Chinese cuisine, and I thought it was amazingly delicious and different,” he said. “It turned out also incredibly healthy, addressing all kinds of health issues, so I started making small batches of black garlic, and gradually larger and larger batches.”
Like the other six vegetables Gourmet Magic sells, the black garlic is caramelized and fermented for over thirty days—a process that, like building one’s own dehydrator, requires a lot of patience. Not to mention, black garlic “really stinks up the place.”
But he doesn’t mind. For Feuerman, who continues to engage with New York City’s rich diversity of cultural foods, learning about a new food that is both healthy and good-tasting is a rewarding experience, scents notwithstanding.
Lauren Hakimi is a Great Neck North High School grad who studies English and history at college.