As anyone who’s familiar with their popular line of apothecary products will tell you, Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz are no strangers to quality ingredients. The pair behind Malin+Goetz have built an expansive business on stylishly packaged unisex skincare treatments, hair products, and fragrances formulated with natural, plant-based components, which are sourced as locally as possible. But that’s not just a selling point — it’s part of their lifestyle. In business as well as the kitchen, good ingredients, smart style, and a strong sense of community make up this couple’s recipe for success. In the early days of their brand, Malin and Goetz used to host monthly dinner parties in their Chelsea-based store (with food prepared by Goetz in their nearby apartment). Now they’ve extended their dinner settings to upstate New York, where they recently purchased a second home. While the ingredients may vary, the recipe stays the same. We asked them to tell us about it all. Aspiring dinner party hosts, read on.
Do you like to cook? MM: Andrew is the cook—I enjoy hosting.
AG: I love to cook! No matter what time I get home from the office, I always enjoy preparing a meal. There is something incredibly cathartic about the simple act of cutting and prepping for the mise en place. That, along with an obligatory glass of wine, really helps take the edge off the day. I usually like to cook Italian because it tends to be simple.
New York City kitchens are notoriously small. What’s yours like? AG: While small, it’s not notoriously small. It used to be two rooms. We tore down the wall that divided the two rooms to make a real kitchen, but it's still rather small when compared to the rest of the industrial world. Like all New Yorkers, it’s important to be organized and efficient.
And how did you outfit it with appliances? AG: A Garland stove, a convection oven—
MM: And a good dishwasher. Since I don’t cook, I do the dishes, and I think it’s one of our best investments. It’s a Gaggenau, from Germany, and it’s so quiet.
When you shop for food or eat out, what food labels do you tend to pay the most attention to? AG: Local and sustainable are extremely important to me. I do my best to eat foods that are in season, grown locally, and raised as humanely as possible.
MM: Since we have a weekend home in Columbia County (NY), we’re able to source local and organic fresh food and grow some of our own. “Low-fat” is not as important, but rather eating healthy and nutritiously, as is exercise and sun protection.
AG: I have absolutely no interest in “low-fat.” The less processed the food the better. And besides, fat is usually where the flavor is! What’s the point in eating low-fat cheese? Labels are important in that I like to buy the best quality. If I’m buying packaged Italian food, I want to make sure it’s really from Italy, and if I’m buying jam, I want to make sure it’s made only with fruit and sugar—not corn syrup.
How does the availability of food upstate compare to New York City? AG: There is quite a big difference. It’s always amazing that I can walk into our relatively tiny market and find just about anything: artisanal cheeses from around the world or 10 varieties of anchovies—in a space only a fraction the size of an upstate supermarket. The local supermarket upstate is massive! And while it has a really nice produce department, it’s amazing to me that most of it is devoted to frozen and packaged goods.
On the other hand there are amazing farms upstate. We love going to the farmers market in the summertime, and the Kinderhook Farm up the road from us has the most amazing free-range chickens, and eggs, and incredible grass-fed beef and lamb. It’s probably the best your money can buy—there is nothing comparable near us in the city.
What do you tend to bring back to the city from upstate—and vice versa? MM: We bring pies back from our local country store—made with local cherries and apples and berries.
AG: Eggs and produce always go back to the city with us. And we tend to bring cheese and prosciutto upstate.
Tell us about your in-store dinner parties. MM: We used to host monthly sit-down dinner parties at our Chelsea store. We did these religiously for the first three years of our seven years. Andrew cooked at our nearby apartment, and we’d host 10 individuals from design and beauty — our respective industries — for a salon-like evening in our space. Lately, we’ve had smaller dinner parties at our weekend house for about six to eight.
How do you prepare for your guests? MM: We like for the parties to be about the food and guests — they’re casual and easy. Andrew cooks, and we serve dishes that are best at room temperature. If we host upstate, especially in the warmer months, we pick flowers from our gardens or source them from local farms.
AG: Less is more for me. Food and wine are center stage. We like to put all the food in the center and pass it around. The only other décor that we do is that we make place settings with our products.
MM: Andrew makes these paper sleeve “labels” that fit neatly over the bottles to customize both the product itself and the event. The product name becomes the specific guest’s name, the “ingredients” the entire guest list, and the “usage” is the menu.
AG: And everyone gets to take a product home with them, along with their hangover.
What would you say is a good gift to bring a host? AG: I love it when people bring things from their garden. Generally, we like to get things that someone else thinks is special — we really appreciate this. We’ll bring a wine that we really like, or a local pie that we think is great. And sometime we’ll go down the hubris route and bring one of our favorite Malin+Goetz products.
Since you’re in the apothecary and skincare business, what do you recommend for guys to help keep their hands smooth after cooking? MM: Personally, our Vitamin B5 Body moisturizer is good for hands, feet, and all over the body. We also do two amino acid-based hand washes, currently in Rum and Lime. They don’t dry out hands, even with frequent washing.