Designing Women: The Powerhouse Duo Behind The MP Shift

April 23, 2019

As part of our Porter partnership with Edible Schoolyard NYC, we've tapped culinary leaders in their network to share recipes, tips and fresh ways to spruce up your lunch.

It's not just chefs and restaurateurs that drive the latest trends in dining. In recent NYC restaurant history, few creative teams have made waves like the James Beard Award-winning design and branding agency The MP Shift. From the New York Times to Bon Appétit,  co-founders Anna Polonsky and Amy Shapiro Morris have been widely celebrated for their clean and colorful approaches to the "all-day café" aesthetic. We checked in to learn more about their lunch game—and the chocolate desserts that bring a sweet touch to their home kitchens.

What was your favorite lunch growing up?

Anna Polonsky: Sunday roast with my parents: an incredibly buttery roast chicken served with oven-roasted potatoes, bright tomato salad and fresh bread.

Amy Shapiro Morris: Also roast chicken. My husband cooks my Mom's recipe and calls it "healthy junk food" because he loves it so much that it feels like we're eating junk food.

What are a few ingredients often turn to when making a quick lunch?

AP: Olive oil, anchovies, avocados, eggs, hot sauce

ASM: Arugula, avocado, chickpeas, sunflower seeds and fresh bread

What are some actions you personally take to combat food and packaging waste?

AP: I never throw away food. We always keep leftovers in a glass container and either bring them to the office for lunch or cook with it the day after. When buying food to-go, I also never ask for a paper bag or extra things I might not eat (bread, condiments, etc).

ASM: I bought some beautifully designed, reusable beeswax wraps from Australia, which I actually like better than cling wrap. 

To what extent has your career changed the way you cook at home?

AP: I only buy quality products from trusted, sustainability-forward suppliers. And since we're all about making restaurant dining experiences more pleasant to the eye, my husband and I apply the same care at our dinner table—only using beautiful dishes for serving. It makes every meal a celebration, rather than just a functional moment, and it makes cooking more exciting.

ASM: I'm always inspired by the food we eat with clients and often try my own version of a dish at home. It's often the recipes with the least ingredients that stick—the kind that are simply dressed with a bit of olive oil.

Do you have a signature home recipe that you return to regularly?

AP: I can't take credit for it, but this is my go-to chocolate cake (so easy!) 

ASM: Chef Einat Admony just told me that my signature cookies are some of the best she's ever had! I recommend making a batch of dough in advance and keeping it in the fridge so you can have fresh cookies in 10 minutes, whenever you want.

Morris Cookie Dough 

  • 1 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of quaker oats, ground (blend till it's almost like flour)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon or five spice
  • 2 sticks / 1 cup of butter (room temp; soft but not melted)
  • 1 ½ cup organic sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 12 oz Dark bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

Mix the flour, ground oats, baking soda, salt and spices in a large bowl. Mix the butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs in a separate bowl. Combine the dry and liquid ingredients to make the dough, adding your chocolate and walnuts. Refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 375F. Scoop small balls of dough onto a lined or buttered cookie sheet. Bake for 11 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack before serving.

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