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1971 Airstream Safari turned into chef Yann Nury's mobile kitchen
The world came to a literal stop in the spring of 2020, and for many businesses, like indoor restaurants and upscale eateries, it’s yet to start moving as it did before. One chef from New York City has found a solution to side-step the problem, with some help from a repurposed Airstream RV.

A Repurposed 1971 Airstream Safari Serves as a Chef’s Upscale Kitchen

1971 Airstream Safari turned into chef Yann Nury's mobile kitchen1971 Airstream Safari turned into chef Yann Nury's mobile kitchen1971 Airstream Safari turned into chef Yann Nury's mobile kitchen1971 Airstream Safari turned into chef Yann Nury's mobile kitchen1971 Airstream Safari turned into chef Yann Nury's mobile kitchen1971 Airstream Safari turned into chef Yann Nury's mobile kitchen
Yann Nury ran a premium catering business in NYC before the current health crisis, the kind that includes clients like Dior and Tiffany & Co. Overnight, as businesses shuttered, his clientele disappeared. Born and raised in France, and having struggled for years to set up a name for himself in the Big Apple, Nury suddenly found himself at a turning point.

As he tells The Robb Report, after one month in lockdown, one friend suggested that he started to flip burgers to make ends meat, but this clearly didn’t align with his style. The idea of running a food truck, though, was not a bad one. Sure, it wasn’t to his liking, but he could use it to reinvent himself.

1971 Airstream Safari turned into chef Yann Nury's mobile kitchen
Nury decided that, since catering was his bread and butter, he would continue in the catering business, but in a novel way: if he used a food truck-type of vehicle, he would never have to set foot inside a client’s kitchen. He got his hands on a 1971 Airstream Safari, aka a landyacht, and he set out to find someone who could repurpose it for him – following his very strict specifications.

That someone would turn out to be Scott Bowe from Pioneer Vintage Trailer from Ohio. Normally, such a project would take a year, Nury says, but Bowe did it for him in a couple of months. Clearly, Nury didn’t have an entire year to wait for the conversion.

“The idea was to create the first really incredible upscale kitchen in an Airstream,”
Nury tells the publication. “[An Airstream is an] incredibly beautiful, shiny object. Everybody recognizes it and loves it. It’s like an old 911 or a Rolex chronograph.”

Today, this vintage Airstream only retains the exterior, which makes it instantly recognizable and easily noticeable. Inside, everything has been stripped down and replaced with the kind of trimmings and appliances you see in a proper chef’s kitchen, from the (reclaimed) oak floors and countertops, to a notable absence of stainless steel and commercial gadgets.

1971 Airstream Safari turned into chef Yann Nury's mobile kitchen
There are modernized Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier stools from the zoo of Chandigarh, Charlotte Perriand light fixtures and 19th century copper pots from E. Dehillerin. The piece de resistance, however, is the 700-pound (317.5-kg) Grillworks Langelier Elite 42 grill strapped on the back. Where other catering businesses use cooking tents to meet current restrictions and safety regulations, this vintage Airstream is a contained, self-sufficient unit in and of itself.

Nury has also adapted the menu to its mobile kitchen. He cooks for private parties in the Hamptons and Rhode Island, and delivers treats like duck à l’orange hot dogs, uni grilled cheese sandwiches or truffle-topped artichokes, paired with a fine selection of Dom Perignon and Moët Hennessy, his official sponsors. This is no messy food truck, where you’re handed the meal on a plastic plate and you eat with your hand like a savage. Plating is still being done, and the entire experience is carefully curated, just like in a three-Michelin-star restaurant.

Business has been good – so good that Nury will be taking his Airstream kitchen to the road across the U.S. this fall. He’s also thinking of having another Airstream converted this way, so he can have one on each coast, but he will decide that once the tour is over.

1971 Airstream Safari turned into chef Yann Nury's mobile kitchen
The first stop on the tour will be Ohio, where the repurposed Airstream was given a second lease at life. He will then travel to San Francisco, Napa and Los Angeles, Texas, Miami and Aspen. Nury is positive the Airstream will be as big a hit in these locations as it’s proven so far in the NYC area.

“Everything that you might need to have a small party or an outdoor event is included and built into the trailer,” he says. “Clients are so excited to have this and to be able to go back to socializing. This Airstream is special. Seeing the faces of people when it pulls into a garden is priceless. It creates excitement, helps people to find the joy of doing something again.”

 
 
 
 
 

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