Golden Boys: Ted Allen's Brooklyn Rooftop

Food Network Magazine joins Ted Allen and Barry Rice for their annual summer honey harvest. 

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Photo By: Spencer Heyfron

Photo By: Spencer Heyfron

Photo By: Spencer Heyfron

Photo By: Spencer Heyfron

Photo By: Spencer Heyfron

Photo By: Spencer Heyfron

Photo By: Spencer Heyfron

Photo By: Spencer Heyfron

10,000 Pet Bees

"When Barry first said he was getting into beekeeping six years ago, I thought he was crazy," Ted says. But now the bees are practically pets. They're Italian honeybees trucked in from Georgia (a box of 10,000 bees, plus a separate one for the queen), and they live on the roof of Ted and Barry's Brooklyn brownstone all year — with a pretty spectacular view of New York City. "It's been rewarding learning how their little ecosystem works," Ted says.

Photographs by Spencer Heyfron

Honey-Making Process

The honey-making process starts in the spring: After a winter of huddling up in the hive, the bees go into full-blown production mode when the weather warms up, gathering nectar from nearby flowering plants. They bring the nectar back to the hive so other bees can convert it into honey and seal it in beeswax. At the end of the summer, Ted and Barry remove the honeycomb and then, in the safety of their kitchen downstairs, they pour the honey into jars. A single harvest produces anywhere from 30 to 130 pounds of honey, a lot of which ends up in Ted's morning oatmeal and Barry's honey ice cream. Lucky friends and family get the rest, and Ted swears that it's better than anything you can buy — pale gold, floral and just slightly minty. "It ruins you for ordinary honey."

Step 1

Barry uses a smoker to calm the bees as he opens the hive (a tower of stacked wooden boxes). The bees build honeycomb on frames inside each box.

Step 2

Barry gently brushes the bees off each frame so he can access the honeycomb.

Step 3

Once Ted and Barry have removed the bees, they put the honeycomb-filled frames into wooden boxes so they can take them inside for the harvest.

Step 4

Barry removes a layer of beeswax from each side of the frames with a heated knife and a scratching tool.

Step 5

Barry puts the frames into a metal extractor and cranks it by hand for five minutes to release the honey from the combs. Then the honey passes through a fine-mesh filter and out the spigot. The honeycombs stay intact on the frames so the bees can get right back to work for next year's harvest.

Homemade Is Better

"When you make your own wine or beer, it's never as good as what you can buy," Ted says. "But this is really special; it's not like honey you buy at the store."