People often ask me, "What tool in your kitchen do you feel to be the most important?" They usually expect me to answer that question by describing some super expensive kitchen knife or a state of the art immersion circulator, but my answer is ALWAYS "my kitchen table" As cliche' as it sounds, its the truth. My relationship with food goes way beyond whipping up something wonderful. To me, food is the connective between individuals. It tells a story, it conveys love, it speaks of lineage and heritage, and it does exactly what the name "restaurant" speaks of.. it restores.
My story is really no different from other chefs. Yes, I've cooked in five diamond restaurants, I have over 30 years of professional experience, I've staged in high regarded restaurants like Charlie Trotter's, Lespinasse and Le Bec Fin. I've been written up in notable publications like Food and Wine Magazine, The New York Times, Brooklyn Magazine, Elle Japan, and those cute mini mags in the chair pocket of any United Airline flight. But what sets me apart is how I pay respect to the craft and the culture of cooking. I don't try to upstage the food that I prepare, it is and will always be about the food. I am just someone that holds the torch proudly while I'm still able to do my thing.
I'd say some of the most notable things in my career have been having the platform and the ability to inspire young cooks and individuals across this country. To have hosted several events at the James Beard Foundation including the very first JUNETEENTH DAY event co hosted with other fabulous chefs of color. Just a couple years ago, I finished as a finalist on Bravo TV's Top Chef season 15, and that experience completely changed my life. Most recently, I finished as the runner up on “The Great Soul Food Cookoff”, produced by the Oprah Winfrey Network. I am currently writing my first cookbook, published by Chronicle Books ( due out in Spring 2022), I also teach at the Institute of Culinary Education here in NYC, and I do TV work for Epicurious, Bon Appetit, Tostitos, Wisconsin Cheese, NFL Sports, Omaha Steaks and other major companies.
If you've ever visited any of my 3 restaurants, and soon to be 4, then you'll understand what I mean when I say that my kitchen table is the most important thing. Nothing else has the ability to bring individuals together to listen and be heard. A place where we can pass along our wisdom from one generation to the next, and where we can "feed" the people with love.