PUBLISHED JUNE 20, 2016
Summer has officially arrived! While many people are under the impression that they need to book a flight and escape the city to enjoy the season, it’s totally possible to have a super #lit summer without even leaving Harlem. Whether you’re a lover of live music who frequents music festivals, a workout enthusiast looking to get involved in local fitness activities, a bruncher who’s always in search of a good boozy brunch, or a cultured individual who is into checking out art exhibits; the neighborhood has a little bit of something to offer for everyone. I’ve rounded up a list of 100 things to do in Harlem this summer. Get out an experience all that Harlem has to offer and post your photos on social media using the hashtag #HarlemSummer100.
45. Attend a Black Chef Series event.
Originally posted on
By Chef Therese Nelson of Black Culinary History.
When I thought about what I wanted to contribute to this year’s Kwanzaa Culinarians collection I knew immediately that I wanted to talk about Ujimaa. Its a favorite principal of mine because it suggests that if we recognize the stake we each have in our collective success then collaboration, resource sharing, and fellowship become natural, and the resulting work becomes exponentially more powerful.
This year we have seen phenomenal work from around the globe that has shifted the culinary zeitgeist in a game changing way. From culinary scholarship to crowd sourced culinary brands emerging, 2015 has given us so much to be proud of. The following is a year in review that highlights some of the best parts of the sea change we’ve seen in the world of black foodways.
The Black Chef Series over the summer hosted by Blujeen restaurant showcased black chefs from all over the globe. The series was a brilliant idea and some very cool chefs, from the organizing Chefs Lance Knowling, Maxcel Hardy and Alize Bea to the one of my favorites Chef Hugh Sinclair, better know as Chef Irie of Taste the Islands, all did very good work, but the scene was completely stolen by my SisterChef Chef Elle Simone ofSheChef as the sole female chef in the line up. Not only did she scorch the earth with her gorgeous cuisine, she staffed her kitchen with a dynamic lineup of women chefs from across the country. Follow this link to watch her story and see how she turned that dinner out!
Originally posted on
The initiative will also bring awareness and funds to fight hunger in NYC.
By Dorkys Ramos
Posted: 07/15/2015 04:34 PM EDT
There are so many hidden talents in the kitchen, and a new Harlem-based initiative is hoping to smoke them out. With the inaugural Black Chef Summer Series, the executive chef of Harlem’s Blujeen restaurant,Lance Knowling, and celebrity chef Maxcel Hardy hope to shine a spotlight on those secret culinary gems.
“Success for this event is giving the opportunity to open the door to other African-American chefs, to show their talent,” Chef Hardy said.
“It’s not difficult for African-Americans to break into the culinary world. It’s hard to excel,” Chef Knowling said. "There’s a tendency to say if you’re Black, you can’t cook classical cuisine."
Over the next nine weeks, a new chef will be throwing down in the Blujeen kitchen, giving patrons a taste of his or her best dishes and delivering ways to put a healthier spin on some classic African-American dishes. The menu will be $65 prix fixe with a cocktail included and available Monday evenings at 6 p.m. and at 9 p.m.
The Black Chef Summer Series will also bring awareness to hunger issues by donating 15 percent of its proceeds to the Food Bank for New York City. To learn more about the initiative, visit blackchefseries.com.
Originally posted on
It is no secret that Harlem is home to some of the best restaurants in the country and each Monday through the end of August, black chefs from around the country will present their diverse talents and palates as part of the Black Chef Summer Series.
Joining the line-up on August 10 is chef and food stylist Elle Simone Scott. The Detroit native followed her culinary dreams to the New York five years ago and has since built an impressive resume that extends from freelancing at the Food Network, being the culinary producer for season two of Bravo’s “Chef Roblé & Co” and contributing her culinary talents to “The Chew,” “The Kate Couric Show” and The Cooking Channel.
Although New York is where Scott is making things happen, her heart is never too far away from her hometown. “Nobody reps Detroit harder than me. I am a 313 girl all day,” says Scott about representing the city during her upcoming Black Chef Series dinner. Scott is just one of several talented chefs selected to curate a culinary experience that tells their story as a chef and their journey to where they are now.
For Scott, her story starts in the city known for its musical influence and automobile production. It is a city that many say is often misunderstood buts still holds on to its greatness. Prior to moving to New York, Scott worked as a social worker and would cook in restaurants at night to get rid of stress. When the agency she worked for lost its funding, she jumped at the opportunity to be in the kitchen full-time by taking a position as a chef with Norwegian Cruise Line for two years.
Anyone looking to make it in New York knows that you can’t make it off of talent alone. But with time, the right connections, the tenacity to succeed and, for Scott faith, it can happen. “I was on a culinary quest. Cooking has always been a thing for me. It is my only natural talent. I can’t sing, I can’t dance but I can always cook,” laughs Scott who arrived in New York in 2010 to attend school.
She attended a trade school which built a partnership with the Food Network. This led to a nine month internship working in the test kitchen for the magazine as well as on the production side. Her work would be recognized and she would later be brought on a freelancer.
Along the way, Scott met celebrity chef and “The Chew” host Carla Hall who is one of her mentors. The two are working on a culinary theater production which Scott is excited about with more details to come. With an opportunity to also give back, Scott startedSheChef, a mentoring program for females looking to build a career in the culinary industry. Scott works with mentees as young as high school students all the way to those who are starting their business. Through the program, they will receive hands on experience as well as internship and job placement opportunities. In the future, Scott is looking to expand and establish chapters in other cities.
Putting what she likes to say a twist on classic dishes she grew up with, guests at her upcoming dinner are in for a little more than Detroit meets New York. “My menu will feature my gourmet soul food style but each dish will represent a neighborhood, a back story of my life growing up in Detroit. The whole menu, everything is about my life. Why I think of food the way that I think of it, the way I feel about it. Influences that I had growing up in the city,” says Scott.
Giving a preview into the night, she shares that the first course will be an amuse-bouche of a Black-Eyed Pea Beignet with Cajun Powered Sugar and a Black-Eyed Pea Confit. Scott says she calls this Black Bottom named after the once predominantly black neighborhood in Detroit that was her family’s first introduction into northern living.
The second course will be Matzo Ball Soup and Pot Liquor with a Collard Green Pesto. This dish symbolizes the fusion created when Scott’s grandparents along with two other black families first integrated into a Jewish neighborhood. You’ll have to be there to find out what is on the rest of the menu.
For Scott, food is all about family, the community and the communal experience of sharing. Guests will become a part of this as they taste her story unfold. Tickets are still available for $65 and include a specialty cocktail of the evening. The Black Chef Series will be held at the BluJeen restaurant located at 2143 Frederick Douglas Blvd with seatings from 6-8 pm and 9-11 pm. To purchase tickets, click here.
The series was founded by chefs Lance Knowling and Maxcel Hardy along with Alize Beal. 15% of the proceeds from the night will go to the charity of the featured chef’s choice. For more information, visit www.blackchefseries.com.
Originally posted on
September 10, 2015 – As summer comes to an end, so too does the Black Chef Summer Series, co-founded by our Culinary Ambassador Chef Max Hardy. African-American chefs from across the country showcased their culinary point of view at BluJeen restaurant every Monday this summer, giving Harlem residents an amazing menu of delicious dishes.
The event, which benefitted Food Bank For New York City, helped raised awareness of hunger in our city. Thank you to everyone who helped make the weekly event such a success!
Originally posted on
Have you heard? Bluejeen restaurant on Frederick Douglass Boulevard is presenting the 1st Annual Black Chef Summer Series in Harlem, hosted by Blujeen Chef and Food Network’s former Extreme Chef Lance Knowling, and Celebrity Chef Maxcel Hardy. This event runs from July 13th-September 7th, and will be benefiting Food Bank for New York City. They are bringing in talented chefs from across the country to take part in this unique culinary event, including Hugh Sinclair (Florida), Chef Kenneth Collins (Born in Texas), Chef James Robinson (raised in Harlem), Chef Russell Jackson (Los Angeles), Mike Valli (Atlanta), and Elle Simone Scott (Detroit Native & Brooklyn transplant.) 10 percent of proceeds will go to the Food Bank for New York City and a charity of the Chef’s choosing.
NYC Black Chef Summer Series
2143 Frederick Douglass Blvd (bet. 115 & 116 st.)
New York, NY 10026
Date: July 6th- August 31st ( Every Monday)
Seatings: 6-8pm and 9-11pm
Price: $65 + Tax/Gratuity includes signature cocktail of the evening
Originally posted on Madame Noire
July 14, 2015 ‐ By Tonya Garcia
The first ever Black Chef Summer Series kicked off Monday night at Harlem’s BluJeen restaurant with Sake cocktails, smoked pork belly and a chili-rubbed petite sirloin, and apple fritters for dessert. The meal included even more than what’s listed here and was prepared by the series’ co-founders celebrity chef Maxcel Hardy and BluJeen executive chef Lance Knowling (Alize Beal is the third founder of the now annual event). This served as an introduction to what guests will be getting over the next nine Mondays in the restaurant’s dining room.
The Black Chef Summer Series aims to shine a spotlight on the culinary talents and creativity of modern Black chefs. Each week will welcome a new guest chef into the kitchen. Other participants include Kenneth Collins, James Robinson and Russell Jackson. Moreover, 15 percent of the proceeds will go to the Food Bank for New York City, the organization for which Chef Hardy serves as culinary ambassador. All of the proceeds from last night’s event went to the organization. There will be two seatings each Monday at 6pm and 9pm and the $65 pre fixe includes the signature cocktail of the evening.
From Chef Hardy’s perspective, there needs to be more exposure in order to increase the number of Black chefs running and working in the nation’s restaurants. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics information provided by Beal, there was a three percent increase in the number of US Black chefs. It’s a small percentage, but an increase is a move in a positive direction.
“Success for this event is giving the opportunity to open the door to other African-American chefs, to show their talent,” said Chef Hardy.
“It’s not difficult for African Americans to break into the culinary world. It’s hard to excel,” added Chef Knowling. “There’s a tendency to say if you’re Black you can’t cook classical cuisine.”
That doesn’t mean everyone needs to know how to prepare the classics or work in fine dining. But it is still a hurdle to overcome in the industry. Putting other kinds of talent on display is a goal here.
“It doesn’t mean African Americans haven’t had success in the culinary world. It’s about Black chefs getting more notice,” Chef Knowling added.
It’s also a chance to showcase some of the healthier ways that soul food can be prepared. With more Americans paying attention to their diets, foods that are high in fat, calories and cholesterol are falling out of favor.
“Some of the items that we have are great. Collard greens, for instance,” said Chef Hardy. “We want to raise awareness about some of these ingredients.”
Finally, the event is a chance to raise awareness about the pervasiveness of hunger in New York City, a place known for wealth and plenty. Right across the street, the Food Bank has a soup kitchen where Chef Hardy, who also has his own charitable group called One Chef Can 86 Hunger, has served as a consultant.
“We live in a foodie world. Chefs wield a lot of influences with the masses,” said Margarette Purvis, president and CEO of the Food Bank of New York City.
In a city where life is so expensive, there are 1.5 million people who have problems putting food on the table, including families and seniors. Driving attention on this issue is of critical importance. Action is just as important.
“Use yourself. Use your voice, your connections,” said Purvis, who added that we first need to acknowledge that hunger and food insecurity exist. Then spread the word and use everyday activities to collect a little extra in resources to help those in need.
“We need more people to take it seriously and get involved,” Purvis said.
Originally posted on Black Enterprise
Calling all NYC-area foodies. The Black Chef Summer Series, founded by Chef Lance Knowling, Chef Maxcel Hardy, and Alize Beal is taking place at BluJeen Restaurant in Harlem, New York, from July 13 – Sept. 7.
The nine-week series highlights extraordinary African American chefs with diverse and distinctive palates and skill sets. Beyond the opportunity to discover the cultural flavors of Harlem, guests have an opportunity to explore multiple courses and a signature cocktail. The Black Chef Summer Series will complement each magical and tasteful evening with 10% of proceeds going to both the Food Bank For New York City, and a charity of the chef’s choosing.
“Our guests can expect to indulge in delicious food, great people, and amazing wine. You will have the opportunity to meet and converse with influential professionals during the communal style dining experience. You get to build business and personal networks, so bring a lot of business cards,” says Co-Founder Beal.
Check out a snapshot of the featured chefs:
Chef James Robinson
As founder of Kitchen Cray, Robinson is committed to the community and creating accessible culinary experiences. In addition to private dining experiences, events and celebrity private chef services, he’s committed to making five-star dining an accessible and personal experience while utilizing his craft to teach underprivileged youth about healthy eating and open their eyes to a career in culinary arts.
Chef Kenneth Collins
Born in Texas, Chef Kenneth Collins, of Chef Collins, has had success throughout the country. In Dallas, his cooking earned four stars for both Café Royale and Enjolie; following his time in Dallas three stars were awarded to his Hartford, Connecticut, restaurant, The Savannah. After The Savannah, his success continued in Tenafly, New Jersey, with America Bar and Restaurant, followed by New York City restaurants Ida Mae, and Smoke and Tour Restaurant & Catering.
Chef Russell Jackson
Jackson, who hails from Los Angeles, will be serving up innovation. Having four restaurants launched under his belt coupled with a stint in Food Network Kitchens, Jackson remains active in the New York and San Francisco food scenes. SubCulture Dining is now a bi-coastal affair with a robust schedule and an ambitious agenda.
Elle Simone Scott. Scott, a Detroit native and Brooklyn transplant, is a culinary maverick. Always drawn to creative food culture, Scott has been dazzling the culinary world since 2006, quickly becoming a highly sought after freelance food stylist and culinary producer. Scott has collaborated and contributed her unique styling abilities to Food Network, Food Network Magazine, The Cooking Channel, The Katie Couric Show, CBS Corp., ABC’s The Chew, and Bravo’s Chef Roble and Co. With a focus on beautiful and tasty dishes, Scott transcends the traditional role of a chef, working to share her gift and tell a story through food.
Culinary enthusiast Chef Richard Ingraham was born and raised in Miami. In 2005, he was offered what is now his current position as private chef for Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade. He is responsible for the nutritional diet that keeps the star fit, toned, and healthy on and off the court.
To purchase tickets, visit Eventbrite.