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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.

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