Just when we thought spending a day in Chelsea couldn’t get any better, there’s a new event about to make all our foodie dreams come true. City Flavors–A Taste of Local Bites, featuring 20 emerging food entrepreneurs debuting savory treats, vegan temptations, soul food hors-d’oeuvres and sinful desserts, descends on the High Line, July 23.
Organized by the Food Working Group of the Fund for Public Housing, the event is a fundraiser to help graduates of the Food Business Pathways (FBP), all of whom are residents of New York City Public Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings, launch and grow their businesses.
The intensive 11-week FBP program provides selected NYCHA residents with free licenses and permits, group and one-one business coaching, and assistance to secure space in an incubator or commercial kitchen to operate their business. Since its 2015 founding, 205 residents have graduated from the program, creating 150 food businesses.
Bronx-based, Cornel Robinson is one of those graduates. He began cooking as a young boy in Jamaica. After immigrating to the U.S., Robinson began catering events within his church community but while cooking came naturally to him, he wasn’t sure how to operate a business in the city. He used the skills he learned through FBP to launch Cornel’s Catering Co., where he caters weddings, social special events and corporate functions.
During the City Flavors event, Robinson will be working with Ham El-Waylly from ESQuared Hospitality to prepare a summer corn medley in romaine cups. Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts (NGI) students and established chefs from restaurants across the city are pairing with City Flavors participants to help at the tasting event.
Founded in 1977, Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts provides plant-based, health-focused culinary education. The student volunteers at City Flavors are part of the school’s Chef’s Training Program, which trains students to meet the demand for culinary professionals who make the connection between food and health.
“As a culinary school based in New York City, we are delighted to align with the Fund for Public Housing and support the City Flavors event,” Jonathan Cetnarski, CEO of NGI, one of the sponsors of the event said. “The organization’s’ commitment to creating opportunities for New Yorkers who live in public housing to thrive resonates with NGI’s mission to empower chefs, home cooks, and communities to achieve well-being. We’re looking forward to supporting the City Flavors event and helping the aspiring chefs find new pathways for starting food businesses.”
The mentors, who will assist their mentees at City Flavors stations include: Clark Wolf, specialty food expert, TV and radio host; Andrew Tarlow, owner of Diner, Marlow & Sons, Reynard, Roman’s, and Achilles Heel; Bill Telepan, executive chef of Oceana; Ariane Daguin, chef and founder of D’Artagnan; James Kent, former executive chef of Nomad; Ardenia Brown, owner of Buttermilk Market and personal chef to Questlove; Jessica Weiss, pastry chef for four of Union Square Hospitality Group’s restaurants; Danny Lee, executive chef of Burger & Lobster; Jason Hicks, chef /owner of Jones Wood Foundry and The Shakespeare; Saul Bolton, executive chef of The Norm, and McKenzie Foster and Marco Lanuto, chefs / owners of FryGuys.
“I am excited about being able to tap into the experience of an established chef for help preparing for the event and even more excited about the opportunity to share Grace Kelli Cupcakes with a new audience,“ said Sandra Mathias, an FBP graduate and the chef and owner of Grace Kelli Cupcakes based on Staten Island.
Along with the local bites showcased at City Flavors, there will be beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages, from Tito’s Vodka, Queen’s Courage Gin, David Bowler Wine, Doc Herson’s Spirits, Gus Grown-Up Soda, Spice Grove Roselle and Sound Spark Tea.
Tickets are on sale now and we have a feeling they’re going to go fast so snag them while you can.