Tris Pies

Owned and operated by Tristan Trowers, Tris Pies is a small operation based in the Bronx. Tristan bakes his famous pies right at home in his kitchen.

Due to popular demand from friends and family, Tristan launched his online business in 2019. During the pandemic, he baked pies for hospital workers. His delicious pies, which can now be shipped nation-wide,
have quickly grown in popularity!

Featured Pie provided by Tris Pies
on Wednesday, June 7th, 2023:

Mini Sweet Potato Pie

Photos courtesy of Tris Pies

Tris Pies

Baked in The Bronx

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HONORING BLACK LIVES MATTER MONTH
AND SOUL FOOD MONTH

By Great Performances

As we honor both Black Lives Matter Month and Soul Food Month, it is important to acknowledge the significant contributions of Black chefs and restaurant owners to the culinary world. From traditional Southern dishes to unique and creative fusion cuisine, Black chefs and restaurant owners have brought immense talent and creativity to the industry. We are honored to partner with Black chefs and restaurant owners who have made an impact on the culinary scene, both locally and nationally.

Join us as we celebrate their achievements, cultural heritage, and culinary mastery this month and every month.

Recent and Ongoing Collaborations Include:

People's Kitchen

Tris Pies

People’s Kitchen partners with Tris Pies to bring our guests pies baked by Tristan Trowers right in the Bronx!

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CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH By Great Performances February marks Black History Month, an annual American initiative designed to bring awareness and recognition of the achievements

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People’s Kitchen partners with Branch Patty to bring our guests local, Jamaican-style patties by the Branch family.

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Jumieka NYC

Chef Kemis Lawrence

Chef Kemis has worked with the top Caribbean restaurants in NYC, such as Miss Lily’s, Caribbean Social, Negril Village
and more! His latest restaurant project, Jumieka NYC,
embodies the best of his culinary experiences and
is wholly family owned and operated.

A delectable menu curated by the iconic Caribbean chef, Kemis Lawrence. Our menu offers a taste of traditional Caribbean specialties with a modern twist, like our Jerkito Burrito and Coconut Rum Punch. Come try it for yourself and enjoy an experience that transports you to Jamaica with every bite.

Exclusive Item created by Chef Kemis Lawrence
on Thursday, December 29th:

Pepper Pot Soup

Photos courtesy of Jumieka NYC

Jumieka NYC at The Hugh

157 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022

www.jumiekanyc.com

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Charles Pan-Fried Chicken

Chef Charles Gabriel inside his first brick and mortar
Chef Charles Gabriel in front of his new Harlem location

Charles Gabriel was born October 12, 1947 near Charlotte, North Carolina. He was one of twelve brothers and eight sisters. His parents were sharecroppers. The family – including Charles from the age of six – picked cotton from 6am to 6pm on a nearby plantation. In the evening, his mother would cook for the entire family. In his mother’s kitchen, Charles learned to prepare the food we all enjoy today.

At seventeen, Charles moved to New York City to work for an older brother who had opened a restaurant on the Upper West Side. A few years later, he began working at the legendary Copeland’s Restaurant in Hamilton Heights where he stayed for over twenty years rising to the position of head cook.

By the mid 1980’s, Charles decided to go off on his own. He started cooking out of his Harlem apartment, putting a folding table in front of his building to serve his first customers. One day, a woman asked Charles whether he wanted to buy her food truck. They agreed he would pay her $25 per week until the food truck was paid off. Charles ran his food truck for five years; building his reputation in Harlem and beyond.

Charles’s first brick and mortar restaurant was on 8th Avenue between 152nd and 153rd Streets. His “take out” spot was soon joined by his “breakfast” spot and his legendary “buffet.” He operated all three locations for over twenty years.

Now, in 2021, Charles is opening a new series of Charles Pan-Fried Chicken restaurants. He’s starting in Harlem and the Upper West Side and then, who knows.

Featured Entrée provided by Chef Charles Gabriel
on December 22nd, 2022:

Fried Chicken with Collard Greens and Mac & Cheese

Featured Entrée provided by Chef Charles Gabriel
on September 22nd, 2022:

Fried Chicken with Collard Greens and Mac & Cheese

Featured Entrée provided by Chef Charles Gabriel
on June 21st, 2022:

Fried Chicken with Collard Greens and Mac & Cheese

Photos courtesy of Charles Pan-Fried Chicken

Charles Pan-Fried Chicken

340 W 145th Street
146 West 72nd Street

www.charlespanfriedchicken.com

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Zanmi

Chef Wesly Jean Simon
Photo courtesy of Wesly

Chef Wesly Jean Simon was born and raised in Haiti until moving to the U.S. at the age of 14. He worked as executive chef for the Hard Rock Cafe Times Square for 15 years until deciding to branch out on his own. With the goal of helping his community and providing better presentation of Haitian cuisine, he decided to return to Haiti for six weeks to better understand the food. After working with butchers and rural cooks from his home country, he returned to the U.S. to open his restaurant, Zanmi, in February of 2020.

Named after the Kreyol word for “friends”, Zanmi has become the community spot that Wesly had hoped for; hosting Haitian movies nights on Monday, karaoke on Tuesdays and live music every Thursday through Sunday while also serving up signature dishes like pork griot with fried plantains, sausages and pikliz, djondjon rice, and voodoo pasta.

Featured Dish provided by Chef Wesly Jean Simon
on April 28th, 2022:

Spicy Braised Pork with Djondjon Rice, Collard Greens & Okra

Photos courtesy of Zanmi

Zanmi

1206 Nostrand Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11225

www.zanminyc.com

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CHEF INTERVIEW: AUZERAIS BELLAMY, BLONDERY

By Georgette Farkas

Have you had a culinary mentor, and if so, what is the most meaningful lesson learned from her/him?
All my past employers have mentored me. The most prominent was Pastry Chef Leena Hung at Wente vineyards in Livermore, California. At the time, I thought she was so tough, but I learned it was from a place of caring. I learned that “Yes, Chef” was the right response in the moment. When a hot tray is coming out of the oven, it’s not a time to question the chef. She enabled me to develop structure in my career. It’s carried me from my fine dining career through to my role as an entrepreneur.

Have there been unexpected twists or turns in your culinary life that have changed your career direction?
The biggest shift came when I was at Bouchon in Yountville. There was an earthquake that destroyed my apartment and prompted me to move to NYC. I was offered a lateral move to Bouchon at Rockefeller Center. While it was the same company, it made for a change of pace and scenery. It also made for a new challenge in terms of being a new boss overseeing a new team. I had really wanted to transfer to the kitchen at Per Se. When I hit a ceiling, that provided the impetus to make my move.

It ingrained into my being staying focused on my goal, no matter what. I had a craving to be my own boss, to formulate and execute my own ideas and also allow others to do so. I took the leap, not unlike other black people who have been making lemonade out of lemons for centuries. It’s just what we do naturally. In thinking about my own business, I saw a gap in two areas. Fine dining at home via subscription services lacked quality desserts. And there were not many women of color in leadership positions in the industry. I fused those two to create Blondery.

What is your first or favorite food memory?
It’s what inspired Blondery. A lady in my parent’s church in the Bay area brought us New Orleans style pecan pralines. It was as though I had tasted them before, even though I hadn’t. It tasted like love, butter, and pecans, unlike anything else. It was the inspiration for my pecan and slated caramel blondy.

What is your favorite dish to make at home for family or friends?
I love to make braised short ribs.  It’s a time intensive process. They fall off the bone and everyone loves them. My secret is blending dried shitake mushrooms and anchovy into my braising liquid for intense flavor.

When cooking at home, are there things you are willing to buy versus making yourself?
On my Instagram account I feature items I find at Whole Foods. Crispy Chili Crunch and spicy mayonnaise are great examples. Any type of high-quality condiment is worth spending money on.

Share your favorite drink pairing with your favorite Blondery item.
Malbeq with my Brooklyn Black Out Blondy. Demi Sec sparkling wine with my cinnamon sugar blondy.

How do you unwind from the pressures of the baking business?
I’m an avid reader, especially of self help books. Now, I’m reading  All About Love by bell hooks.

I love to play with my puppy, Caviar. I’ve also just re-started weight training, which isa great way to prepare for lifting heavy sacks of flour and sugar in the kitchen.

 

We’ve partnered with Auzerais to provide our guests with some of her incredibly unique blondies and brownies. Read more here.

CHEF INTERVIEW: JJ JOHNSON, FIELDTRIP

By Georgette Farkas

Founded in 2019 by Chef JJ Johnson, FIELDTRIP is a community-based dining experience that celebrates culture through the shared experience of rice. For us, rice is a journey to new parts of the globe. Our mantra, “Rice is Culture”, was born out of Chef JJ’s realization that rice connects us and can be found at the center of tables in almost every community. 

About JJ Johnson
JJ Johnson is a James Beard Award-winning chef and author best known for his barrier-breaking cuisine featured at his restaurant FIELDTRIP with locations in New York City. FIELDTRIP showcases sustainable ingredients with creative, heirloom rice dishes as the focal point of the menu and was featured as one of Esquire Magazine’s “Best New Restaurants” of 2020. JJ is also a television host on Just Eats with Chef JJ airing on TV One’s network Cleo TV for a fourth season.

Have you had a culinary mentor, and if so, what is the most meaningful lesson learned from her/him?
I’ve had a lot of different mentors over the course of my career. Right now, the two that come to mind are Ed Brown, CEO of Restaurant Associates, and Brian Ellis, Executive Chef and VP of Culinary at The Smith. Brian taught me that people come for the food. It’s my job to make sure it’s delicious every time. Ed taught me things don’t happen overnight. I have to trust the journey I’m on.

Have there been unexpected twists or turns in your culinary life that have changed your career direction?
Sure, but I don’t look at them like that. It’s all part of the process. I didn’t dream of opening a fast casual concept, but as you grow and develop in the industry you start to recognize your niche and you find the need. That’s what happened to me. Looking back, I can trace everything and see how it was leading me here.

What is your first or favorite food memory?
One of my first food memories is eating arroz con gandules with my Grandmom. My first vivid cooking memory is making lasagna for my aunt’s birthday. I burned it.

What is your favorite dish to make at home for family or friends?
My kids love steak. I like to make them bone-in ribeye in the cast iron. I extract all that flavor and I give the bone to my dog afterwards. I like to serve the steak with tomato seasoned rice, mashed potatoes and a salad with feta and red onions. When I’m cooking at home it’s all about seasonality and locality. This year I made fish for Thanksgiving because we were in Rhode Island. No matter what, we always have rice on the table.

Is there an ingredient that is your unsung hero in the kitchen?
Lemon zest. It brightens any dish. I put it on everything: sweet and savory.

When cooking at home, are there things you are willing to buy versus making yourself?
I’m always going to buy ketchup. Heinz!

Share your favorite drink pairing with your favorite FIELDTRIP menu item.
I pair Maison Marcel rosé with our salmon bowl. I love to have pineapple soda with the shrimp bowl and Enroot strawberry hibiscus tea goes great with the braised beef bowl. We also have a selection of sake available at FIELDTRIP Harlem.

How do you unwind from the pressures of the business?
I like to check in with myself and indulge in a little wellness. I work out. I get acupuncture. Anything to maintain a healthy mind and body.

CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH

By Great Performances

February marks Black History Month, an annual American initiative designed to bring awareness and recognition of the achievements made by African Americans along with their positive contributions to U.S. history.

At Great Performances, we’re committed to taking a stand against racism and promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion. As we make this part of our daily lives, it’s also important to give special consideration during the cultural and heritage months we celebrate and celebrate the diverse groups and individuals who have contributed to the richness of our world.

One of our programs for supporting talented chefs and restaurateurs while bringing the diversity and richness of NYCs food scene to our clients is through People’s Kitchen. This program brings the bounty of the city and its flavors from around the world into the cafes we operate. We form deep relationships with a variety of restaurants and chefs.

To celebrate Black History Month, we’ve invited some of our favorite Black chefs and Black-owned restaurants to our cafes, including Samuel Branch of Branch Patty, JJ Johnson of FIELDTRIP, Auzerais Bellamy of Blondery, and many more.

Georgette Farkas, Culinary Ambassador at Great Performances, spearheads our People’s Kitchen program. She sat down with some of our guest chefs to learn more about their food, their passion, and how they do it.

Tris Pies

People’s Kitchen partners with Tris Pies to bring our guests pies baked by Tristan Trowers right in the Bronx!

Read More »

Jumieka NYC

People’s Kitchen partners with Jumieka NYC to bring our guests Caribbean specialties with a modern twist by Chef Kemis Lawrence.

Read More »

Zanmi

People’s Kitchen partners with Zanmi to bring our guests Haitian dishes with a modern twist by Chef Wesly Jean Simon.

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CHEF INTERVIEW: SAMUEL BRANCH, BRANCH PATTY

By Georgette Farkas

Delivering Jamaican Patties Handmade with Sustainable Ingredients – Branch Patty

Established in 2013, Branch Patty is a family-owned business specialized in the art of making Jamaican-style patties. As a Caribbean child, Samuel Branch grew up with a love of patties. He perfected his recipes and technique through his skill and perseverance as a professional chef. Branch Patty was re-launched in 2017 with his wife Lisa. Together they emphasize serving kindness and integrity as their primary ingredients. They don’t believe in serving anything they wouldn’t feed their own children! Branch patties are produced by hand in small batches. Samuel and Lisa look forward to serving you the “Branch Patty Experience.”

Have there been unexpected twists or turns in your culinary life that have changed your career direction?
By the time I had my second daughter I had been working in restaurants for a few years and wanted to change paths. I started a private chef company in 2010. In the meantime, a 2009 New York Times article inspired me with reporting on the Brooklyn food movement, but the movement wasn’t yet focusing on the borough’s diversity, particularly my Caribbean community.  I wanted to cook food that represented my own heritage. For Smorgasburg I created a stand specializing in a typically Barbadian fish sandwich. I also looked around and saw no one was making patties. I proposed the idea, arranged a tasting and launched my patties there in 2014.

I didn’t create my current brand until 2017 when my wife Lisa joined me, and it became a family affair. We moved to the weekend market at Artists & Fleas to make a fresh start. We started with beef, chicken and one veggie patty and added a vegan version. Now vegetable patties are now a main focus for us. We loved being right in front of customers at the market. The pandemic shutdown led to our current direct to customer model. Now, we would love to get back in front of our customers when the opportunity arises.

What is your first or favorite food memory?
I was born in America but raised in Barbados and grew up loving the ocean. On the beach back home we ate all the time at “Cuz Fish Shack”, a local spot passed down from father to son. They made just one thing, a “Cutter” sandwich. They made it with mahi mahi or blue marlin, marinated in a green seasoning like a sofrito and then pan fried in a cast iron skillet. It was served on a bread roll, we call “salt bread”, like a soft Portuguese roll topped with the fish, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese, hot sauce and condiments. Everything about it was wrong from a professional chef perspective, but it all worked brilliantly. This memory had receded, but it refocused me on my Caribbean heritage. It became the sandwich I made for my Smorgasburg launch. I actually went back to Barbados to meet with Cuz’s son to re-taste and learn the sandwich.

What is your favorite dish to make at home for family or friends?
Oxtail stew with a dark, thick gravy. The oldest of my three daughters loves it.  It would by my last supper.

Is there an ingredient that is your unsung hero in the kitchen?
Fresh thyme. It relates to my first food memory. We grew it in our yard at home in Barbados. My aunt cooked with it at home. My formal culinary school training only reinforced that. You’ll also definitely find it my patties.

When cooking at home, are there things you are willing to buy versus making yourself?
Brown rice is something we used to make a lot at home.  It takes a while to cook.  During the pandemic my wife discovered cooked brown rice sold frozen at Trader Joe’s. It’s a big time saver and healthy.  

I would also buy pasta sauce for dinner at home for my three daughters

Share your favorite drink pairing with your favorite Branch Patty menu item.
I love ginger beer on its own or mixed in a cocktail. I suggest plain ginger beer with a beef patty.

Sorrel is a Caribbean hibiscus-based drink made with cinnamon and cloves. It’s delicious with our seasonal greens patty.

How do you unwind from the pressures of your baking business?
During the last five years I’ve started training in martial arts, specifically jiu jitsu. I practice five days per week, early morning before I start work. It’s the time I need to keep in focus and in shape. When my first business folded, I became so frustrated and felt such a loss. The physical activity gave me something positive to focus on.