Fri, Oct 21|
Stony Island Arts Bank
Ghetto Gastro Presents Black Power Kitchen
Join Ghetto Gastro for an evening celebrating the launch of their book Black Power Kitchen at the Stony Island Arts Bank!
Time & Location
Oct 21, 2022, 5:00 PM CDT – Oct 22, 2022, 8:00 PM CDT
Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S Stony Is Ave, Chicago, IL 60649, USA
About the event
Ghetto Gastro Presents Black Power Kitchen by Jon Gray, Pierre Serrao, and Lester Walker with Osayi Endolyn
Join Ghetto Gastro for an evening celebrating the launch of their book Black Power Kitchen. Black Power Kitchen is the first cookbook from Ghetto Gastro, a culinary collective that uses food as a platform to spark conversation about larger issues surrounding inclusion, race, access, and how food—and knowing how to cook—provides freedom and power.
We are thrilled to honor the launch of this project at the Stony Island Arts Bank, and we invite you to celebrate with us! The Ghetto Gastro Black Power Cookbook Chicago launch party is co-presented by Anthony Gallery and Rebuild Foundation in celebration of the cookbook and the final weekend of "What It Could Be," Anthony Gallery’s current exhibition at the Stony Island Arts Bank, co-curated by A.J. Girard and Easy Otabor.
“Described as Joy of Cooking meets The Bible, Ghetto Gastro’s Black Power Kitchen is like nothing you’ve ever read before” (Financial Times). Part cookbook, part manifesto, this first book from the Bronx-based culinary collective combines 75 flavor-focused, mostly plant-based recipes with immersive storytelling, diverse voices, and striking images that celebrate Black food and Black culture, and inspire larger conversations about race, history, food inequality, and how eating well can be a pathway to personal freedom and self-empowerment.
Written with James Beard Award-winning writer Osayi Endolyn, Black Power Kitchen does for the cookbook what Ghetto Gastro has been doing for the food world in general: disrupt, expand, reinvent, and stamp it with their unique point of view. Ghetto Gastro sits at the intersection of food, music, fashion, visual arts, and social activism. They’ve partnered with Nike and Beats by Dre, designed cookware sold through Williams-Sonoma and Target, and won a Future of Gastronomy award from the World’s 50 Best.
Now they bring their multidisciplinary approach to a cookbook, with nourishing recipes that are layered with waves of crunch, heat, flavor, and umami. They are born of the authors’ cultural heritage and travels—from riffs on family dishes like Strong Back Stew and memories of Uptown with Red Velvet Cake to neighborhood icons like Triboro Tres Leches and Chopped Stease (their take on the classic bodega chopped cheese) to recipes redolent of the African diaspora like Banana Leaf Fish and King Jaffe Jollof. All made with Ghetto Gastro’s signature sense of swag.”
The Ghetto Gastro Black Power Kitchen Book Tour, powered by Discord
Ghetto Gastro is the Bronx-born culinary collective from Jon Gray, Pierre Serrao, and Lester Walker. The group has notably defined its own lane, merging food, fashion, music, art, and design. Claiming both the beauty and grit from the streets with the aspiration and aesthetics of the finer things, Ghetto Gastro’s interdisciplinary approach celebrates the Bronx as a driver of global culture. The crew masterfully blends influences from the African diaspora, Global South ingredients, and the pulse of hip hop to create offerings that address race, identity, and economic empowerment.
Since launching in 2012, Ghetto Gastro has gone from hosting underground parties to spearheading large-scale brand campaigns and events with leading fashion designers, artists, and entrepreneurs. Their collaborators and partners include figures like Virgil Abloh, Nike, Cartier, the Serpentine, the Museum of Modern Art, and many more.
During the onset of the pandemic in 2020, Ghetto Gastro prioritized Bronx grassroots initiatives and mutual aid. In recognition for feeding their community, the group was nominated for the Basque Culinary World Prize. In 2021, Ghetto Gastro launched its namesake consumer goods brand of pantry items inspired by ancestral ingredients. The collective released a custom line of kitchen appliances, CRUXGG, across Target stores nationwide, and recently launched their cookware line with Williams Sonoma. Black Power Kitchen is their first cookbook.
Jon Gray is cofounder of Ghetto Gastro. He aims to shift social narratives by celebrating the culinary, blending a background in fashion to create immersive experiences, product design, and unique storytelling.
From Co-op City, Gray’s mother and grandmother taught him about the arts and challenged him to innovate as a way of life. When a rebellious adolescence almost put him behind bars, Gray used the experience to imagine a greater vision for himself. Inventorying his passions and pastimes, he made Bronx-driven gastro-diplomacy his career and mission.
In 2019, Gray delivered the TED Talk “The Next Big Thing Is Coming from the Bronx, Again.” Gray is a Civic Practice Partnership Artist in Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2021, he served as guest curator at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, where “Jon Gray of Ghetto Gastro Selects” featured an Afrofuturist theme.
Pierre Serrao is chef and cofounder of Ghetto Gastro. Serrao uses food as both an expression of culture-driven creativity and a tool to create health sovereignty. Raised between Barbados and Connecticut, Serrao worked in restaurants throughout high school, then graduated from culinary school and the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners in Piemonte. He worked at award-winning restaurants in New York, Barbados, and Italy, styling an approach to cooking influenced by ancestral practices and innovation.
The desire to create a culturally sound and iterative expression of food led Serrao to join forces with Jon Gray and Lester Walker, rounding out Ghetto Gastro. Fueled by international travel, enthusiasm for learning, and sheer curiosity, Serrao explores ways to bridge the global pantry with creative entrepreneurship.
Lester Walker is chef and co-founder of Ghetto Gastro. Walker brings unrelenting imagination, competition-ready technique, and skill at layering flavors to Ghetto Gastro’s iconic events, offerings, and storytelling.
A native of the Bronx’s Co-op City, Walker discovered cooking at a pivotal moment in his teen years. New York City’s Careers Through Culinary Arts Program inspired him to pursue a career in food. Spurred by the speed, focus, and creativity of cooking, Walker worked up the fine-dining line in award-winning kitchens in New York, Washington, D.C., and Miami.
Walker’s cooking merges the roots of NYC-based Black American foodways with the cuisines he studied professionally: French, Italian, Indian, and Southeast Asian. In 2012, he won Chopped on the Food Network. That same year, seeking ways to explore historic and modern Black culture through food, he partnered with Jon Gray, fellow Co-op City native, to launch Ghetto Gastro. With GhettoGastro, Walker aims to create art by intentionally pairing food with ideas that represent and celebrate where he comes from.
Osayi Endolyn is a James Beard Award-winning writer and storyteller on food culture. A consultant, producer, and cultural commentator, her approach explores the nexus of food and identity. Her work is featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Time, Eater, Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, the Wall Street Journal, and the Oxford American. Her celebrated essays appear in the collections Black Food, Women on Food, and You and I Eat the Same. Osayi’s commentary is featured on the Sporkful podcast, Netflix's Chef’s Table and Ugly Delicious, and Hulu's The Next Thing You Eat. With Marcus Samuelsson she wrote the bestseller The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food. Her own narrative on American restaurants and dining culture is forthcoming.