Category Archives: Culinary

BLACK Cuisine: Restaurant Secrets Putting Your Health at Risk

When you’re dining out, the last thing on your mind is the safety of your food. But after learning these industry secrets, it might become the first thing you consider. Learn what you can do to ensure that your dining experience is just as safe as it is delicious.


Secret: You’re More at Risk for Food Poisoning After 8 p.m.

Although it can feel sophisticated to dine out later, the closer you get to closing time, the more likely you are to get a compromised meal because the ingredients were prepped hours before, giving bacteria plenty of time to multiply. Additionally, the kitchen may not be in ideal condition as your meal is prepared. The fryers have accumulated the build-up of an entire night’s service, plus the oil isn’t fresh anymore. Instead of making your food crispy, the grease just soaks into your food. Plus, the kitchen is in cleanup mode, so your dish could be being prepared next to a station that’s getting cleaned, risking contamination from the spray solution.

If you’re going to dine late, try to order something that’s grilled, broiled or boiled. You want to get something that’s cooked (as opposed to something served raw, like salad) so there’s a greater chance of killing off any dangerous bacteria.

Secret: Menus Can Be Dirtier Than Toilet Seats

Menus are rarely properly cleaned, and every person who comes through a restaurant touches them. A recent test by The Dr. Oz Show uncovered 7 out of 7 sample menus from restaurants in the New York City area were covered in bacteria, including fecal bacteria like E.coli and pneumonia-causing streptococcus.

Grip the menu by the top corners instead of holding it by the bottom. Most people hold the menu by the lower half, so you’ll be minimizing your exposure to bacteria.

Secret: If the Music Is Loud, You’re Going to Overeat

The louder the tunes, the more energy you’ll feel—meaning you’ll eat and leave quicker, resulting in a higher profit for the restaurant. The problem is that because you’re eating so quickly, you don’t have time to realize you’re full. Often, this results in over-ordering and overeating.

Don’t give your full order up front; instead, order each course separately. When you control the experience, you’ll eat slower and eat less.

Secret: Always Pack the Leftovers Yourself

When you give your half-finished dinner to your server to have it boxed up, remember, there’s no special “leftover boxing-up station.” Your plate is left in the kitchen next to dirty dishes and garbage. Your roll could land on the floor and then could be put back on your plate. Additionally, you have no idea how your food will get into your leftover container; it could be with someone’s bare hands that have just wiped down a table.

Always ask for the to-go container yourself and pack your leftovers at the table.

Courtesy of


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BLACK Cuisine: Les Ambassades

A couple of Sundays ago two colleagues, a neighborhood friend, myself and three children age ranging from 3 to 11 arrived at Les Ambassades in Harlem, and boy was it a full house…. inside and out that is. We didn’t have a reservation or thought of making one, heck it’s a boulangerie!!!

The versatile, largely Senegalese kitchen crew slings recipes from France, North and West Africa, Vietnam, the Caribbean, and Italy, not to mention all-American omelettes, salads, and meat dishes.
Upon arrival we waited for what seemed to be an eternity to be seated. Waiting gave us the opportunity to scope the place out. The restaurant would’ve been cozy had it not been for so many tables in such tight quarters. As you enter to your left, an assortment of pastries is seen through a glass bar and behind the counter are the waiters and waitresses uniformed in black tee’s and black slacks, hustling through the many orders they had to ring up. The decor is warm and inviting with shades of oranges and browns. Paintings adorned the whole place beautifully.

Finally seated, adjacent to a large flat screen t.v slightly above the entrance door was a soccer game which took the attentions of both the employees and guests alike in place took longer to receive a menu. We were greeted by this young lady who was very polite and pleasant ready to take our orders. We ordered Grilled Salmon with Fried Plantains $13.50(with cucumbers & onion salsa served with warm potatoes & basmati rice(optional)) Grilled Tilapia with Fried Plantains $12.50, Hamburger Alibaba $9.oo ( grilled beef, melted cheese, fried egg, side of french fries served on a burger bun. with a side of french fries),Steak Au Poivre (Sirloin) $12.50, Sizzling Garlic Shrimp (served with rice) $12.50. All dishes I felt were proportionality sized with the price. The only negative, which turned out not to be a negative, was that my Salmon dish was underseasoned but with the combinations of salsa and plantains, gave the salmon the flavor it was lacking.

Everything we had was very good to the eyes, taste buds and our pockets which made our Sunday brunch a delight.

So if you like Senegalese cuisine or if you are unfamiliar and want to try something different here in Harlem check out Les Ambassades. Not recommended for small children or even large groups because seats are limited.
2200 8th Ave
(between 118th St & 119th St)
New York, NY 10026


Mon-Thu, 7am-2am; Fri, 7am-3am; Sat-Sun, 8am-3am


  • Breakfast
  • Brunch – Weekend
  • BYOB
  • Delivery
  • Great Desserts
  • Late-Night Dining
  • Lunch
  • Outdoor Dining
  • Smoking Area
  • Take-Out
  • Catering

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Remembering the “Queen of Soul Food” Sylvia Woods

Sylvia Woods, a New York City icon not only in the culinary world but to the Harlem community died Thursday afternoon at her Mount Vernon home, She was 86 and had been battling Alzheimer’s disease, family members said in a statement.

She died just as Mayor Bloomberg was paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of Sylvia’s at a gala reception at Gracie Mansion.
“We lost a legend today,” the mayor said.

Upon hearing the news, the Rev. Al Sharpton offered fond memories of the owner’s historical location. “Sylvia’s has been more than a restaurant, it has been a meeting place for black America,” he said.

Sylvia trained to become a beautician in New York and also ran a beauty shop in South Carolina. With a loan from her mother. Woods and late husband,Herbert deemed it fit to start their own restaurant business in 1962; which started as a 36 seat lunch counter. During the early 1990s the business expanded and now seats up to 450 people. It also has a catering business. Sylvia came out with her own line of soul food products ranging from sauces to cook books that are sold nationally.

“Ms. Woods was surrounded by a host of family and loved ones,” the statement from her family read. “The family is thankful for your prayers.”

In lieu of flowers, the family said it would appreciate donations to the Sylvia and Herbert Woods Scholarship Endowment Foundation,  in which the family created in 2001  which provides scholarships to Harlem children.

Funeral arrangements are still being finalized.

Our Prayers goes out to the Woods family.


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Courtesy of Wikipedia and


Posted by on July 19, 2012 in BLACK Cuisine, Culinary


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BLACK Cuisine: Tiramisu Cupcakes


Cupcake filling

  • 1 cup Mascarpone Cheese
  • 3 tablespoons Coffee Liqueur, such as Tia Maria or Kahlua
  • ¼ cup Sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 8-ounce Cool Whip


  • 1 18.25-ounce Box of white cake mix
  • ½ cup Confectioners’ sugar
  • ¾ cup Hot brewed coffee
  • 1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract


  • 1 8-ounce Package of Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ cup Unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • White Chocolate liqueur, such as Godiva
  • 2 cups Confectioners’ sugar
  • Dark Chocolate Shavings, for garnish


Cupcake filling
In a large bowl and using a handheld mixer set on medium speed, beat together the mascarpone, coffee liqueur, and condensed milk until smooth and blended. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the Cool Whip. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 6 hours.

Bake the cupcakes according to the cake mix package directions. Let cook on a wire cooling rack.

In a medium bowl, stir the confectioners’ sugar into the hot coffee until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the vanilla.frosting in a large bowl and using a handheld mixer set on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and butter for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Mix in the vanilla and chocolate liqueur. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar to the frosting until it reaches a spreadable consistency.
Using a fork, pierce the cupcakes several times and brush each one liberally with the sweetened coffee.
Spoon the mascarpone mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and inject small amounts directly into the center of each cupcake. The best way to do this is to insert the pastry tip into the top of the cupcake.
Using a spatula, frost the cupcakes liberally with the frosting and garnish with chocolate shavings.

Courtesy of “The Next Food Network Star” season 4 winner and host of “Big Daddy’s House” Aaron McCargo Jr “Simply Done, Well Done” cookbook.


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BLACK Cuisine: Macadamia Nut Crusted Salmon Stuffed w/ Shitake Mushrooms, Herbed Goat Cheese, Arugula and Lemon

6 ounce Salmon (fresh, skinned) – 2 thick pieces of salmon are ideal
1 tablespoon Pecorino cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Chopped Macadamia Nuts
1/2 cup Shitake Mushrooms (sliced)
2 cups Fresh Arugula
1 clove Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Granulated garlic powder
1 lemon (sliced into rings)
1 teaspoon Smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon Fresh dill, chopped
1 teaspoon Fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon Chipotle hot sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon White Wine
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Fresh lemon juice

Arugula Pesto:
1 cup Fresh Arugula
2 Tbs – Pecorino Cheese
1 Tbs – Pine Nuts
1/3 Cup Olive oil
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon Cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Take a 5-6 oz piece of fresh salmon (if frozen, please allow time to unthaw in the refrigerator) and use a paring knife to cut a 2 -3 inch deep slit into the salmon creating a pocket for the filling.
In a small mixing bowl combine your lemon juice, dill, garlic, hot sauce, mustard, pepper, and white wine. Place fish pieces in a dish and generously pour marinade over the fish. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes in refrigeration. Remember for more pronounced flavors, the salmon can sit overnight as well.
To make the pesto, Prepare an ice water bath in a large bowl, and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put the arugula in a large sieve and plunge it into the boiling water. Immediately immerse all the arugula and stir so that it blanches evenly. Blanch for about 15 seconds. Remove, shake off the excess water, then plunge the arugula into the ice water bath and stir again so it cools as fast as possible. Drain well.
Squeeze the water out of the arugula with your hands until very dry. Roughly chop the arugula and put in a blender. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste, olive oil, pine nuts, lemon, parsley to the blender. Blend for at least 30 seconds. In this way the green of the arugula will thoroughly color the oil. Add the cheese and pulse to combine. Stuff the seasoned salmon with the mushrooms, arugula, lemon and goat cheese. Top with the chopped macadamia nuts and broil in the oven on 450 degrees for approximately 15 minutes until golden and the salmon is firm yet moist. Depending on the intensity of your broiler, keep an eye out; you don’t want to burn the dish.
Serve with your pesto and lemon wedges garnish.

2 Servings

As seen on ABC 7 Chicago with “Next Food Network Star Season 8” contestant, Chef Judson Todd Allen. 


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BLACK Events: BCA 19th Annual Cultural Awareness Salute Dinner

On April 21st 2012, BCA celebrated their 19th Annual Cultural Awareness Salute Dinner at the beautiful Gustavino’s in Midtown Mahatten New York. The theme was “Leaning Forward” in which main focus was to highlight the efforts needed to impact future leaders of the foodservice industry.

Ricardo Gomez a Graduate of Career Academy of New York states: “I truly believe BCA is ‘a big brother’ looking out for opportunities that would otherwise not be accessible to culinary student professionals of color. I have been trying to think of another group or scenario wherein I would have had the same opportunities for training and career coaching with leaders of this industry without the BCA’s assistance….there is none!”

The BCA Dinner was like no other event in New York. This dinner not only included food and wine, but notable individuals who worked very hard to pave the way for people of color in the culinary world. As you enter Gustavino’s, the lower level was adorned with food for the cocktail hour. Savory Hor D’oeuvres were prepared by the students of Brooklyn Job Corps Academy, South Bronx Job Corp Academy, William E Grady Career, Technical Education High School, and Star Career Academy of NY. The food not only looked delectable but it tasted even better!

I couldn’t help but notice I was surrounded by such GREATNESS from General Manager of Food Network and The Cooking Channel Michael Smith, Reporter Of Fox 5 News Dan Bowens, Celebrity Wedding and Event Planner Marie Danielle Vil-Young, to Food Network stars Melba Wilson, and Ron Duprat just to name a few.

After cocktail hour was over, we proceeded to the upper dining room which was breathtaking with pastel color lighting. Food enthusiasts were taken by the well prepared three course meal which was complimented greatly with an array of delicious wine. First course consisted of Avion Tequila Glazed and Ginger Kissed Scallops with Southern Style Farro and Black Eye Pea Salad paired prepared By The Culinary Institute of America. Our Second meal prepared by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Dallas tickled our palettes with their Mediterranean Chicken Roulade with Citrus Drizzle, Apple Scented Baby Carrots and Basil Orzo. Lastly the Third dish was a scruptious Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Crumb Mushroom Hash and Spiced Haricot Verts prepared by the Culinary Program at FedCap.

I must say these students were taught well…which was why they too were being honored for their excellence and were given a BCA High Performance Award. Before all mentioned, Speaker/Author & Convergence Catalyst Crystal Langdon gave a tear jerking speech which had the guests giving her a standing ovation.

The night came to a close with BCA president and CEO Alex Askew with closing remarks, Viennese Dessert reception prepared by Johnson & Wales University, Brooklyn Job Corp Academy,South Bronx Job Corp Academy, Star Career Academy of NY, Culinary Institute of America, William E Grady Career, and Technical Education High School. Let’s not forget the live band who rocked the house down.

Again the BLACK STREET team would like to send our Condolences to Chef Alisia Brown loved ones. Gone but never forgotten for your mission was to bring ALL chef from all walks of life together. R.I.P

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TOP CHEF- Chef Ron Duprat

Irresistibly Delicious‐You must taste to experience Chef Ron Duprat’s remarkable cuisine. Then, you’re in the club, The “Now I Crave Chef Ron’s Cooking” club. Ron’s recipes will satisfy your every palette, whether it’s a simple chicken salad to a mouthwatering filet mignon. With the use of fresh ingredients, exotic spices and creativity, the Executive Chef and cookbook author turns the simplest dish into a decedent work of art.

Ron’s culinary journey began in Haiti in his grandmother’s kitchen. His passion led him to the states where he studied at the Culinary Institute of America. Now with over 20 years of experience, Ron has received many accolades including  distinguished recipient of the 2008 & 2009 AAA Four Diamond Award. His resume includes Executive Chef at the Hollywood Beach Marriott Hotel, the esteemed Montauk Yacht Club, and Pelican Bay Country Club, to name a few.

Ron may be most recognized as a fierce “cheftestant” on the sixth season of Bravo TV’s Emmy nominated hit show Top Chef: Las Vegas. His zest for life and charisma kept him on the show long enough to gain a number of followers and fans that still support him to this day. Following his appearance on Top Chef in 2009, Ron has appeared as a guest on Good Morning Florida, and featured in a wide range of publications.  Ron has been traveling the country, cooking for celebrities including Beyonce, Usher, and even Haiti’s President elect, Michel Martelly. He will soon add restaurateur to his repertoire as he pursues his dream of opening a restaurant.

Ron has devoted most of his professional career joining in on causes that cover a wide array of issues. From raising money to relieve the disaster in Haiti, to embarking on a fight to end childhood obesity, Chef Ron understands the importance of giving back to the community.

In January 2010 a catastrophic earthquake hit Chef Ron’s homeland Haiti. Since, Chef Ron has organized high profile benefits and participated in a series of events for
companies such as Whole Foods to raise funds for the country and the affected earth‐quake victims. He has raised money for numerous charities including Hearts for Haiti, Hollywood United for Haiti and Kinship Circle Disaster Relief.

Chef Ron is also involved in various organizations whose purpose is to battle obesity in adolescents. Ron is very cognizant of the rate of obesity, especially in young children and has taken the initiative to promote healthier lifestyles that include a more health conscious diet. Some of the campaigns he is involved with include, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Lets Move! Initiative. He is also a board member of FLIPANY (Florida Intro‐duces Physical Activity and Nutrition to Youth) an organization in south Florida that provides affordable physical activity and nutrition programs to local youth and their families.

Ron has taken quite a few leadership roles in his charitable endeavors including vice
president of the Black Culinary Alliance and manager of Real Men Cook Miami. He is also a member of Basil Magazine’s Chef council.

Q&A With Chef Ron

BS: Where does the passion for food or cooking come from?
Chef Ron: My Grandmother who cooked classical French cuisine… And the beauty of pairing different things.
The passion for food was brought to me by my grandmother. I was always fascinated by the way she would cook with love and mixing different ingredients In the state I’ve been privileged to work with some of the worlds finest and best of the best chefs in France, Brasil, Spain, Peru, south America and the Caribbean. My passions for cooking came ever since I can remember I’ve been popping my collar.
BS: What were some challenges you endured growing up in a Haitian home, in regards to your choice of profession?
Chef Ron: The culture expects kitchen staff to be servants, so it is still a challenge to understand the reality of the opposite and give the earned respect to culinary chefs who study the profession.
The challenges that I endured during my childhood in Haiti, are the fuel of my success. I grew up poor, however I was lucky to be raised by my grandmother. who later on helped me find my passion.
BS: How was the experience of being on the hit Bravo T.V. show Top Chef season 6? What would you have done differently?
Chef Ron: Being on Top Chef opened a lot of opportunities for me. I was very blessed to have been considered for the show. I was immersed in joy throughout the whole experience and would not have changed one minute of it. Amazing Experience, creative juices flowing at every second and wanting to help your colleague but remembering it is a competition. Tremendous effort and I would probably have cooked a couple different things but nothing else. Just was so happy to meet Hector Santiago and Marttin Noblia.
BS: What’s it like to be in the life of a Top Chef?
Chef Ron: I feel privileged and highly blessed. I don’t take anything for granted. I met a lot of wonderful people along the way who supports me and my vision. And I make sure I give back to my community and to my homeland Haiti. Hot and in Demand… The kitchen is always hot and your new creations are always awaited somewhere so that’s good stuff!
BS: What does the organizations BCA & FLIPANY entails?
Chef Ron: In today’s changing and challenging environment education will be a minimum requirement to attain career success and advancement in any industry. The same holds true for the culinary and hospitality industry, the largest industry in America today. As the food service industry continues to develop, it will depend upon the services of a highly trained workforce. BCA plays an important role in preparing students and professionals of color (Asian-American, Native America, Hispanic, and Black) with the specialized skills needed for this field which translates to social-economic empowerment for themselves and their families. As a key resource to the industry supporting a diverse pool of qualified young people, the BCA creates the opportunity to advance the growth of diversity from a grassroots and foundational level and serves an important niche.  That is why BCA strives to increase programs through support so we may continue to provide educational information and industry exposure which will help individuals become valuable employees crucial to the continued growth of the culinary and hospitality industry today and the future. The BCA methodology of bridging food service and diversity excellence will also be the strategic platform and vehicle to introduce the importance of food sustainability, waste reduction, and health issues presently not being addressed in urban food service and communities. FLIPANY is a non-profit whose mission is to  empower youth and adults through physical activity and nutrition programs while raising awareness and creating policy changes for healthier communities. Go to
FLIPANY is the newest chapter of the national Trips for Kids program. Trips for Kids provides lessons in self-confidence, environmental awareness, and healthy habits to disadvantaged youth through the simple act of mountain biking. The camp is open to kids of all abilities and income levels. Bikes are available for kids who qualify and do not have one already.
BS: Are there any chefs both past or present, you would love to collaborate with?
Chef Ron: Is this a trick question? Honestly there are too many to count. However  I am always open to working with anyone with a great vision. Jeff Weiss, Kevin Relf, Jaime Jerezano, Taylor Erickson, Hector Santiago, Marttin Noblia,The Voltagio Brothers, Edna Louis ,Jefferson Evans, Patrick Clark, Chef Jennifer Booker ,Marvin Woods ,Jose Andres, Michelle Bernstein just to name  few.
BS: What are the perks in being a celebrity chef?
Chef Ron: Being asked to represent my country, Travel expenses paid for appearances and promoting my food to otherwise unreachable palettes  is a plus.
I would say it gave me a voice and a platform to make changes in my community and force me to become an ambassador for Haiti, in which I am happy to serve. I feel like it is my duty to link the rest of the world to this exotic place called Haiti. There is a richness and bravery in the Haitian people that is often not being played on the forefront.
BS: What projects can we look forward to from “Baby Ron?”
Chef Ron: Dancing with the stars, Competing in the Haiti National Culinary Team, summer 2012 culinary tour in Haiti, upcoming cooking show “No Limit Cuisine with Foodies”, My chicken farms all over Haiti, Helping stop hunger all over the world. My New  Book “From the Banana Boat to Top Chef” and Cooking for Bernard Madoff.

BS: If you can give advice to an aspiring chef in succeeding in the culinary industry, what would that advice be?

Chef Ron: Although you may face adversity in your quest to becoming a chef, you need to stay true to yourself and take your time.  The most successful chefs have paid their dues at one point or another. Find your niche and create, create, create… Stick to delivering what you know and you will do it best!!

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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in BLACK Cuisine, Culinary