Food + Hip Hop = Stay Hungry!

National Cooking Competition Comes to DC High School

Photo by KaTisha Smittick

Photo by KaTisha Smittick

On Wednesday, March 14, local chefs gathered at Roosevelt Senior High School in DC's Petworth neighborhood for a student cooking competition hosted by Stay Hungry, competition that fuses food and hip hop. It works like this:  Students choose a hip hop lyric, then prepare a dish that was inspired by that lyric. The Stay Hungry competition initiative was designed to give inner city students the opportunity to work great ingredients with step-by-step instruction and coaching from professional chefs. The coaching chefs for the DC event included Chef Adam Greenberg (Coconut Club), Chef Rabia Kamara (Ruby Scoops), Chef Duan Samuels (Private Chef), Chef Meshach Cicero (Prequel) and Simone Jacobson (Toli Moli).

Photo by KaTisha Smittick

Photo by KaTisha Smittick

We followed up with Chef Adam Greenberg about his experience.

EDC: How did you hear about this event? 

Chef Adam: Simone Jacobson from Toli Moli asked me to be a judge for DC's Stay Hungry event. Stay Hungry is an organization that brings hip-hop and food together. 

EDC:  What did the Stay Hungry mean to you?

Chef Adam:  I always get a lot of pleasure out of using my platform to help kids. I’ve learned so many valuable life lessons through the industry. I truly believe it can help give kids some life skills and it helps teach them to work together with others. 

EDC:  Anything that surprised you?

Chef Adam:  I was really surprised by the level of enthusiasm the kids had for learning about food. The live performances from some kids were great, you could see their passion. All we need to do is give these kids positive feedback and an environment that allows them to  thrive. You see that glimmer in their eye when they get compliments. 

We had a few more questions so we followed up with the event organizer, Syreeta Gates. 

EDC: What were some of the inspiration lyrics? 

Syreeta Gates: As an example the lyric "And get riced up, some Japanese baby salmon." by Raekwon with Chef JR (Kitchen Cray) team made a salmon dish. Chef Duan's team had the lyric "Make these Hittas* sick, chicken noodle soup" by Shy Glizzy which inspired a numeric ginger noodle soup. 

Other lyrics for the event included: 

  • When it's beef, know I'm down to ride - Yung GleeshChef Meshach Ciscero
  • But my Rasta partna still know how to stew chicken - Chaz FrenchChef Matthew Loftus
  • Got beef with radio if I don't play they show - Jay ZChef Rabia Kamara
  • Beef is only good if you in the burger business -FabolousChef Damian Brown

You can learn more about the Stay Hungry organization here

Chef Adam: It’s a cliche, but I always get more out of these experiences than the kids do. It opens my eyes to how much more I can do, and if I can get through to one kid, I feel like I’m helping make their lives better.