These Black chefs became known for merging their love of cooking with storytelling to unite people from different communities and share New York‘s extraordinary cultural impact in the food industry. Now podcast lovers have a new way to digest recipes since they’ve partnered with Audible to create In The Cut with Ghetto Gastro, which premiered on all streaming platforms on Feb. 2.
Class is now in session with the respected Bronx-bred culinary collective Ghetto Gastro, which includes chefs Jon Gray, Lester Walker, and Pierre Serrao, who bring fresh flavors and unmatched vibes to curate a one-of-a-kind fine-dining experience for all by infusing art, music, activism, design and fashion to show how food can influence outside the kitchen. Keen believers that health is wealth, the group wants to enhance the public’s knowledge, especially in overlooked neighborhoods, that nutritious food can also be tasty.
“For people in general but coming from some Black men, just be open to growth, be open to learning new things,” Serrao told Blavity in an interview. “We can’t keep doing the same things and expect different results, so let’s just change the formula, let’s control the narrative, control what’s going on in our communities and our bodies, and take care of our families and our loved ones, and that’s how we’ll live to see another day. We’re stronger if we grow together.”
On Feb. 2, the trio’s new podcast debuted on all streaming platforms. And since Audible is based in Newark, New Jersey, aka Brick City, the team agrees the collaboration was a match made in heaven. Each episode offers listeners a guided trip through the Bronx, NY with insightful context from their different but similar backgrounds and culinary careers.
“We really just wanted to transport the listener into the kitchen with us to get a feel for what it’s like to create these dishes of the meals that we’re talking about. Just wanted to wrap them in an immersive experience,” Gray shared.
“The audio format was just a really good way to reach a new audience that we haven’t tapped yet, and really get them engaged and excited about being in the kitchen, share some of our experiences and hopefully the next group of great thinkers so hopefully the next Ghetto Gastro is somewhere cooking up,” Serrao added.
“I think for us it’s just really about authentic, being true to ourselves and showing people that we really walk it like we talk it, that we’re really about this life, that health really is wealth,” Serrao added. “There are different ways to eat…may it be with your hands, or with some chopsticks or with a fork and a spoon, or with your ears. There are different ways for us to consume and experience food,” he said.
When it comes to their original, witty catchphrases like “from the soil to the oil,” “chopped stease, a chopped cheese we aim to please,” or stease for the ears to pleasing,” which adds a hip-hop element that lures listeners in, they give credit to the neighborhood that raised them.
“It’s a culmination, but some of us got a little bit more dedication to it,” Lester said, laughing. “I’m going to give props, but we got to pay homage to the forefathers, and those forefathers are like Slick Rick and Ice Cube. And being from a community of trendsetters and creative people in the Bronx, it’s only right that we use some different beat breaks or use some different dish titles as a reference point. We like to do that just how they did in hip-hop with sampling different music and sampling different drop beats; we sample a lot of different dishes as well. We create dishes with our own twists and rendition to them as well.”
All episodes are 15-19 minutes, allowing Ghetto Gastro to keep the listener’s attention and leave them wanting more.
“We want to give you the insightful…right bites, no pun intended,” Gray explained. “The right sound bites to keep you intrigued so you can keep wanting to dig deeper into the subject matter and get to know us and get to know the guests. Time is precious so we didn’t want to take too much of it, but we want to be able to hit you with the knowledge darts in an expedient and efficient manner.”
They took the show to the streets and in the Black Power Kitchen so the genuine atmosphere of NY can be felt through the speakers.
Their grand personalities will make you laugh, grow an appetite and take you into the trenches of their innovative “Black Power Kitchen” in eight intimate episodes that offer an organic and educational look at some of New York’s most beloved dishes with a dash of swag and special guests.
They’re grateful to the women who first piqued their interest in cooking. The guys hope In The Cut with Ghetto Gastro inspires more conversations within families and social circles about work ethic, passion, and healthy food choices that add nutritional value.
“We’re three Black men, but we wouldn’t be where we are without the dedication and support of Black women. When we think of nourishment, the Black woman is the person first to nourish the world, the plant, so we definitely have to pay homage to them,” Gray stated.
He continued, “Black men have unique challenges, especially in America, so we’re definitely wanting to serve as inspiration to young brothers but also young sisters and not just Black people. Thinking about people from historically underestimated groups that have been on the fringes and disregarded throughout history, it’s something for everybody. We want people to learn and build with us because community builds immunity. It’s one race right now; we’re all a part of the human race. But we’re the Black Power Kitchen, and we’re on a mission; it don’t stop.”
“I would like the listeners of Audible to take away discipline because once you have the proper disciplinary actions and ways of living, there’s so many different places you can take your lifestyle to and your level of success to as well. We’re implementing that with a regenerative diet because our goal isn’t global domination. Our goal is global regeneration, and that’s starting with reiterative diets with our people and using alternatives to meats and dairies,” Walker expressed.