Chef Chris began his culinary career in Philadelphia when the city was in the midst of a culinary revolution. He worked alongside notable chefs such as Al Paris, Michael Solomanov, and with the Starr Restaurant Group as sous chef to Franklin Becker and Marcus Samuelsson. After honing his skills in Philly for 15 years, Chef Chris moved to New York City where he led as the Executive Chef for CNN and Time Warner. There he cooked for international dignitaries such as Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, South African President Nelson Mandela, as well as many actors, professional athletes and top media personalities. In November 2010, Chef Chris opened Brooklyn Commune with his wife Eugenie. They both shared a love for food and community and embarked on a mission to bring people together around food. They developed socially responsible programs including kids cooking classes that benefited a local women’s shelter, free monthly meals and healthy recipe sharing in underprivileged neighborhoods, and other local as well as international efforts. They were honored with the Community Leader Award by CAMBA for their work and commitment to raising the community. Chef Chris continues his social advocacy work as a brand ambassador for the Institute of Culinary Education, inspiring up and coming chefs, and also with the Food Bank of NYC in their mission to eradicate hunger. In April 2016, they opened Butterfunk Kitchen, a soul food restaurant that is heritage cooking at its finest. The restaurant was recognized by Brooklyn Magazine as one of 10 BEST New Restaurants in 2016 and received high praise from the New York Times. Chef Chris also competed on season 15 of Bravo’s Top Chef and earned his place as a top four finalist, showcasing his family’s migration soul food. The recognition from the series has amplified his mission to give soul food the respect it deserves as honorable American cuisine. In February 2018, Chris spearheaded a dinner at the James Beard House for Juneteenth Day, commemorating the date when slavery was finally abolished in all of the United States. This was an historic event for the James Beard House, being the first to ever honor an African American holiday and will proudly continue as an annual dinner. Chris continues to share the history and development of African American culture through a cookbook, sharing his family’s recipes and stories across seven generations and with the recent opening of his third restaurant BIRDMAN in Bridgeport CT.
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