Eating Fabulously <3

Christopher Stewart 10405438_10155105945925321_7120286574400212755_n

Current City: New York City
Occupation: Social Media / Digital Community Manager for 2 restaurants in Harlem and owner of Eating Fabulously, a food and lifestyle blog. 

Tell us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in the Bronx with a very supportive family and large sets of friends. And yes my real name is actually Christopher and I love it. After watching cooking shows everyday on TV and having a grandfather as a chef, I told my parents that I was going to the Culinary Institute of America for college and no where else. And that’s what I did. After college at the Culinary Institute of America, I knew I didn’t like big restaurants so I worked in numerous small restaurants, even for some celebrity chefs. One day I landed at this small place and after a couple of months I became executive chef of the restaurant at 24 and the next week I IMG_0445turned 25. All of a sudden I had a staff and payroll was due on Monday and I had to make menu’s and cost out recipes and lead a team. Most exciting and also the scariest time in my life.
After many hours of sitting and reading a variety of different food blogs, I noticed there were little to zero food blogs written by young black women…who also have the upper hand of working in the restaurant industry. That’s where I decided to come in at. I created Eating Fabulously to give you a first hand look into my life revolving around food, but my way.
After achieving my dream of becoming executive chef, I decided to leave the kitchen, and go another route. I knew I wanted to stay in the restaurant industry but not in the kitchen. I started interning and food blogging and ended up writing on Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s website and I also ended up co-authoring a cookbook with a friend.
EF Logo
When and how did you learn to cook?
My grandfather was a chef and he always allowed me to join him in the kitchen when he was at home and even at work. He always included me and asked me questions about food, ingredients and  flavor. I cant even remember how young I was when he allowed me to put my hands in things. Like every little girl,  tea parties happened but at my tea parties I was serving imaginary food. As I got older, he would let me cook with him and then I started practicing how to plate my food. Then I progressed to cooking dinner. By the time i was 14, I knew I wanted to do this all the time, and that’s when I knew i would go to culinary school.

What inspires you about food? 

Is it bad to say that I really really really love to eat? I truly believe if you cant stop thinking about IMG_8773something everyday, that’s your true passion and honestly food and restaurants are always on my mind. Food brings people together, at the table each and every time. Food brings out the best in people and that’s what inspires me. Being able to sit at a table with people I enjoy over and over and over again.

What/where is your favorite place to eat?

Some of my favorite places are very low key and  have great food, but its the dynamics and the consistency of the restaurants that make them my favorite. Currently I’m in love with this small Peruvian place on 94th and Amsterdam Ave called Pio Pio. Its always packed to the brim and every time I go, my meal gets better and better. This maybe the only restaurant that I have NEVER had a issue in and the food is always amazing. Another one of my favorites is this seafood buffet called Ichi Umi here in NYC’s Korean town. I know IMG_5738“seafood buffet” sounds weird but this is a multi-level restaurant serving some of the freshest seafood and food Ive ever had. Sushi, sashimi, raw bar, kobe beef, pork belly etc. They open at 6p for dinner and I’m amazed at the level of ingredients, consistent and care this restaurant shows. Its packed by 7:30

How and why has food become such a large part of your life? 

I like to say that food runs through my veins like mascara and glitter. I think about food all day every day mostly because its been a true blessing to be able to enjoy food and restaurants in the magnitude that I have. I give all the credit o my late grandfather exposing me to everything.
What would your last meal be?
Because I love to eat everything, anything that is perfectly cooked to perfection makes the best meal for IMG_8145me. Cooking simply is actually very very hard. I love a perfectly cooked roast chicken; perfectly seared steak, perfectly cooked seasonal vegetables, perfectly boiled egg. So I guess my last meal would be anything that is perfectly cooked. (and seasonal!)

Where do you get your recipes?

Because I’m always thinking of food or dealing with food in some way, shape or form, I come up with all of my own recipes. If I’m not sure of a flavor or technique I will look it up. When dining out, if a meal really moves me, my mind will start racing as to how I can make it at home or add something to it.  Its funny because I very rarely cook at home and when I do cook at home I’m always shocked. Then I ask my mom is this blog worthy?!?!? LoL 

IMG_8470Why do you think there is such a lack of women in the culinary field? 

For one I don’t think we have a tangible visible female chef to look up to. Male chefs have visible, relatable chefs like  Chef Tyler Florence, Chef Michael Symon and Chef Marcus Samuelsson to aspire to grown into (all chefs that I personally like!) There are female chefs out here but we have to go searching for them, they are not in our faces everyday on books, TV shows, on Eater.com. I believe female chefs just don’t get as much exposure in the media. Maybe a Food & Wine cover here and there every couple of years but besides that, that’s it. And it sucks because there are some really talented female chefs in the world. When I was IMG_1116Executive chef no one knew I was running the place. Every time I stepped in the dining room, people thought I was a line cook. I didn’t have the backing from the restaurant owner or a PR company to put me out there.

Any words of advice for aspiring chefs? 
Ughhhh I have so many things to say to aspiring chefs! LoL  My first thing would be to find out if you love to cook or do you just like to eat. There is a major difference in that sentence. People get so caught up in loving to eat that they think that they love to cook. I say start off small, take some classes at your local specialty food store like at Whole Foods, Sur IMG_0868La Table, or Williams and Sonoma. If you love it, then comes culinary school and finally getting into the industry. Passion is a must. Learn what a Chef really is and does. I feel like people have glamorized being a chef so much that its has blinded people of the years of very hard work it takes to achieve such a name. Study the classical techniques of cooking, they always come back to you no matter what niche you get into. And finally, work hard and do it because you actually love it.

 
Want to get in touch with Christopher? Check her out on these other social media sites:
Instagram: chrissystew29  #EatingFab
Subscribe to my new monthly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bcobmr
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Far More Precious: Passion, Purpose and Perseverance

MARLINE IMG_4184

Occupation/Title: Licensed Social Worker; Founder of Far More Precious
Age: 29
Hometown: South Orange, NJ

Personal Background, please introduce yourself. Of course your job title, education etc, but also your hobbies, your passions, the things that make you YOU.

I am Haitian-American who was born and raised in New Jersey. Most of my schooling was private school until I moved to the Poconos, PA to attend public school. Shortly after, I knew I was going to attend the #1 school ever PENN STATE UNIVERSITY (biased, I know). I received my Bachelors Degree in Psychology and soon after received my Masters Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University. I am currently working in a psychiatric unit as a Social Worker doing discharge planning, individual and group counseling with the mentally ill.

Aside from my job, my passion is to cultivate an atmosphere of sisterhood and empowering women from many different walks of life. I truly enjoy connecting women with women.

When I am not working on my passion, you will find me traveling, cooking, reading, outdoor activities, rooftop eatings, Sunday brunches and hosting women’s events.

State the name and mission of your organization.

My organization is called Far More Precious organization. It is a non-profit organization based in Northern New Jersey. Our mission is to help adolescents and young adult women to overcome barriers in their past while thriving towards their purpose. We host quarterly workshops and enrichment programs for women.

FMP  updated logo

How did you get to where you are today?

Growing up, I have always had a passion for counseling and working with women with a broken past. Part of me entered into this field because of my broken past of child sexual abuse. I realized that my past pain propelled me towards my passion and my God-given purpose. Most of my educational and work experience has been in non-profit sectors and also working with high risked children, youths and adults. I am thankful for the opportunities I was granted to work with survivors of trauma in various settings.

Do you feel you’ve made a difference? What changes have you seen/made and what do you hope to see in the future?

Yes, I truly believe that God has used me as a vessel to make a difference. It is always encouraging to hear women tell me how I have helped to empower them. In the near future, I would hope to open my own private practice that is a safe place for women to be vulnerable with their hurts, pain, passion and successes.

board membersHow have you changed since starting your work?

I have changed tremendously over the years. With my faith in God, I realize that my passion to continue my work as a non-profit leader and Psychiatric Social Worker comes from Him alone. I have also learned to have balance. Every opportunity presented my way does not need a yes from me. I am learning to say no and enjoy periods of rest.

You’ve told us the mission for your organization, but what does your work do for you personally?

When I see a young girl receiving an academic scholarship from our organization it makes me realize that it is worth it all. There are days where I am just crying tears of joy to know that we are making an impact. My passion keeps me fulfilled daily. It’s a burning passion in my heart to serve other women, especially young adults.

What advice do you have for women wanting to start their own organization or non-profit?

If you are looking to start a non-profit organization or business, I would suggest you start with RESEARCH!. Every state has different guidelines. It is also important to ask yourself “are there any other organizations doing the same thing I am looking to achieve?” This question is beneficial when you are looking into receiving funding and grants for your organization. Also, have a team to hold you accountable. Running a non-profit looks pretty on the outside, but there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes into it, such as maintaining your tax-exempt status. Make sure you keep record of everything and have your organization documents in a safe place.

What is a message that you believe every woman should hear?

One day you will be thankful for the thing that once brought you pain, for it will bring forth your passion. Someone out here needs to hear your story to empower them. Your voice is needed.

 

Ways to connect with Marline!IMG_4273

Website: www.farmoreprecious.org

Facebook: FarMorePreciousOrg & Marline Francois

Instagram: FarMorePreciousOrg & MarlineFrancois

Twitter: FarMorePreci0us & MarlineFrancois

: info@farmoreprecious.org

Changing the Perception, Starts with Changing Ourselves

WARREN
Duke 1

Age: 21
Occupation: Real Estate Agent
Education: Earned his Bachelor’s in Sociology from UMD- College Park and is currently getting his Masters in Supply Chain Management at UMUC
Hometown: Upper Marlboro, MD

 

Lately there has been a lot of press about African American males, specifically young African American males, due to the recent deaths of Mike Brown, Ezell Ford, and Eric Garner from police brutality and excessive force. I am usually not the one to speak on situations that affect the public but being an African American male in today’s society, I feel this is a topic I must express my opinion about. I am not speaking to take sides with anyone because although I am an African American male, I do have a background with working for federal agencies and do get to see the perspective coming from a police officer’s view.

My peers don’t realize the severity of some of the things we do every day, which we think are normal but are wrong, and since no one has told most of us it’s wrong, we continue doing it. Some of these things include cursing out loud in public, sagging our pants, or even caring more about cars, clothes, and jewelry as opposed to getting a good education. I’m not perfect but I do understand that there is a time and a place for everything. I’ve been told that no matter how hard you try to hide, there will always be someone that is watching you and judging you based upon your actions, whether you are with your friends or family.

Duke2Social media and lifestyles, which I believe go hand and hand, are the other areas we must  consider in a time like this. Social media is something that is becoming more and more popular in today’s society. Many of us let social media determine our lifestyle or even use social media to reflect a lifestyle that we really don’t live. I recently heard this statement from a prior conversation and believe it’s true, which is social media is the only time African Americans can come together and keep up with the most recent current events while still being able to express our opinions. It’s very rare you see a young African American male pick up the local newspaper to read about what’s going on around the world such as politics or business. In high school, my 10th grade history teacher use to stand by the stack of local newspapers in front of the school and would watch how almost every male who picked up the newspaper, skip straight to the sports section and throw the rest of the paper away. Its little things like this that reflect our lifestyle to the public because in this case if sports are all you feel you need to know about, then others will be forced to believe that as well. Displaying that we don’t care about education, business, and politics, will give people a reason to judge us and not include us in decisions regarding these topics which have the potential to change our lives more than sports do.

Needless to say, I do not believe killing another person is right, whether that it is black on black crime, white on black crime, or white on white crime, but what I do believe is that we can’t change society until we first learn how to change ourselves. In the future, I plan on changing the perspective of how African American males are perceived in today’s society. Graduating from the University of Maryland in 3 1⁄2 years, going to graduate school, starting my own marketing company (MWA Marketing LLC), and purchasing my first residential investment property are all just a few things I have done at a fairly young age. Some may see this as “being ahead of the game” while I see this as being behind, because there is so much more I feel I need to catch up on. But with a mindset like this, I believe this is just the beginning of something great that God has in store for me and my culture.

 

We are still accepting submissions for this month! If you or anyone you know might be interested in the theme and contributing, feel free to email me at raven.best5@gmail.com!!

An HBCU Experience: Finding Sisterhood!

LARK

Lark3Age: 21

Studying: English & Minoring in Comparative Woman’s Studies at Spelman College

Hometown: Washington, DC

Why did you choose Spelman?

I was initially drawn to Spelman because I wanted to go to a great school that would be different than the one I’d had for the past twelve years. I knew Spelman’s academic expectations and size would be similar to what I was accustomed but I was curious about how my worldview would change by attending a historically black women’s college.

 

What was first semester, freshman year like? What was the adjustment like?

Initially, the adjustment to college was a bit tricky for common reasons. I had an awful roommate, was confused about registration etc. When things settled down and I got comfortable in my routine I was able to appreciate all that Spelman had to offer!

 

Would you say you found your social niche? If so, how?

I found my social group through my first year hall- my friends and I joke that if you didn’t live in my hall freshman year I still have no

(Lark in pink jacket)

(Lark in pink jacket)

idea who you are. I also made a lot of friends through participating in activities sponsored by our Women’s Resource and Research Center (WRRC). In my opinion, the WRRC is the greatest place to have discussions, meet new people and (as Spelman’s tagline/ theme song says) make a “choice to change the world”. I’ve learned about more social justice initiatives and met my most open minded classmates in our women’s studies department. Most importantly, my women’s studies classes and the people who gather in the WRRC have given me the tools and vocabulary to express my thoughts on the issues I’m passionate about.

 

What is it like being a black female at a HBCU?

I think it’s great. I love the sisterhood I have found and fostered with my friends. Mostly I appreciate the role the homogeneity plays in the classroom. It is wonderfully freeing to be a Black woman in class with only other Black women. This is not to say that we are not a diverse group of students. We do not all understand the world or even the texts’ we study in the same way. Navigating classroom dynamics is less stressful because the microagressions and uncomfortable situations I had to deal with in my independent grade school classrooms don’t exist at Spelman. For example: I have never been asked to be the voice for all Black people or to read the Black woman’s part in a play and none of my professors or peers have made incorrect assumptions about how my personal background helps or hinders my academic experience. My time at Spelman is the first where I have been a part of an inclusive learning environment that encourages, respects and expects all voices to be heard. It has helped me to become a more confident person inside and outside of the classroom. I think the benefits of all girls/ women’s spaces and all Black spaces are extremely beneficial and their benefits wildly underestimated in today’s society.

 

What kind of activities or groups were you a part of?

I am a part of the Toni Cade Bambara Scholar/ Writers/ Activist Program. We meet with social justice groups and activists from around campus and the world who share with us about the causes they support. We also organize a conference where students and other activists facilitate performances, workshops and panel discussions that explore the complexities of Black/ African women’s lives. I’m also a member of the Atlanta University Center Alliance for Fair Labor. We work to help our maintenance and cafeteria workers get the wages and working conditions they deserve. We also try to raise awareness in the AUC about the daily injustices workers around the world face. I also volunteer in the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art!

 

 

Studying Abroad in India!

Studying Abroad in India!

What opportunities did Spelman afford you?

Spelman affords its students many opportunities in college and afterward. If you want to do something, and know who to ask, you can probably do it through Spelman.

 

Would you say you enjoyed your experience at Spelman? 

I have so many favorite things about Spelman but what I have enjoyed/ appreciate most is my professors and the material they cover. For example: as an English major, I had a mandatory class this past semester called “Seminal Writers of the African American Tradition” where we read works from James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ralph Ellison, Lorraine Hansberry, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Richard Wright and more. It was amazing and pretty standard for most of the humanities courses I’ve taken.

 

What advice would you give for others trying to decide on college?

Try to pick the school that is most suitable for your learning style and will give you the most opportunity to grow. Going to college is such a huge privilege and financial investment but you’re the only one who has to do it. So, pick the major you want to pick and participate in the activities you want to participate in. Study hard. Most importantly: Be open to learning new things about yourself and others.

Want to get in touch with Lark? Follow her on twitter @Lark_T

the BE! Experience

BE! blog postHey Readers,

So I got an email from Ms. Tiffany Wright asking if I could shout out her business the BE! Experience. So I hopped on her website and absolutely loved what I found! As someone who’s on her own journey to wellness and health, I am very excited to learn about the BE! experience. Tiffany has created a business dedicated to empowerment and wellness! With a bachelor’s in sociology and psychology and a master’s in social work, Tiffany has become a dedicated wellness coach, helping people achieve their own goals and passions through mental, physical and spiritual health. The BE! Experience has several branches: The BE! Institute offers group classes on how to maintain positive thinking, a healthy self image and visualization power to reach our maximum potential.  Tiffany also offers coaching for Personal Wellness, Personal Life Enhancement and Community & Organization Enhancement.

For everyone in California, I suggest you get involved! For those who aren’t close by, check out her blog: http://www.livethebelife.com/be-empowered-the-blog.html. Also follow her instagram page @the_be_life

I found Tiffany’s message truly inspiring and uplifting, I support anyone promoting positivity, self-awareness and wellness.

Feel free to email me if you’d like me to feature your business on my instagram page and the blog! 🙂

All About the Business!

Hello FYM Project Readers!

As we enter a new month (and hopefully spring), I encourage all of us to start new projects! A friend told me that the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to working is that “it’s always better to work for yourself, than for somebody else.”

When it comes to the 9 to 5 grind, I know a lot of us see it as a necessary evil. We all got bills or we will soon…But have any of you ever considered pursuing another route? Ever had an idea or a passion that’s a hobby that you’re committed to? Ever considered turning it into a business?

Now I am not saying drop your day job, that’s a very romantic notion that not all of us can afford at the moment. But instead of just settling for that one paycheck, think of starting a small business of your own on the side. A little extra pocket money never hurt anybody. Like making jewelry or art, can you do hair, do you love writing? Make an Instagram or Facebook page advertising your goods or skills. Start making customized birthday cards for your friends and family. Start doing your roommates’ hair. Can you sew? Make an Etsy page advertising your handmade goods. Love to bake? Try to cater a friend’s birthday or baby shower. You can turn nearly any skill into a profit. Start small and see how it grows, you never know! With all of the social networks out there today, there are countless venues where you can advertise and network, its all about putting yourself out there!

And even if you don’t want to commit to starting your own business, find one of your passions and pursue a career in that. If your job involves something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Therefore, March on the blog will be dedicated to celebrating and connecting young black businesswomen! I’ll be featuring two ladies who’ve started their own clothing store, a woman whose made some big moves in journalism and overall tips when it comes resume building, the job search and job interviews.

Have a business you’d like me to feature? Email me and I’ll feature you on the instagram page and write a short blurb for the blog 🙂