The ice-cool Bronx chefs walk you through cooking the supreme meal this Chrismahanukwanzakah, the all-inclusive New York way of doing December
In a world where so much can be experienced and lived-out online, food remains one of the few things that can truly bring people together IRL. New York-based culinary collective Ghetto Gastro understand this better than most. Harnessing the power of social media to promote their own experiential approach, the trailblazing group has spent the past few years drawing on all of the things that fill our Instagram feeds – fashion, art, music, culture – and bringing them together with one the few things that really can only be enjoyed in person. This approach has seen them throwing parties at Art Basel, where desserts of crushed coconut served on mirrors as a cheeky nod to Miami’s past, hosting thanksgiving dinner for Rick Owens and Michele Lamy’s team, as well as working with everyone from FKA twigs to Martha Stewart.
The crew are also fiercely proud of their Bronx background, with the New York borough informing their name, their approach and much of what they cook. “I think it’s a rich tapestry of different ethnic groups that come together,” Jon Gray, one of the group’s founders told Dazed last year. “Growing up, I didn’t know that it was uncommon to speak a little bit of Spanish conversationally. I had a lot of Puerto Rican and Dominican friends, I would go and eat with their families, so I was exposed to different types of food and seasonal drinks like Coquitos. Then as I got older, (I started) tapping into West African, Ghanaian, Nigerian, Sierra Leonean, Trinidadian, there’s even a small Vietnamese population – it’s a lot of different vibes.” As a result, their dishes serves as a culinary exploration of the rich and diverse melting pot that is their home borough.
With those two elements in mind, Ghetto Gastro has set about creating a guide to the perfect Chrismahanukwanzakah dinner – which is a way of celebrating this season without excluding any ethnicity or faith. Smashing together Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa (the week long celebration of West African diaspora in the US and Americas) in true Bronx style, the short film starts with a late night trip to a New York’s Hunts Point fish market – an industry wholesale market only open between and 1 and 7am.
There’s a quick stop off at the grocery store before the crew returns to their kitchen to cook up a meal of eclectic origins with snapper baked in banana leaves, green-tinted rice and peas, as well as dark black coquitos – Puerto Rico’s answer to egg nog, which mixes eggs, coconut melt and a strong dash of liquor. “We embody and manifest our culture at all times,” explained Gray over email. “The concept for these dishes emerged as a way to translate the principles of Kwanzaa into a stealth aesthetic dispatch for everybody out there to eat good and ingest the isms.”
Whatever you’re celebrating at this time of year, this looks like a pretty good alternative to turkey and trimmings.