At a fundraiser at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Sunday, Wholesome Wave capped off their New York City Gets Fresh restaurant week with Chop It Up!, the first-ever celebrity chef poetry slam.
The talent included award winning chef Michel Nischan, the president of Wholesome Wave, Evan Hanczor of Egg, Joe “JJ” Johnson of the Bravo show, Rocco’s Dinner Party, and Top Chef contestant Ty-Lor Boring. Like a fine meal, each chef got paired with a complementing poet, including award-winning poet Stephen Colman, Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai from HBO’s now defunct series Def Poetry, and Mahogany Browne, a slam mistress at the Nuyroican Poets Café. The latter won the inaugural contest with Boring, after she wove words about ice cream and the “naked chef” talked about sex.
In between the rhymes, singing by the lovely Goapele, and bites of poached Maine lobster salad and smoky pulled pork sliders, I caught up Boring after his victory. A few months ago, Boring broke his back and this summer has been MIA, but now he is finally getting ready to find a spot and open his first restaurant in Brooklyn. The concept, he said, is hickory-smoked meats. The chef is thinking of taking Mile End’s lead and opening in Red Hook, in part because it’s near the water and has a more open space, which, he said, is good for when you are using a heavy-duty smoker. But, don’t expect to be trying Boring’s meat anytime soon, between finding the right set up, building, and permits, he expects to open spring of next year.
In the meantime, here is some inspiration for your own food-based poetry slam.