Meet GHETTO GASTRO!!!
GHETTO GASTRO is JON "The DISHWASHER" GRAY, LESTER "The COOKER" WALKER, and MALCOLM "The PASTRY CHEF" LIVINGSTON II the BRONX-based talented trio that is making the rounds in NEW YORK CITY serving up HAUTE CUISINE and FINE DINING infused with a solid dose of HIP HOP.
In the inadequate language of marketing, you could describe Ghetto Gastro as a creative consultancy that produces culinary pop-up events for brands. In person GG looks more like a rap crew—which it’s sometimes mistaken for—than a group of guys schooled in the finer points of modern cuisine and brand development. The men are dressed in black, wearing matching T-shirts printed with their logo in the same reverse-type block letters as the parental-advisory stamp.
They come from The BRONX, and they celebrate The BRONX.
JON GRAY was kicked out of Catholic and then public school before getting a GED. He was busted for drug possession, then enrolled in classes at FIT and worked internships as part of a deal to have the charges dropped. The plan worked, and two years later he was a partner in two fashion lines selling at high-end department stores and streetwear shops. But his enthusiasm for fashion quickly cooled. “I wouldn’t buy a Lanvin sweater and think I really needed it,” Gray says. “But I would go to Eleven Madison Park and cash out without even thinking about it. I asked myself, How can I travel and eat and make that my life’s work? That’s how Ghetto Gastro was born.”
In its year and a half of existence, Ghetto Gastro has been busy. The crew has designed and executed parties for a Timberland boot release, catered a promotional dinner for an e-cigarette brand at South by Southwest and flown to Cannes to create “the South Bronx in the South of France,” a Microsoft-sponsored dinner. In a villa in the hills above the Riviera, they draped sneakers over wires, repurposed 40-ounce malt-liquor bottles as water carafes and served a multicourse menu that featured loup de mer cured in that bodega staple, Lipton iced tea.
JON GRAY says;
“We create full experiences for you to immerse yourself in, sort of like theater. When you come into our world, we want you to eat this food and remember this sh*t for the rest of your life. We celebrate the cultures we grew up with: Ghanaian, Trinidadian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Jamaican, Puerto Rican. We try to f*ck heads up and take food that’s not approachable and make it more democratic.”
He hooked up with LESTER WALKER, an old friend from the Bronx who was the first person in his family to go to college, as a culinary student at Johnson & Wales University.
LESTER WALKER says;
“It’s a combination of high ingredients and low interpretations.”
MALCOLM LIVINGSTON II played in the same basketball league as Gray.
MALCOLM LIVINGSTON II says about their events;
“Just pure controlled anarchy. I don’t like to dress up, and I feel like when you go to a nice restaurant you have to. But at Ghetto Gastro events you can just come as you are. The food is going to be on a high level, but you can still have fun and think, I’m around people who look like me and dress like me.”The HASH HOUSE is their current headquarters - an apartment in LONG ISLAND CITY. A strategic cluster of Post-its listing objectives and steps covers a wall of the Hash House and outlines the master plan: an animated web series called The Food Gangs of New York; a new headquarters and culinary-education center in the Bronx; an ice cream line called 36 Brix, inspired by the technical term for the sugar level in ice cream and the Wu-Tang Clan album 36 Chambers. It’s an ambitious set of objectives for the next year, but more than a few people think if anyone can hit these marks it’s these guys.
Former MOTHER Chief Technology Officer JOE McCANN heard about GG and instantly saw the possibilities it could bring to the South of France Microsoft event.
JOE McCann said;
“They taught the attendees how to play Cee-lo, a dice game popular in the hoods of New York. Jon also introduced the party to an original uptown drink, the nutcracker, that had the crowd properly tipsy by the end of the night. All this took place in a mansion so grandiose that Scarface would be jealous.”JOE McCann continued on what they bring to the table;
"providing popular culture with something it has been deprived of for so long—originality.”MATTHEW ORLANDO, Chef/Owner of AMASS in COPENHAGEN, DENMARK speaks to their raw talent, originality, and heritage;
“To me being different is the way forward. Besides being supercool guys, they know where they come from, and they celebrate that. In the food world these guys are way outside the box., and that’s why people are going to start to notice them. It might not be tomorrow, but I can assure you it will be very soon, and you are going to wonder why it took so long.”PLAYBOY Journalist HUGH GARVEY has the full story on GHETTO GASTRO: STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTOIR - The BRONX CREW That's UPENDING The CULINARY WORLD.
MALCOLM LIVINGSTON II, LESTER WALKER, & JON GRAY
Don't get smacked silly in front of Ms. Lily's http://t.co/c4iboXausl pic.twitter.com/pGT56YZmN9
— Ghetto Gastro (@GhettoGastro) November 20, 2014