#STAYHUNGRY2017 is a reminder that "Sky's The Limit"
Stay Hungry, the brainchild of Syreeta Gates, was started in 2015 when she became besotted with bridging the gap between Hip-hop and food. Curious to know what, if any, platforms existed marrying these two commodities she googled food and rap only to pull up lyrics laced with delicious double entendres. Reading the hard-hitting bars made a light bulb go off in her head and she began theorizing a Hip-hop cooking competition. Syreeta eagerly took to her community and began conceptualizing how to involve the kids of New York City and within months Stay Hungry was born.
The competition, held on May 21 st , also known as Biggie Day, consisted of six teams made up of high schoolers from all over New York City. The teams were paired with six professional chefs to help cultivate delectable dishes inspired by various Notorious B.I.G. lyrics taken from hits like “Juicy” and “Hypnotize”. The judges included the Musical producer of Biggie’s debut album Ready to Die, Easy Mo Bee, CEO of Mikey Likes It, Mike Cole, Executive Director of the Museum of Food and Drink, Peter Kim, Hot 97 alum, Scottie Beam and Rap Artist Niko Brim. While the teams proceeded to make it hot in the kitchen, the audience played Hip-Hop trivia and rocked to performances by JP Reynolds and Niko Brim. 90’s Hip-Hop and R&B blared from the speakers whilst the guests enjoyed special dishes of their own consisting of Ground Beef and pasta, sautéed veggies and mac and cheese prepared by Aris the Chef and Chef Nathaniel Wyatte, respectively.
The building was jam-packed with 2017 having the most RSVPS’ to date but the increase in attendees wasn’t the only new addition to this year’s Stay Hungry competition. Stay Hungry introduced the Chef Curry Scholarship, which honors the late Chef Terell Curry. It is exclusively offered to rising cooking and baking aficionados who are pursuing careers in culinary arts careers in the flyest of ways and are working to spread their love for food to the masses. The first recipient of the scholarship was August Martin High School senior Rebecca Vega. Rebecca, who has been a member of the Stay Hungry cooking crew since it’s debut, graciously accepted her scholarship and shared her plans of going to college for culinary arts and eventually opening up her own restaurant. To up the ante, #STAYHUNGRY2017 also had their first "You Got The Juice" Awards. This award was given people not only doing incredible things in the culinary industry but committed to changing the narrative around food and beverage.
After the judges tasted the plethora of rap inspired bites they deliberated and announced the winning team led by Chef Lex. The team was assigned the lyric “Now honies play me close like butter play toast” and prepared an assortment of gourmet crostini’s earning them first place. Syreeta concluded the event with a toast with the audience to the legendary Christopher Wallace reciting the lyric “Flights back and forth/pop corks of the best grapes” from “I love the Dough” off the Life After Death album.