This is Chef's Staples, where professional chefs dish on the gear they couldn’t cook without. This week: Chefs Pierre Serrão and Lester Walker of Ghetto Gastro in New York, NY.
Ghetto Gastro is a supergroup of Bronx-based chefs who work "at the intersection of food, design and art," according to founding member Jon Gray, who hosted a TED Talk on his home borough last year. Ghetto Gastro has hosted pop-up dinners and events from Paris to Tokyo for a laundry list of well-known clients and brands.
Although Ghetto Gastro's focus is on food, the group's mission is the creation of lasting and meaningful interpersonal relationships. Ghetto Gastro aims to influence the nation's food scene, boosting up the underrepresented. The collective recently partnered with Rethink Food NYC to feed those in need amid the coronavirus pandemic. We asked two of Ghetto Gastro's founding members, chefs Pierre Serrão and Lester Walker, to share their most beloved kitchen essentials. From a Sharpie and blue tape to a sculpture-esque speaker, these are their everyday staples.
Great Jones Pots and Pans
"The ethos of my artistic practice starts with style while layering flavors and keeping the vibes eternal. The Great Jones cookware is perfect for even distribution of heat."
Ghetto Gastro Steasoning
"I always keep a tin of our Steasoning [a blend of benne seeds, sansho, szechuan peppercorns and espelette] on me just for safekeeping."
"Without a sharp Takamura blade your food is sure to be dull."
Ghetto Gastro Jordan 1 Fearless
"The Ghetto Gastro Jordan 1 Fearless replaces the traditional kitchen shoe — everything from the produce to the shoes only the best for the best."
Master & Dynamic MA770 Speaker
"Round out the cypher with the good sounds. Quality over quantity with everything we do — pay attention to the details."
Sur La Table Blow Torch
"I’m a quick fire type of chef and love to utilize what is on hand. This comes from not always having much to work with and making it pop. We only layer flavors, as well as manipulating textures so a blowtorch is very handy in executing these feats."
Moribashi Japanese Cooking Chopsticks
"I love working with chopsticks and tweezers because they allow me to be detailed and meticulous in plating and distributing."
"I need to keep my whites white at all times and not soil the drip so a wavy Tilit apron is always a go-to."
Black Sharpie and Blue Tape
"Let’s not forget to always label and date products to ensure freshness and produce the best quality spread."