First Lady Visits the Studio Museum

Photo Courtesy of Michelle Obama On behalf of our entire team at Red Rooster, I would like to thank First Lady Michelle Obama for asking us to be part of the Luncheon on the occasion of the 68th United Nations General Assembly. Even though I personally was unable to attend, it was an honor to have our team welcome the First Lady and her guests to The Studio Museum and share with them the food, the art and the neighborhood that I call home.

As the First Lady mentioned, "This neighborhood is a thread that connects all of us here today, no matter where we’re from or what language we speak," which made for the perfect backdrop for her guests', the spouses from other nations, as they discussed the importance of education.

There was entertainment from Dance Theater of Harlem, music provided by youths from the La Guardia School Arts High School and a performance by Tony Award winner Audra McDonald. It couldn't have been a more perfect afternoon that reminded us all how important our relationships are; both inside and outside of our immediate communities.

With the help of the First Lady, we carefully curated the menu listed below that highlights some of the Red Rooster's favorites as well as items that everyone could enjoy:

Arugula Salad with Roasted apples, Cornbread croutons, Pecans, Chanterelle mushroom vinaigrette

Shrimp and Dirty Rice with Collard Greens, Curry leaves, Pumpkin sauce

Banana Pudding Parfait with Almond cookie, Huckleberry sauce

Special thanks to Thelma Golden and her great Studio Museum team for a memorable and fantastic event.

Duro Olowu is JC Penney's First Designer Collab

NY Fashion Week marked the celebration of Nigerian-born/London-based designer (and Red Rooster favorite) Duro Olowu’s exciting new line for JC Penney. The Stone Rose Lounge at the Time Warner Center was completely transformed to reflect the eclectic patterns and bright colors the designer is known for best, complete with Duro-inspired wallpaper and pillows to match the collection which was being intricately displayed throughout the space. The events falling on the weekend of Mercedes-Benz Fall 2013 Fashion Week included a glamorous launch party on Saturday evening and a fun, relaxing lounge the following afternoon where you could get a manicurist to paint on some nail art to match the collection – a nice break from the tent and runway madness taking place just a few blocks north.

Officially in stores and available online on March 1st, we were privileged enough to get a glimpse of the much obsessed collection a few weeks ago when Red Rooster played set to a photo shoot for Fashion Week Daily’s cover story on the collaboration.

A refreshing new partnership in an increasingly growing line of designer collaborations with major retailers, this marks a first for JC Penney. The collection itself is a playful mix of items, not just clothing. While the beautiful dresses and blouses (amongst a number of other pieces) are to die for, the housewares are the true, unexpected gems in the collection including giant vases, beautifully decorated plates and charming serving trays.

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With the First Lady as one of Duro's biggest fans, it seems the most appropriate way to describe this line is democratic. It’s accessible, aspirational, gorgeous and well-crafted, not to mention very affordable.

If you haven’t already, be sure to set a reminder so you can rush to stores or purchase these enviable items online. There’s no question about it – the collection will sell out fast.

Photos Courtesy of Duro Olowu

Let's Move! Marks First Year Anniversary

In America right now, obesity is an epidemic, affecting young children and adults all over the country.  One year ago, First Lady Michelle Obama created an organization that spans the country and touches all sectors from schools to mayors to sports leagues and more. The Let's Move! Campaign strives to improve children's health and general well-being through nutrition and increased exercise and activity.  I'm inspired to see what she has done in only a year of the program. Let's Move! is "a nationwide movement to give our kids everything they need," said Michelle Obama.  The campaign helps kids get "all the energy, strength and opportunities they need to fulfill every last bit of their potential and achieve every last one of their dreams."  Focusing on nutrition and fitness, the Let's Move! initiative has achieved incredible things in it's first year.

One of my passions is to teach children how to cook and help everyone get proper nutrition.  As a member of the Chefs Move to Schools program I am committed to improving health and nutrition of kids around the country.  2,000 chefs have volunteered to help schools in their community become healthier through the Chefs Move to Schools Program. I believe in giving back to the community and to kids, and I'm super excited that so many other chefs are on the same page.

Let's Move! has also committed to adding 6,000 salad bars in schools across the country, added a kitchen garden to the White House, and partnered with professional sports leagues to get kids active.

I am in awe of what the Let's Move! campaign has already accomplished. Read more about the Let's Move! one-year anniversary here.

Chefs in Schools Making Veggies Cool

This past weekend I was in Dallas for a stop on my tour with Buick.  I enjoyed reading up on the food culture down there in this fall's edition of Edible Dallas and Ft. Worth.  I particularly liked an article about chefs reaching out to kids in schools, and how they're "making veggies cool."  I think it's so important to make vegetables fun and healthy eating accessible.  The growing popularity of shows about chefs and cooking on television makes this exciting to young kids.  The program "Chefs Move to Schools" is one of First Lady Michelle Obama's initiatives to fight obesity, and will be implemented all over the country.  The program sponsors varied initiatives tailored to the school's capabilities.  Examples include partnering with local farmers to provide produce to school cafeterias or planting a vegetable garden.  I'm very impressed! Read more about it here.