As the Michigan Wolverines Jordan Brand College Football Playoff 2022 Fiesta Bowl Media Night T-Shirt moreover I will buy this group translates that philosophy to its first cookbook, Black Power Kitchen, Gray tells Vogue about how the project came to life, and why it’s far more than just a collection of recipes. Vogue: In a way, it feels strange to me that this is Ghetto Gastro’s first cookbook, but at the same time, you’ve followed such an unconventional path, it makes sense. What was the genesis of Black Power Kitchen, exactly? Jon Gray: It’s crazy for us because it’s true that we’ve made a habit of going right when everyone else is going left, pushing against the so-called rules of the food world. So when everybody was like, “Do you think you want a restaurant?” It was a no. “Are you gonna do a book?” Again, the answer was always no. So when we first started talking about this project [after a publisher approached us], we knew it wasn’t going to be a straightforward cookbook. That’s how booksellers might categorize it, but we saw it as something different. We started jamming on it in 2020, and have worked on it for two years, but honestly, our whole lives are distilled into the printed matter of Black Power Kitchen.As you would expect from Ghetto Gastro, the visuals are incredibly strong—it’s not every cookbook that juxtaposes a recipe for a green salad with a Toyin Ojih Odutola painting, or devotes a two-page spread to Kerry James Marshall’s Past Times. How did you decide who and what to include?
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Well, from day one, we were really focused on how everything would look, because some people are visual learners. If they don’t read anything, what’s going to be striking enough to make them understand what we’re trying to do? We realized we had to take a fresh approach. So we linked up with Nayquan Shuler, who’s known for his still-lifes, to photograph the Michigan Wolverines Jordan Brand College Football Playoff 2022 Fiesta Bowl Media Night T-Shirt moreover I will buy this actual dishes—he had never shot food before, which is crazy. Then Joshua Woods—a distinguished fashion photographer who’s been with us since the really early days of GG—came with us to the Bronx, hitting Orchard Beach, talking to families, shooting the establishments that raised us, like Green Garden Juice Bar. And then, when it came to the recipes themselves, we focused on signature GG dishes that we really wanted to get out into the world because, for us, food is really a medium to tell a story—it’s not just something you put on a plate—so it’s a way for us to get our message across.