23 Nov Jonathan Cartu Says: Chef JJ Johnson Previews New Dishes at Field Trip Restauran…
Just giving Cheff JJ Johnson a hand creating one of his signature rice bowls, at his new restaurant Field Trip near 116th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard/Lenox Avenue.
“The goal is to bring amazing food at a really affordable price point to everybody,” said JJ Johnson, Chef at Field Trip Restaurant.
And the winner of the prestigious James Beard Award is not only cooking for customers, but providing dishes for his family Thanksgiving celebration. He says; why not stray a little from the same old menu every year.
“I think to keep the spice going for the holiday, to keep people intrigued, you have to add one or two items to the table,” said Johnson.
Chef JJ adds ingredients like grape seed oil, garlic and ginger to his stir fried vegetables, items you might find on a Thanksgiving table like butternut squash, collard greens and Brussel sprouts. He says you don’t want to eliminate the old favorites, but just add a little zest to them.
“So if you know your Dad likes mashed potatoes with the gravy on top, don’t take that off the table, put something on the table that Dad is like, ooh, I need to put that on my plate,” said Johnson.
The Chef, who also calls Harlem home, prefers fresh ingredients to canned products; he says they are healthier and tastier.
“This is better, more flavorful, and you know somebody cares about it. Like Thanksgiving is about caring and loving. And people are cooking at home for days upon days,” said Johnson.
So he totally gets the concept that in some families, tradition comes first.
“Like, my mother in law, she always is making potato salad. Like people will text her months in advance that they want her Potato Salad on the table and if somebody else makes it, then yes, everybody’s pissed. So you have to have some of the classics, but I think you can mix in some of the new flavor.”
If you want to check out some of chef JJ’s creations, Field Trip is located right here on Malcolm X Boulevard between 115th and 116th Street in Harlem.