KitchenCraY: A Chef with Big Plans to be a Culinary Powerhouse
These days, Washington, D.C. is rapidly changing more than its history or position as the “Capital of the Free World.” A quick Google search of the term “DC Gentrification” will deliver over 637,000 results with titles like “DC’s Poorest Residents fight Displacement” or “Washington DC Loses Black Majority”. The Chocolate City is looking less “chocolate” as urban renewal displaces low-income minorities and replaces them with a new group of young, mid to high-income, diverse group of transplanted Washingtonians.
This was evident as I made my way to a private gallery on S Street NW, off of the bustling 7th Street, headed to the website launch for KitchenCraY and Chef JR Robinson. My brief walk through the historic Shaw neighborhood featured new luxury homes and buildings, where burned-out shells of the city’s past once stood. As the winds of change blow in the District, the city’s food culture is adapting as well. A city once known for half smokes (see Ben’s Chili Bowl) and soul food (see Oohs & Aahs, Florida Avenue Grill) is now making a name for itself as a breeding ground for mobile kitchens, fusion cuisine, celebrity chefs, and farm-to-table dining.
After checking in and shaking hands with some familiar faces, a beautiful hostess greeted me with a small tray with little cups. I had a hard time making out what was in those cups, but a quick taste test revealed an intricate mix of flavors like jerk seasoning, mild cheddar cheese, grits, and white fish. I had tasted KitchenCraY’s version of “Fish’n’Grits”, and it was amazing. The flavor was both modern and familiar, and that seems to be KitchenCraY’s culinary arts objective.
Rather than standing in the way of change, James “Chef JR” Robinson is delivering a new wave of culinary experiences with KitchenCraY, a group that provides luxury culinary services to its clients. At their official launch event, Chef JR admitted that the five-star catering company began with a focus on urban audiences, catering brunches for popular DC social venues like Cities and Capitale. But for the future, Robinson and KitchenCraY are looking beyond the District with plans to become the “biggest culinary force in the nation.”
In addition to catering for high-profile clients, KitchenCraY’s enterprise includes cooking classes, personal dining, and a branded cookbook due to release in the coming weeks. A KitchenCraY line of products will be coming to market soon including kitchenware, KitchenCraY sauces and seasonings. Chef JR says he wants to match the five-star dining experience to your lifestyle while promoting culinary education for adults and children.
Checkout KitchenCraY’s new official website for more information.