February 29, 2024

AFJ Offers “Cooking with Shirley’s Son” Workshop in Partnership with Charles Pan-Fried Chicken

Chef Quie of Charles Pan-Fried Chicken at AFJ’s Harlem community center. Photos by Tom Benedict

To close out Black History Month, Avenues for Justice (AFJ) would like to highlight our three-year partnership with Charles Pan-Fried Chicken, owned by James Beard-nominated Chef Charles Gabriel. Charles Pan-Fried Chicken is one of AFJ's valuable corporate partners and was recently featured on the second season of Netflix’s “High on Hog.”

AFJ was first introduced to Charles Pan-Fried Chicken’s COO, Chef Quie Slobert, during the pandemic by one of our funders in the restaurant industry. In the process of expansion when the quarantine began, Charles Pan-Fried Chicken wanted to support the young adults in their Harlem community, so they reached out to AFJ. Over the past three years, Chef Quie has sponsored special gatherings at our community centers–such as our 2021 and 2022 Juneteenth celebrations. Most recently, Chef Quie spearheaded a monthly workshop at our Harlem community center called “Cooking with Shirley’s Son”. Inspired by his mother, Shirley, Chef Quie passes on key lessons learned from her in the kitchen to our Participants. He is a firm believer that some of the strongest connections made with friends and family are done so through conversations over home cooked meals.

“Cooking with Shirley’s Son” has motivated AFJ Participants to come to our Harlem community center to share recipes, prepare tasty meals, and bond over food. With over 20 Participants attending each workshop, the essence of the two-hour workshop has been preparing and sharing a meal in community.

“Cooking with Shirley’s Son gives our Participants the opportunity to do something that we take for granted, sitting down at a table and having a meal with other people,  especially something that you had a hand in preparing. We all know how important it is to break bread and bond over food. I think it makes the Participants’ experience at AFJ more well-rounded.” ~Brian, AFJ Court Advocate

In last week’s class, Participants listened to guest speaker, Gotham, while making “rasta pasta”. Gotham shared his journey from the streets of Harlem, to being incarcerated, to what he's doing now as a social media influencer. Growing up just one block from our Harlem community center on 131st Street and Madison Ave, Gotham spoke about how his path to incarceration left him with regret as “the things you don’t think you care about now, you realize that you love when you’re alone in a cell.”

Having done time in juvenile, state, and federal detention centers, Gotham implored AFJ Participants to consider the consequences of their actions in the long run and to utilize programs, like AFJ, to help them get back on the right path. Participants were excited to share space with him and were inspired by the heartfelt discussion.

We look forward to the continued celebration of food, culture and conversation in the months ahead with Chef Quie’s “Cooking with Shirley’s Son” workshop.


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