Afro-Asian Cuisine Featured in New Cookbook

“Between Harlem and Heaven,” by Joseph “JJ” Johnson and Alexander Smalls

Award-winning chef Joseph “JJ” Johnson and restaurateur Alexander Smalls released “Between Harlem and Heaven” this week, a cookbook of more than 100 recipes for Afro-Asian dishes, reports Olayemi Odesanya in Amsterdam News.

“We noticed the lack of diversity when it came to ethnic cookbooks,” said Johnson. “We noticed that not a lot of people know about the Afro-Asian diaspora and the influence it has in the culinary world. That is what the book is about. To make sure people are enlightened about the culture. We wanted to make sure we didn’t just make an ordinary cookbook. We expect our audience to be creative when they are recreating the meals. Cooking is about experimenting and having fun while doing it.”

Johnson, whose family comes from Barbados and Puerto Rico, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and spent time in Ghana to study West African cuisine. He works at The Cecil Steakhouse and Minton’s Supper Club in Harlem. Both are co-owned by Smalls, who himself is an award-winning opera singer.

Read more on the co-authors at Amsterdam News.

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