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The New York Beacon is New York's most popular weekly newspaper targeting the African American communities of New York City.
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HARLEM — A chef who helped cater Chelsea Clinton's wedding and was one of
the Food Network's former Extreme Chefs is setting up his sauce pan on Fredrick
Douglass Boulevard by mid-February.
Kansas City-born chef Lance Knowling will open Blujeen at 2143 Fredrick
Douglass Blvd. in mid-February. The menu of the restaurant and wine bar will
offer classic soul, southern and comfort food with a modern spin, he said.
“I think we’ll have several dishes here that you can’t get anywhere else,”
Kowling, 50, said.
The blog Harlem Gal first noticed the new restaurant's sign.
Blujeen's menu will be a mix of old and new. The black-eyed peas, for example,
will be served with duck confit instead of bacon, he said.
Although the chef didn't want to give away to many details about his menu,
Knowling said people can expect barbecue, “great fried chicken,” and burgers.
Meat for the burgers will come from Harlem Shambles, a local butcher shop down
the block, he added.
Knowling has been cooking in New York City hotels and restaurants since moving
into the city in 1988. In 2002 he opened Indigo Kitchen, a catering company
whose clients include Queen Latifah, Whoopi Goldberg and the New York Jets,
according to its website.
In 2010, Knowling was part of the 20-chef team that catered Chelsea Clinton's
“There was a whole team of chefs for 500 people,” he said. “It was an all-day
event. That was the only time I worked 24 hours.”
Knowling helped prepare hors d'oeuvres for the bridal party before the ceremony.
The plates included deviled eggs with salmon and caviar.
He also prepared the vegetarian option for the main dinner, which was served to
the father of the bride.
“Bill Clinton ate it,” Knowling said. “He wasn’t a vegetarian but he was watching
his weight at the time so he had the vegetarian portion.”
Knowling has been wanting to open a restaurant in Harlem ever since he first
visited the neighborhood in the '70s. Although he grew up in Kansas City, he had
family who lived in town.
“Coming here I was like, 'wow,’” he said. “It was so awesome I couldn’t wait.
That was always my goal.”
He envisions Blujeen becoming a neighborhood restaurant, a place where you can
come in for a great burger or get dressed up and bring a date, he said.
Knowling hopes to contribute to Harlem's growing reputation as a culinary
destination. Marcus Samuelsson, the owner of Red Rooster who has cooked for
President Barack Obama, will open a new rotisserie chicken restaurant called
Streetbird just a couple of doors down from Blujeen.
While Knowling said it is an honor to be Samuelsson’s neighbor, he may be
tempted to poach some of his more famous clients.
“My hope is that there’s a long line and the president has to wait outside," he
joked. "Maybe we can go grab him and bring him in here.”
|Chef Who Catered Chelsea
Clinton's Wedding to Open
Restaurant in Harlem
It will take hundreds of millions of dollars to win the White House in 2016, and
by that measure, Republican Mitt Romney is off to a rough start.
The 2012 Republican nominee is struggling to secure the financial backing even
of those who were his staunchest supporters.
The Center for Public Integrity in recent days attempted to contact roughly 90
top Romney fundraisers from his most recent presidential run, including every
federal lobbyist who helped him raise $30,000 or more.
The vast majority willing to speak on the record say they haven’t decided
whom to support in 2016. Almost all say they are wrestling with conflicting
loyalties to Romney, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and other potential
Republican hopefuls such as Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Lindsey
Graham of South Carolina, as well as Govs. Mike Pence of Indiana, Scott
Walker of Wisconsin and Chris Christie of New Jersey.
If Romney hopes to win the nomination, he will have to work overtime to
reconstitute the fundraising network that fueled his most recent White House
bid and beat back potential competitors. Bush, in particular, is already trying to
poach key Romney supporters who have the potential to raise, or “bundle,”
millions of dollars for the candidate they ultimately decide to support.
To wit: Bush spent Tuesday afternoon courting some of Washington’s most
powerful lobbyist-donors — including many top Romney 2012 fundraisers —
around a dark-wood oval table in the bare-walled conference room at the offices
of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors.
|Romney's top fundraisers
|Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, speaks during the
Republican National Committee's winter meeting aboard the USS Midway
Museum Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in San Diego.
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