Meet Eric Adjepong, Chef-owner Pinch & Plate in Washington DC & Public Health Nutrition Professional
Eric is raising awareness for food as medicine. Through his philosophy, he expresses the essence of Taste by using responsibly sourced products while telling a multicultural story.
Photo: courtesy of Eric Adjepong
As a first-generation Ghanaian-American, born and raised in New York City, Eric Adjepong has more than one string to his bow. After obtaining his degree in Culinary Arts, Culinary Nutrition (BS) and International Public Health Nutrition (MPH), Eric became a personal Chef and co-founded Pinch & Plate, a catering company that provides full-service dinner parties. Public Health nutrition professional, Eric’s philosophy is very much focused on perceiving food as a tool to create the vibrant health we deserve. Having lived in three different continents, Eric's inspiration comes from various cultures and regions of the world. He sources the flavors in his cooking from many of the West African dishes he grew up eating. Finalist on Season 16 of Bravo’s Top Chef, Eric had the opportunity to educate the public to Ghanaian cuisine while carrying strong values.
Today he’s sharing with us his passion, his art and his beliefs.
Welcome Eric to Chefs for Impact!
By Eric Adjepong as told to Chefs for Impact
Do you think there is a collective awareness for change during this difficult time?
“Obviously now people are cooking more at home, maybe brushing up on those skills they may have not worked on in the past which is awesome for sustainability. But how will people feel when this is all over? How will the public react about sitting down and eating in a restaurant? It’s tough to say. I can hope for the best and I think we’d get there eventually. We have some very strong leaders in the industry who are the first responders.”
What are your best practices for a more sustainable gastronomy?
“Cooking within the season while expressing the story that you want to tell. It’s very important to create in a responsible way. Getting all types of food you need from the local producers is key. Seasonal cooking is a great first step to sustainability; whether it’s street food cooking, gastronomy cooking or home cooking. As for Chefs who put a little more effort into the technique and stylizing food it’s really about keeping things as clean as possible and not doing so much. You must focus on Taste, it’s what matters the most. Be aware that there is a bigger purpose for your skills than just stylish food.”
Can you tell us more about your motto “Let food be thy medicine”?
“I believe you pay your farmers first before you pay the hospital. You reach out to your local producer to get the best food that will keep you away from all sorts of communicable or not communicable diseases. Food is medicine to me. We get our medication from food and it’s all coming from the Earth. Having that understanding behind the food that I cook definitely helps me have a clear vision on what I want to do ultimately and how I want to tell my story. Food is taste, is culinary, is nutrition, is public health, is food culture but the genesis comes from good food that’s growing sustainably. It’s a philosophy that I picked up when I was younger and that I continue to believe to this day.”
What’s your partnership with Territory foods about?
“Territory Foods is a chef driven meal delivery service, based in Washington DC. They put their efforts towards eaters who want to change their diet and focus more on vegan, vegetarian, paleo etc. I worked for Territory Food as a quality control manager for a while and it’s a relationship that has grown over the time. At that time, I was using my skills in nutrition and public health to give them insights on their food, as well as best practices and cooking techniques etc. In terms of recipe development, this is my second collaboration with them. This second time, I’m very proud that all the proceeds are donated to the James Beard Foundation to support all the Chefs and restaurants that are currently struggling. I’m happy to be able to support my colleagues in the industry at my level while quarantined."
A message to all the Chefs out there?
"I’d like to tell all the Chefs: you are not alone. This industry is suffering and everyone is dealing with change but we are together in this. The more you give your input on what you are experiencing as a street vendor or as a fine-dining Chef, it can help people succeed and make business again. Be vocal, there’s nothing to be ashamed of, your voice is specifically being heard right now, continue to be transparent. We are in this together. We are all dealing with our passion, our love and our craft but there is also a human element here. Today, being able to reach out to other Chefs within the industry and to lean on them is very important.”
Learn more: http://www.chefadjepong.com/#about-marquee