New York

How a Chef and Bronx Evangelist Spends His Sundays

As one-third of the Bronx culinary collective Ghetto Gastro, Pierre Serrao naturally spends his Sundays in the kitchen.

Ghetto Gastro, which formed in 2012 and consists of Mr. Serrao, Jon Gray and Lester Walker, creates recipes that combine “the cooking traditions of Black, brown and Asian folks in a high-quality, healthy fashion.”

Earlier in the pandemic, Ghetto Gastro teamed up with the nonprofit organization Rethink Food and a local restaurant, La Morada, to help feed thousands of people in the Bronx. “They stayed open when everybody else was closed,” Mr. Serrao said. Ghetto Gastro raised money and secured supplies, like sneakers, for the workers. “Their sneakers were all the way worn out from running up like 30 flights of stairs every day to bring people food,” he said.

Recently, Mr. Serrao has been focused on promoting Ghetto Gastro’s first cookbook, “Ghetto Gastro Presents Black Power Kitchen,” which was released last fall, and the collective’s newest line of affordable cookware for Target. He and his co-founders also started a podcast where they discuss the foods that are essential to New York City culture, from chopped cheese to American Chinese food.

Ghetto Gastro is also opening a new lab, or “idea kitchen” — a space to prepare ingredients, test new recipes and host dinners. “The space itself will have a full production kitchen and a private dining situation, but then also we’ll have a studio space for us to shoot content,” Mr. Serrao said.

Mr. Serrao, 35, lives in Harlem with his partner, Devon Scarpulla, 32, their 3-year-old daughter, Saige, and their son, Santi, who was born last month.

MEDITATIVE MORNINGS I usually wake up around 5:30 a.m.My meditation in the morning, sometimes it’s guided meditations, and other times I just find moments to take silence, manifest things and also reflect on moments that have happened and things that I want to happen in the future.

WELL BALANCED We’ll go to Daily Provisions on the Upper West Side and grab some breakfast, a little something to kick-start the day. I’ll have the cheesy egg gougères, a little avocado toast and a matcha.

Waiting to order breakfast at Daily Provisions on the Upper West Side.Credit…Bing Guan for The New York Times

FARMER’S MARKET RUN Then we’ll go to the 79th Street Greenmarket. We grab some radishes, carrots, bread and greens. From there, we come back to my house, drop off the goods and go to Central Park with Saige.

OWL SPOTTING We walk around the park and up the little paths by the waterfalls, and see the owl, the famous owl that’s up there: Flaco, that’s his name.

Swinging through Central Park.Credit…Bing Guan for The New York Times

FULL-BODY PUMP I come back from the park and then I go to my gym, which is at a friend’s studio. It’s in the South Bronx, right around the neighborhood where Ghetto Gastro’s old labs used to be. I do a quick full-body pump, just to give the people something seductive on this Sunday. I do some bench press, squats, pull-ups, situps, jump rope. Then I do a little boxing. I’ll have a smoothie — peanut butter and banana with sea moss, a little bit of cinnamon and some maca. Then, I get my hair braided by a friend of mine named Lisa.

Bench pressing in the South Bronx.Credit…Bing Guan for The New York Times

TARGET TRIP I’m strictly going to Target for Ghetto Gastro products. The air fryer and the waffle maker do the most work in my house. That’s the only reason I’m going to Target right now — and some paper towels to clean up some messes. And some diapers and some wipes. You know how you go into Target just for one thing and you end up walking out with everything.

Credit…Bing Guan for The New York Times

AFTERNOON SNOOZE On a good nap day, I try to do an hour and a half. Honestly, it depends on how long my daughter naps for. Some days you can get a nap in, other days not. Truly anywhere: like on my couch, in the bed, in my car, wherever I can catch some Zs.

GHETTO GASTRO FEAST We have dinner; a couple of friends of mine come over. I make some stuff out of the “Black Power Kitchen” book. I do a little cornbread and plantain and pistachio curry with root vegetables. In our book it’s called Digging in the Curry (“D.I.T.C.”), but I just call it the plantain and pistachio curry, because those are the ingredients that I use that are a little “exotic.” I do the beet carpaccio with fried plantains, hazelnuts and raspberry powder — raspberry and yuzu. I do carrot suya with a cashew butter and a carrot-top oil. I do some coconut rice. Definitely have a salad, some fresh greens always — with the dressing out of the book, probably. Then for dessert, we had a hibiscus sorbet and a kumquat sorbet, just to cleanse the palates.

Friends gather for an array of dishes from Ghetto Gastro’s first cookbook.Credit…Bing Guan for The New York Times

WIND DOWN Sage takes a bath and relaxes on the couch with my wifey, Devon. We’re watching “Minx.” It’s cool, instead of being just naked women walking around all the time, to have guys put out there. You also kind of have an insight into what the times were like back then, when women were fighting for their rights and for their voices to be heard, and “down with the patriarchy” and “the matriarchy awakens” and all that. We’ve been enjoying that series. I’m asleep by 11 p.m.-ish.

Relaxing with TV in the evening.Credit…Bing Guan for The New York Times

Sunday Routine readers can follow Pierre Serrao on Instagram at @chefp.

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