LOS ANGELES -- Hometown hero Govind Armstrong is inviting celebrated Harlem chef Marcus Samuelsson to Baldwin Hills to stage a one-night celebration of soulfood classics in honor of Black History month.
Armstrong grew up in Los Angeles and is part Indian, while Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden. The evening's menu reflects their mixed cultural backgrounds with dishes like Ethiopian Tacos with Injera Bread and Tartare, Braised Oxtail with Fried Plantains and Crawfish Beignets with Honey Beet Tartar sauce.
Separately, both chefs made big splashes very early on in their careers. Armstrong famously began apprenticing with Chef Wolfgang Puck at Spago at the age of 13, while Samuelsson is the youngest-ever chef to win a three-star review from the New York Times. Now executive chef of Post & Beam and Republic of Laughter Cafe near West Hollywood, Armstrong has won praise for running an independently-owned restaurant in Baldwin Hills, where cheap chain restaurants rule.
Samuelsson is the chef and owner of Red Rooster Harlem in New York, a restaurant that pays homage to the neighborhood's artistic and political history.
The chefs, both friends for about ten years, have cooked together before, explained Armstrong to The Huffington Post. They had always planned to cook together again once Post & Beam opened Jan. 2012, and the February event is the first time they've been able to nail a date down -- a testament to both Samuelsson and Armstrong's busy schedules.
Still, waiting a year turned out to be a good thing for Armstrong, as it allowed for the event to also serve as a celebration of Black History Month. "Timing couldn't be better," said Armstrong over the phone.
But beyond cooking with an old friend, Armstrong is most excited about involving the students from the Careers through Culinary Arts Program, which prepares underserved high school students for hospitality careers like restaurant work.
The evening's proceeds benefit C-Cap, but some of the students will also play a part in prepping the evening's dishes and even shadowing his staff the night of the event.
"Cooking with Marcus is always a good time," said Armstrong. "I'm looking forward to it, the staff is looking forward to it and all of the students are excited."
Tickets for the Feb. 26 event cost $140, inclusive of tax and tip. Reservations are required.
Govind Armstrong's food can be found at Post & Beam in Baldwin Hills and ROFL Cafe, a restaurant near West Hollywood. Check out pictures of his dishes here: