As we gear up for our FHIT + feast event this Labor Day Weekend in the Hamptons, we’re honored to introduce our co-host on behalf of our partner, CookUnity. Chef JJ Johnson, James Beard Award-winner and NYC restauranteur, has curated two CookUnity meals participants will take home after their workout with our very own El Capitan, Eric Salvador. Below, get to know Chef JJ and book your spot to HIT it with us at The Clubhouse in East Hampton at FHIT + feast.
What was the inspiration behind your Harlem, NYC restaurant FIELDTRIP?
FIELDTRIP was born out of a realization that rice can be found at the center of tables of so many cultures around the world. Rice connects people. Our cuisine is influenced by global flavors from Asia to Africa to America and the Caribbean. Everybody’s culture is defined by the rice you eat. It’s what you feed your children. #RiceIsCulture
How has your work and business changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic?
When COVID-19 came to New York, restaurants were disrupted overnight. FIELDTRIP, with the initial singular mindset of not having staff members face the adversity of loss of income and meeting the anticipated demand for community aid, immediately shifted to curbside pickup and home delivery to keep serving as much of those in need as possible. It became a focused creative effort to find ways to maintain the operations of its burgeoning new fast casual concept and keep its people employed. As many restaurants closed or struggled to find ways to stay afloat during this period, FIELDTRIP expanded its operational approach and implemented systems, incorporated strategic collaborations and developed practices that facilitated an incremental increase in business. There were partnerships with organizations such as Madison Boys and Girls Club, Peloton, and Harlem Cycle to continue serving the underserved community, forged relationships with Harlem Grown and Rethink Food to develop programs like FIELDTRIP’s Buy-a-Bowl program which served over 100,000 meals to frontline workers.
Community is a cornerstone of your restaurant and food philosophy. How are you connecting with clients during the current climate through partnering with CookUnity and the Creator's Club?
Partnering with brands I feel strongly about is a perfect way to connect with clients. What better way to get my meals to people all across the North East especially in uncertain times. Now people way beyond FIELDTRIP's reach, can get access to my nutritious and veggie-centric meals.
We're thrilled to have you on board as our guest at our Labor Day Weekend event, FHIT + feast, in the Hamptons next weekend! Please tell us a bit more about the menu you've curated for FHIT + feast.
I'm including my best-selling CookUnity dish, Salmon Bowl with Pineapple Black Fried rice and will introduce a vegetarian dish for the occasion - his Jollof Rice with Roasted Broccoli and a vegan Cucumber Yogurt dressing.
Ready to FHIT + feast with us and Chef JJ?
WHO: FHITpro Eric and CookUnity Creator, Chef JJ Johnson
WHAT: Fhitting Room HIIT Workout + Two CookUnity Meals
WHEN: Saturday, September 5th, at 8:45am and 10am
WHERE: The Clubhouse at 174 Daniels Hole Road in East Hampton