Chef Rashard Opens Crave BBQ at Richmond’s Hilltop Mall

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Chopped winner, Chef Rashad Armstead celebrates with guest Terry Adams at after party on the rooftop terrace of the Port Co-Working Space in Oakland. Armstead offered a food extravaganza at the downtown venue overlooking Lake Merritt. Left to Right: Radio Producer Terry Adams and Chef Rashad Armstead. Photo by Carla Thomas.

For those with a taste of mouth-watering barbecue, look no further, Crave BBQ, a new blues house concept featuring live music opened in Richmond at The Shops at Hilltop in the 5,000-square-foot Suite D107. Owner Chef Rashad Armstead is living out his culinary dream in more ways than one.

Armstead recently hosted an after party at the rooftop terrace of the Port Co-Working Space in Oakland offering a food extrav­aganza at the downtown venue overlooking Lake Merritt.

Hundreds lined up at the upscale event with live music by West Oakland Blues Band. Guests experienced mini brisket biscuit sandwiches, fried fish, blue cornbread, macaroni and cheese, fried crab, potato salad and peach cobbler.

The event celebrated Rashad as the winner of the Food Net­work’s show, Chopped.

Attendees had the oppor­tunity to hear the winning an­nouncement first hand and cel­ebrate with Chef Rashad, his family, friends and fans.

Dressed in a bright turquoise suit and red bandana, Rashad thanked the crowd for attend­ing as a video screen looped Rashad on the show Chopped.

“In February, I applied to be on the show and by May we were taping,” he said. “This could not have happened at a better time, because I was con­sidering throwing in the towel on my dream. My message to everyone is, don’t ever give up, go after your dreams.”

Rashad shared the story of his learning the art of cooking from his great grandmother, grandmother, and mother. “My great grandmother (Sarah Raw­ls) had a legacy in Oakland,” he said. “She owned several restaurants in Oakland, wrote cookbooks and had a TV show and was beginning to expand in Los Angeles.” Rashad said complications along the way prevented his grandmother’s national expansion.

“Through her recipes, my great grandmother’s legacy lives on,” he said. Armstead recognizes that soul food may not be the healthiest but he says it is a part of a cultural legacy none-the-less. “Many people are moving away from soul food and consider it unhealthy, however, these recipes repre­sent our rich heritage and are a part of our history,” he said.

Oakland locals Lynette Jones Lipscomb attended with friend Deloris Whitehead-Joseph. “The food is delicious, I like the fried crab,” Lipscomb said. “I enjoyed everything especially the peach cobbler,” said White­head-Joseph. “The crust was perfect and the mac-and-cheese was oh, so creamy,” said White­head. Radio producer Terry Adams also enjoyed the event. “I’m so happy to celebrate Chef Rashad’s success and enjoy this great food.”

Rashad also owns Gram­mie’s Down Home Chicken and Seafood takeout at 3817 Market St. in Oakland.

“I want to expand and con­tinue to hire people in the com­munity and create jobs,” said Armstead. “I want to franchise my company as well. I want to show people that you can live your dream and I want to see others do the same.”

Crave BBQ is located at 1207 Hilltop Mall Road and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 12 noon to 7:00 p.m.

For more information visit: www.eatgrammies.com, www.icravebbq.com, or call (510) 547- 1249.

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