Food Ambassadors Sought In Queens
Jackson Heights Food Group gathers at a monthly outing.
In late 2008, Jeff Orlick set out to create a local group to celebrate both ethnic cuisine and the vibrant communities of Western Queens. A little more than a year later, the Jackson Heights Food Group is branching out to accommodate Foodies across the City with the creation of its Ambassador Program.
Orlick said he started the gatherings after moving to the area and observing a void in the neighborhood’s social scene.
“I noticed people wanted to go to all great restaurants but had trouble getting their Manhattan and Brooklyn friends to come all the way to Queens,” he said.
Other community members sympathized with this sentiment. Steadily growing each month, the group, which started out with six members in October 2008, has swelled to more than 30 members at each event.
Orlick said he is not surprised by the number of Queens locals who have taken interest in the group.
“I said to my friend earlier on we’d have to start renting our restaurants because the hole is there in the neighborhood,” he said. “I knew if people found out about it they would go.”
Orlick said the monthly meeting is centered more around great company, a wide range of delectable dishes is merely an added bonus.
“It’s about meeting people, the food is secondary,” he said.
In order to deal with the group’s influx of people, attendees from all over the tri-state area and to cater to a more culinary crowd, Orlick has created the Ambassador Program.
“I’d like the Jackson Heights Food Group to be more of a neighborhood group, so I made the Ambassador Program specifically for the food,” he said. “It can be anywhere in the city, at any time. It’s a real exploration of the cuisine and the culture.”
The Ambassador Program will host a number of intimate meals across the city where an Ambassador, one familiar with a certain type of cuisine, will order for the group, explain the dishes and share insight about the culture the meal hails from with attendees.
The Ambassador Program will serve as a way to further the reach of the JHFG’s mission and allow other Foodies to share their expertise and take leadership roles.
Orlick is currently accepting applications for Ambassadors. So far, he has received applications from potential Ambassadors well-versed in Korean, Filipino and French food. The Ambassador Wish List on his site includes Ecuadorian, Jewish and Russian.
The Ambassador Program will hold its first meeting on Jan. 20.
Orlick said he looks forward to the launch of the Ambassadors program and 2010’s monthly gatherings. He encourages Queens residents looking for a good meal and the chance to mingle with some fellow food enthusiasts to join the group.
“It’s totally open to everyone,” Orlick said. “I never want to turn anyone away. All you have to do to join the group is want to go. You don’t even need reservations. Just come.”
The Jackson Heights Food Group will meet on Saturday, Jan. 16, at Louie’s, 81-34 Baxter Ave., Elmhurst, at 6:15 p.m. and ShangriLa Express, 72-24 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights, at 7:30 p.m. For more information about the Jackson Heights Food Group and the Ambassador Program, visit iwantmorefood.com/the-jackson-heights-food-group.
Reach Reporter Kaitlyn Kilmetis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128.
Bravest Take To The Ring For Charity
By DOMENICK RAFTER
The New York Fire Department Bravest Boxing Team will take some time off from fighting fires to challenge local amateur boxers this Saturday in their annual "Smoker" event at Christ the King High School.
The Jan. 16 event, which has been done twice before at the Catholic high school located at 68-02 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village, has brought out more than 1,000 people in previous years and will raise money for two charities important to the FDNY and Bravest Boxing Team.
The Wounded Warrior Project, seeks to help wounded soldiers who have been hurt serving their country get assistance they need. To date, the FDNY has raised over $40,000 for the Wounded Warriors Project. The second charity, Ring 8, is an association that helps retired and injured boxers with medical examinations, optical assistance and death benefits.
Doors will open at 7 p.m., and there will be at least a dozen bouts, beginning at 8 p.m., between firefighters on the Bravest Boxing Team and local amateur boxers from all over the New York City area.
"The event is a good chance for our local amateurs to tune up for the [New York] Golden Gloves," said Bravest Boxing Team coach Bob McGuire. The New York Golden Gloves is one of the most prestigious amateur boxing tournaments in the United States.
McGuire said the event is expected to be attended by some famous amateurs who came from the New York area, like Long Island-native Gerry Cooney and Bronx-native Iran Barkley.
The Bravest Boxing Team consists of FDNY fighters between 24 and 34 years of age from all over the city. They train on their own time, three times a week, and have competed all over the world fighting boxers from the NYPD, Los Angeles Police Department and Dublin Fire Brigade in Dublin, Ireland. They will compete in the upcoming World Police and Fire Games, to be held in New York in 2011.The annual "Smoker" event is just one of eight to 10 events the boxers do for charity throughout the year.
Tickets are $20 and available at the door. For more information, call (646) 872-1122.
Reach Reporter Domenick Rafter at email@example.com or (718) 357-7400 Ext. 125
Ayers Takes Jamaica Stage
On Saturday, Jan. 16, trailblazing music legend Roy Ayers will light up the stage with his sensational “Roy Ayers 40th Anniversary Concert,” at the historic Black Spectrum Theatre, located at Roy Wilkins Park, 177th Street and Baisley Boulevard, Jamaica.
In addition, hilarious comedian Gil-T brings his sidesplitting humor to the event playing the late iconic comedian and TV star Redd Foxx.
One of the most visible and winning jazz vibraphonists of the 1960s, then an R&B bandleader in the 1970s and ’80s, Ayers became one of the prophets of acid jazz, a man decades ahead of his time. A tune like 1972’s “Move to Groove” by the Roy Ayers Ubiquity has a crackling backbeat that serves as the prototype for the shuffling hip-hop groove that became ubiquitous on acid jazz records; and his relaxed 1976 song “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” has been frequently sampled. Yet Ayers’ own playing has always been rooted in hard bop: crisp, lyrical, and rhythmically resilient.
Brooklyn born comedian Gil-T, has been half of The Most Brothers Comedy Team for over 20 years. The team has opened for En Vogue at The Taj Mahal and The Comedy Stop at The Tropicana in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. They currently headline at The Borgata in Atlantic City and The Riviera Comedy in Las Vegas.
“We are very excited and honored to bring Roy Ayers back to the Black Spectrum Theatre with Gil-T,” said Carl Clay, Black Spectrum Theatre’s founder and executive producer. “It’s going to be a spectacular evening.”
Tickets are $25. For tickets and information call (718) 723-1800. Tickets are also available at the theater and online at blackspectrum.com.