The buzz surrounding The Cecil in Harlem just continues to evolve. After receiving rave reviews following their opening last year, the hotspot has hit another milestone: The restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine, Joseph Johnson (pictured), has been featured on Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” list of movers & shakers.
Johnson was recognized by the magazine for his ability to throw down in the kitchen and comprise dishes that take our taste buds beyond their imagination. Chef Johnson’s dishes have brought celebs out to Harlem, including legendary songstress Mariah Carey and her hubby Nick Cannon. “Last year I said, ‘What does it take to be on the Forbes list?’” he told the Daily News. “[Then] I woke up (Monday) morning — and I’m on the list.”
Cooking has long since been a tradition in Johnson’s family. His grandmother, who is a Puerto Rican native, schooled him on ethnic recipes early on in his life. After seeing a commercial on television for the Culinary Institute of America, Johnson knew that being a part of the culinary industry was his calling.
Attending the school gave him experience working at several restaurants, including Centro Vinoteca, Tribeca Grill, and Jane. Chef Johnson was also the winner of Bravo’s “Rocco’s Dinner Party.”
The chef of the Afro-Asian-American brasserie is humbled by the Forbes mention. “On my Twitter, I say ‘This one’s for Harlem,’” he said.
Read more about the culinary scene in Harlem on Meet Me Uptown.