‘Chopped’ Alum Kyndra McCrary Creates Showcase For Black Women Chefs With Underground Supper Club



Imagine a seven-course culinary experience with meals prepared by your favorite celebrities’ private chefs that’s equal parts elevated dining and Labor Day cookout. That was the vibe of the inaugural Underground Supper Club, which took place in Los Angeles on Sunday, Sept. 17. Created by Chopped alum and chef Kyndra McCrary, the event, held at the live kitchen venue Ingredient Studios brought together creatives throughout the city for an evening of live music, libations, and lots of food crafted by four Black women chefs whose roots span the West Coast, Midwest, and the South. This includes McCrary, owner of the former Swift Café in Crenshaw who will soon open a new location in Hollywood Park.

“I just want you all to come to a dope spot with good food that’s not trash,” the chef jokingly told guests as dining service began at the top of the night. McCrary’s true motivation for starting the Supper Club is far more meaningful though, as she would reveal later into the evening. “Not only is this Black excellence but it’s also sharing the spotlight,” she explained. “These are all really dope chefs and I wanted to share the stage with each and every one of them.”

‘Chopped’ Alum Kyndra McCrary Creates Showcase For Black Women Chefs With Underground Supper Club

The theme for the menu was end of summer, which commenced with a presentation of seafood carnival rolls prepared by Johnene Breaux. Rapper Travis Scott is the main client of the chef, whose series Behind the Plate recently premiered during the ESSENCE Fest Film Festival. She’s currently working on bringing the show to television.

“A lot of times when you work with those types of clients, they see the plate, but they don’t see all of the stuff that it took to get the plate to them,” said the New Orleans native who has called LA home for the past six years.

Courtney Wright from Kansas City, MO, who cooks for LA Lakers’ star Anthony Davis, followed up Breaux’s first course with a plate of braised short ribs paired with sliced cold squash that was a pleasing mix of flavors, textures, and temperatures. McCrary then passed around a serving of grilled yellow and red watermelon with herbed ricotta and lime vinaigrette topped with basil and cornbread croutons to cleanse the palette and prepare diners for the heartier dishes of the night.

The first entrée, prepared by Wright, was her take on Bolognese and featured ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese and topped with parmesan and a citrus zest to capture summer flavors. The ground beef used in the pasta was imported from Italy through a company called Manzo based in Spokane, Wash. “These cattle have been fed on a special diet of hazelnuts, grapes, red wine, and garbanzo beans so you’ll be able to taste all of those flavors,” she explained to diners.

‘Chopped’ Alum Kyndra McCrary Creates Showcase For Black Women Chefs With Underground Supper Club

Next, McCrary returned with a plate of jerk salmon paired with rice and plantains. “I’m from San Diego so Latin-island fusion is kind of my thing,” said the chef who has Panamanian roots.

“Panamanians do the rice a little different than Jamaicans. We use coconut milk and today we have pigeon peas, which is very authentic for Panama. My grandma would also throw onions and thyme in the rice, so this dish is an ode to my grandma today.”

Lightening up the final offerings of the evening, California native Ty Stanford, who goes by Chef Ty, served a dish that had her favorite summer vegetable made two ways. The plate consisted of a poblano creamed corn and a corn and tomato medley topped with a cheese crip that sat on a bed of poblano crema, which was equal parts savory and spicy. For dessert, a Chopped-esque key lime pie was served, made with a crust that contained ingredients used in each of the chef’s dishes from the evening.

“It’s so nice to be with people who are not afraid to say your name in rooms,” said Stanford as she introduced her dish, underscoring the purpose of the night. “The camaraderie that we have here as Black women is so beautiful.”

‘Chopped’ Alum Kyndra McCrary Creates Showcase For Black Women Chefs With Underground Supper Club

The celebration of Black-owned businesses was intentional throughout the experience, which welcomed VIP guests early for a private wine tasting hosted by 1010 Wine Bar, Inglewood’s first and only wine bar owned by sisters Leslie and LeAnn Jones. Manly Hanz mobile spa also treated attendees to massages on site while PY Tenders bartending service served signature summer cocktails against a backdrop of soulful sounds from Ro’sean Langhum and Analog Village. Throughout the night, patrons were encouraged to send digital donations as a token of appreciation for the services they experienced and to ensure the first Underground Supper Club isn’t the last.

“We’re trying to come together and do something different where it’s not about competition,” said McCrary as the night ended. “It’s just about good vibes, good food and friendship. That’s what we’re trying to build here.”


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