If you’re unfamiliar with the work of Chef Rasheen, you may remember him from the Uptown Soul Food Pop-Up Restaurant. On June 7th, Chef Rasheen is venturing out on a new journey with the Guilty Pleasures Desserts Pop-Up Lounge. The first of its kind in Philadelphia, the Pop-Up Lounge will showcase signature cocktails & decadent desserts. We had a few minutes to sit down with Chef Rasheen to discuss his vision for the Pop-Up Lounge and his plans for the future.
Uptown Soul Food: How long have you been in the culinary field?
Chef Rasheen: I have been cooking since I was about six or seven years old. I decided to take cooking more seriously as a teen while enrolled at Swenson Arts & Technology High School. The school offered cooking classes, competitions and great opportunities; things that I didn’t have access to at home. I decided then that I wanted to be a chef.
Uptown Soul Food: What is your favorite type of dish or cuisine to prepare?
Chef Rasheen: My favorite type of food to prepare is comfort food /soul food. I like to take home style favorites and give them a “restaurant twist”.
Uptown Soul Food: How did you get involved with Uptown Soul Food?
Chef Rasheen: I got involved with Uptown Soul Food through Takia McClendon. She informed me about the idea of hosting a pop-up restaurant and showed me the passion she had for changing the way we as America’s eat. I gladly jumped on board with the project when I learned the benefits of a plant base diet.
Uptown Soul Food: What is the Guilty Pleasures Desserts Pop-Up Lounge?
Chef Rasheen: The Guilty Pleasures Dessert Pop-Up Lounge is my interpretation of what would happen if the dessert cafe met a night club. I wanted to make fun, sexy and tasty desserts and pair them with delicious dessert-inspired cocktails in a night club atmosphere. There will also be a live DJ while so attendees can dance the night away.
Uptown Soul Food: What inspired you to host the Pop-Up Lounge?
Chef Rasheen:Uptown Soul Food: I was inspired to do the pop-up after working with Takia on the Uptown Soul Food Vegetarian Pop-Up Restaurant. After preparing and working through the logistics of the Uptown Soul Food Pop-Up, I realized that this is something I could do as well. I contemplated the idea for a while and my family pushed me to go ahead and pursue it. I also thought it would be a great addition to the Philly night club scene. I feel as though young professionals would be interested in a “new” way of partying in the city.
Uptown Soul Food: So what’s on the menu?
Chef Rasheen: The menu consists of S’mores egg rolls with chocolate drizzle and gram cracker crumble, jasmine caramel fruit stir fry topped with ginger infused Vanilla bean ice cream, Cinnamon sugar doughnuts with triple berry compote and vanilla icing drizzle, the Guilty Pleasures strawberry short cake. And for cocktails, I have the pineapple upside down cake Martini, Strawberry Kiss, the Lillet peach cobbler and the passion fruit mousse cake. The dessert menu is Vegetarian friendly (sorry vegan friends) but three of the four cocktails are both vegan and vegetarian friendly.
Uptown Soul Food: What’s next for Chef Rasheen?
Chef Rasheen: I’m planning the next menu for the Guilty Pleasures Dessert Lounge. I would to do small series of the dessert lounge if we get a good response and I am looking to I have to do a few catering gigs as well.
The Guilty Pleasures Dessert Pop-Up Lounge will take place on June 7th at Galleria Isada, 3320 Collins Street in Philadelphia. Doors open at 9:00PM. Tickets for the Guilty Pleasures Pop-Up Lounge can be purchased at Guiltypleasurespopup.bigcartel.com and Chefranderson.worldpress.com. Check out the event’s official Facebook page. Follow Chef Rasheen on Twitter @ChefRasheen.