Flavor Finder Friday

On Friday, February 10th from 11pm-2am at Capital Club 16 of Raleigh, NC the Common Roots Soundsystem will be rocking the wheels of steel.

DJ Rhymic will be digging in the crates of a 20 year collection for a special all vinyl set.

Check the Common Roots Soundsystem page on this site for some sample mixes.

Be sure to sign up so you don’t miss any future events.

The Saltbox “Fresh Grease” Mixtape

I’m extremely excited to share with you the first mix of what will hopefully end up as a series.  The Saltbox “Fresh Grease” Mixtape was a collaboration with Chef Ricky Moore of Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham.  Chef Ricky gave me a list of songs that he’d love to hear on his mixtape and I helped with the special blend.

I’ve coined the series as the Molcajete Mixtapes.  This allows me another outlet to highlight some of my favorite local Chef’s and taste makers.  A creative way to promote their culture and brand by  creating a soundtrack that’s fitting to their style.

Please enjoy…


Oak City Soul Sessions

I couldn’t think of a better day to release Vol. 1, Side A of Oak City Soul Sessions than Dias de los Muertos / All Souls Day.   On this day in many places around the world we pay respects to those who have passed. We reflect on the lives of our family members and our loved ones. We remember their lives and send prayers. It’s a time to reflect back on the way things were, to reminisce.  A time to consider where we are now and how we relate to our past and the ancestors who came before us.

This most recent collection of music is a continuous mix curated by Common Roots Sound system (AKA DJ Rhymic) the self-proclaimed #flavorfinder in pursuit of all that is soulful while living in a city that’s in a state of constant flux. Raleigh, NC “the city of oaks” where old is often replaced with new. A southern city steeped in rich tradition in the midst of growing pains, trying to handle the surge of outsiders while trying to maintain its identity.  Conflicting issues of urban gentrification and planned communities with cul de sac’s and HOA’s are sprouting up like weeds upon land that once supported tobacco farms.  This newness can be nice but if this growth doesn’t #CultivateWholisticNourishment it sometimes lacks the character and charm and may lend to poor taste.  I’m in search of the faded signs of yesterday with that funk and yet in support of the new school, freshly painted, still wet to the touch signs of today over establishments that exude a new school soul with the right approach that brings brightness to this city. Come along and be explorers with us on this journey of finding flavor.

This juxtaposition has been the invocation for this latest series I’m calling Oak City Soul Sessions.  It’s a sampling of songs from the past and present, mixed in new and creative ways, paying respect to the artists and musicians who came before while appreciating the sounds that are touching to the soul at the moment.  My intention is to create mixes that blend different worlds together. Seamlessly intertwining new with old by digging in the crates but also searching out the freshest cuts. Peacefully crossing borders without barrier. Genre bending. Exploring songs of protest, songs of love, broken hearts and blues. A thoughtful selection of tracks that evoke a feeling. To bring awareness to current situations while looking back at examples from our past.  An exploration of flavor that may #CultivateWholisticNourishment. #findingcommonroots.

The intro to this mix brings awareness to current issues with an audio sample from  #RedWarriorCamp footage from #StandingRock  in Cannonball, ND. It transitions to the first track called “Ain’t no more flowers” by Deadbeat. If you’ve never had to worry about your water source then it’s never been an issue for you but if you’ve lived in areas of incredible drought, or experienced a crisis such as the one that happened in Flint, Michigan I’m sure you could have empathy for the situation in ND. No water=no flowers=a bleak situation. As the mix progresses it’s heavily drenched in dub/reggae, blues and soul styled beats (new and old).  Please enjoy and follow the site to keep posted on updates and the latest mixes.



flavor finds of the week-St.Croix, special edition

Last week I was still shaking sand out of my hair. My only real plan for the day was to get to the beach at some point.  I smelled like a mix of mosquito repellent and sunscreen and my skin stung a little because of the rookie mistake I made the first day of being there (I forgot to re-apply).

My wife, Tara and I were blessed with the opportunity to once again visit our good friends Joneb, Zandra and their amazing children Nyah and Adesh on St. Croix, USVI.  We lived there about 8 years ago for about 8 months and fell in love with the island.  My wife hadn’t been back since then but I had an opportunity to travel back a few years ago to help out with the islands public school system cafeterias when I worked with Chartwells. (https://homebasecooking.wordpress.com/)

Tara and I haven’t been to a ton of places in this world but maybe more than some and definitely not as many as others.  I love being able to travel and I think it’s an extremely important part of life.  It’s good to step away from your reality, and swerve outside of your lane every once in a while to gain a larger perspective.  To see how life is lived in other places, to become humiliated by misinterpreting certain local etiquette simply because the etiquette is different than where I’m from and what I’m used to is an important step toward personal growth.   I’m always hopeful to present myself as humble, open minded and courteous as I go and yet realize this is sometimes impossible in the eyes of the locals of where I’m visiting. I think it can be destructive to become too set in our ways, thinking the way you live is the only correct way.  Being truly open minded can be difficult but making an attempt is what will help us find common roots among our differences.

Sometimes we gain appreciation for where we live by traveling and sometimes we see things or scenery that we’d like to have become part of our own lives.  Before dropping everything, selling all of our belongings and hopping on the next plane, bus or automobile as I’ve done a handful of times, I’ve now learned that paradise may only really live in our dreams.  What happens when what we once considered paradise becomes our reality? After time passes, does that idea of paradise start to fade?  There’s always a give and take. There’s always positives and negatives, no matter what our scenery looks like from our window.  But I’ll tell you what, St. Croix will always have a special place in my heart.  There are some places you can actually absorb a feeling from.  Walking around some parts of the island you can feel the heavy history that it’s had.  You can feel the mystique when in the rain forest.  You can lose yourself in the ocean, feel weightless and become swallowed up by the blue sky and expansive vista.

For a week this was my view, my reality or just a glimpse of paradise..

We had a chance to stop by  our friend Zandra’s families food truck, Ruki’s Roti for a bite of chicken roti and double’s and chatted it up with Uncle for a bit. Such kind people, please stop by if ever close to K Mart West.

I’m really glade we got to make it to the Lareine farmers market! I could have learned so much from each vendor.  We found Nyah’s favorite fruit snack of Guineps, became star struck from randomly running into Ron Benjamin, bassist for the islands famous reggae group Midnite (http://www.midnite-culture.com/).  Picked up a snack of some ital vegan ice cream made with local fruits. We selected the banana, gooseberry and passion fruit flavors.

If you’re considering making the move and would love to try making this Caribbean dream part of your reality you’ll probably need a place to live.  I’m sure that my friend Joneb, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker can help you with any questions you may have and when you’re ready to purchase your home or snow bird getaway, he’s your man to help make that happen. (https://www.coldwellbankervi.com/page-joneb-cohen-hamann—st.-croix-real-estate-specialist-60.html)


It was about 2012, and the wax myrtle’s were in bloom.  I was finally feeling a little more settled in North Carolina but not really sure where to go hunting for vinyl.  I decided to “hop that hurdle” (thus the title of the mix) and shake things up a bit. I purchased a Numark CD/MP3 controller which  allowed me the ability to purchase tracks online which gave me a bit more freedom and a wider selection at my fingertips. My preferred method is flipping through dusty bins in a physical store and supporting my locals but it’s becoming more and more difficult to find an actual record store. This set ping pongs back and forth between vinyl and CD.  Some old classic house tracks mixed in with the tracks from that year.  Filtered, dubby, indie dance, nu disco burners for your eardrum’s. Enjoy!

Stay tuned-in and follow along to get the most recent DJ Rhymic mix’s.

Meet Sean Clements-Percussionist for Alvin Ailey dance foundation.

Sean Clements, DJ/Producer/re-mixer speaks on the Tao way, the power of the drum and a shared inspiration.

Sean, this is my first interview for Common Roots Project with a musician/DJ/producer.  When thinking about how music can Cultivate Wholistic Nourishment you were one of the first people I thought of who I believe sort of embodies this mantra.  I’ve known of you from growing up in Buffalo, NY back in the early 90’s probably.  Since I’ve known you I’ve always considered you to be a positive big brother type figure (thank you for that).  I’d love to welcome you to become part of the EFECT (Exploratory Flavor Education Collaborative Team).  So to start, I was hoping you could in a few sentences maybe try to explain what your “flavor” is?  Give us the abstract if you will of what it is that makes you unique.


My flavor changes based on the needs for the day. From traditional percussion, to Jamaican/Puerto Rican dancehall, to dubstep/grime, to bass house music to pop remixes/mashups to a gully street dance playing the latest music for the kids.

When I’m making music to “express myself” & “be creative” (ex. not necessarily “work”).  I’m drawing from all these sources & influences that I mentioned to synthesize something new. I don’t think I’ve ever made something TOTALLY new, but I’ve stumbled on some unique hybrids that I’m happy with.

What makes what I do unique is that nobody has ever done remixes of Puerto Rican Bomba. There is nobody else remixing dub/hip hop/dubstep versions of Bollywood songs.  I don’t know anybody that is on my level as a percussionist that is also a working music producer/remixer/DJ.

In my opinion finding spiritual nourishment can play a huge roll in the creation of music.  Believe it or not, I’ve also always considered you to be a pretty spiritual dude.  Do you believe that music has the power to bring folks closer to spirituality and is there a type or style of music that does this more than others for you?


I believe people are spiritual & music can help us tap into that. For instance, I can go there when I drum. I believe the interactions between a drummer and dancers improvising are purely spiritual. Once the blood is pumping, the senses heightened, two or more people can communicate in ways that they both physically react instantaneously & without mediation.  For instance, drummers learn to interpret movements by playing sounds exactly how a dancer is moving while she’s improvising a solo. That kind of stuff happens in the spaces between moments & to me are beyond explanation other than “the spirit moved us”.

On some other vibes, did I mention it’s good to hit things? Man nothing can take stress away from you like hitting something for a couple of hours.

Music that opens me up? I love old school gospel & coming from the same source old school reggae. Also from a similar source, Sade.  Basically blues.  That can be deep house that comes from the soulful side. Oh yeah, I LOVE pow-wow style native singing.  I’ll leave “Northern Cree” on BLAST for days sometimes. Lots of different “world” music’s & the different subtleties they have in their music do that to me. I LOVE KORA and balafon from West Africa. Oh & “rhythm and sound” from Germany. But Sade. Whew! Love that woman


Some people have multiple outlets of obtaining a personal feeling of nourishment.  If my memory serves me correctly here, I thought you also were a student of the Brazilian martial arts form of Capoeira? If that assumption is correct, could you tell us a little more about that and fill us in on any other outlets you might have that help to bring you inner peace?

I do love capoeira, but I haven’t done that since right after I moved to NYC. Although we did do a class in Ethiopia that was DOPE! That said, I did have a chance to study with Joao Grande & his soldiers while I was here.  It was more of a trial run for me though, because it was too expensive for me & there was too much of a scene built up around him for my personal comfort level.  No disrespect to the Mestre who was beautiful & welcomed me.

In terms of physical activities that bring me peace, I still deal with Taoist meditation the healing smile, 6 healing sounds, Taoist chi kung & other systems that’ve been taught by Mantak Chia & his universal healing Tao system.

I LOVE to hike in the mountains around NYC. I love swimming. More than anything (besides drumming), I love to be with my family. I have a 6 year old daughter named Love & a wife, Rhiannon. When I’m with them & everything is clicking I don’t have a care in the world.

I still love the sweat lodges. I’ve never really found another one like the Tuscarora nation sweat with Tah-weh-dah-qui, but I HAVE found that going to the spa in Jersey with a BULHANJEUNGMAK (Korean style sauna) is pretty close to the temperature & the place it brings me internally. The sweat lodge was my first (and really only) “church” that I’ve felt like spoke to ME. I’m pleased to have been on this sweat lodge warrior path for so long.


When thinking about wholistic, to me, this not only takes into consideration health and wellness for ourselves but that of our community.  As I was checking out your profile recently it seems as though you also have your hands in some community work.   Could you inform us on what that might look like for you?


almost all the work I’ve done for the last 20 years has been in black and brown communities in Buffalo and NYC (with a 1/2 year stint in Pittsburgh) bringing drum and dance to young people. I remember a conversation with one of the old spiritual leaders of Buffalo, Baba Simba. He told me that “it wasn’t for me to carry a weapon, but that all I needed to do is to keep playing my drum & all the blessings would come.” That the DRUM was my weapon. Since then, I’ve made it my business to either teach drums, accompany dance classes or teach music production/songwriting.  Currently, I work at Alvin Ailey dance foundation, and dance theatre of Harlem. 2 of the most famous dance companies ever & certainly 2 of the most successful black dance companies. I also work for a small non-profit called “music ascension”.


What would you say is your “soul food”?  What is the meal or type of food that really speaks your language?  That bite that can make you feel like you’re “home” every time you eat it?


Man! I’m still crazy about North Indian food. I’d eat sushi every day if I could. I LOVE gnocchi. & authentic German wheat beers (like Weihenstephaner). I’m currently doing my annual juice fast.  In fact, as of this writing I’m 3 weeks deep in a 4 week long fast. BUT that thing that makes my toes curl up & I could have it for every meal ever is probably good ol’ rice & beans.  My wife makes me eat it with quinoa these days. I make mine with coconut milk instead of tomato sauce & spice it Puerto Rican style. I usually put an egg or 4 on top & put Siracha, sour cream & avocados to top it off.


There are some people that we meet in life that can really inspire and make a positive imprint on a person’s life.  Sean, you and I had a friend in common that I believe may have made an impact on both of our lives.  Mr. Muchina Johnson, known to most as Moonie G or Moon G.  I first met Moonie at Erie Community College City campus in Buffalo, NY.  He was incredibly outgoing and we shared many similar passions such as art, hip hop, dancing and learning about other peoples cultures.  We ended up starting the Humanities Club there on campus which I can attribute to being some of the building blocks to my thinking’s in the creation of the Common Roots Project.  Unfortunately we lost Moonie to cancer in the early 2000’s but I think it’s a blessing that some of his teachings and energy may live on.  Are you able to share some of the ways in which Moonie may have been an inspiration to you?     

Moon G
Moonie G circa 1996?



Moon G was one of the best friends I’ve had in my entire life. At a time when parts of my life were out of control, Moon appeared. By his presence & occasionally his counsel, he helped re-direct, re-focus and diffuse some of that energy. We had a two-way relationship in which we enriched EACH OTHER.  His kids & his widow call me “Uncle Sean” they hit me up and ask about my daughter.  You know? Its family.  Before we met, he’d never been to the South towns (outside of Buffalo, NY).  He never walked on a trail, never meditated, never been to an EDM party. I believe he created a solid vision of his life outside Fillmore Street neighborhood (where he was practically the mayor) Though, through our excursions together, I believe seeing me move through different environments, racial groups, social sets, class barriers encouraged him to take the concepts he’d been evolving through the Humanities Club from the club and his close group of friends into the direction of his life. And on the other hand, Moonie showed me what being a great, active Dad and big brother by somebody in my age group looked like.  Moonie took me to my first hip hop set AND turned me on to Krs-One.  Moon is the one who got me the interview with Marvin at the African Cultural Center which turned into a 3-year job as a percussionist.  He was also instrumental in me feeling comfortable enough with myself to understand myself as a multiracial person. He was able to reinvent himself when he moved to Atlanta & became a suburban dad for those last few years. He brought his kids out to live with them & they had a big old “Brady bunch” family which is how he lived out his last years.

Above all, Moonie and I LAUGHED AND LAUGHED at each other, with each other, through agonizing pain, and through silly situations.  The power of charisma, humor, strength and confidence.  This man was the real deal & I am blessed and honored to have had known him & to be truly loved by this great friend. Truth be told, I still talk to him today.


So what’s next for Brotha Sean, AKA DJ Ceiba? Where do you see yourself in the not so far future?

I’ve been investing heavily in personal development & business acumen.  Especially in time, effort and money.  I study online marketing for music producers.  I’m at a place where I want to sell drum classes online with a team of partners.  I’m also interested in selling my music productions to various media such as artists, films, video games, commercials and so on. I’m considering moving to Portland to join their industrial farming sector (I’ve already been making connections in their EDM & traditional drumming scenes).  My physical and mental health of my wife and the social and intellectual health of my daughter are MAJOR factors in that decision.  Also, another positive is that I’d be moving right into a gig there.  The west is the mecca for the healing of the nation.  I believe that as laws change across the country that having knowledge, experience and expertise in that industry can make the difference in the type of life I lead and the legacy I’m able to leave to my next generations.

Farm & Food Story Telling Event

This past June the Common Roots Project helped with an event held at the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) in downtown Raleigh called the Farm and Food Storytelling Project.  The purpose was to showcase North Carolina’s diverse farming and food traditions with a celebratory pot luck.

This was indeed a #flavorfinder endeavor.  Please read exerpts of the press release from the event below..

In celebration of North Carolina’s hidden foodways narratives our purpose was to showcase stories from African American landowners in the Sandhills, a Burmese community farm in Orange County, and the gardens of a Bhutanese refuge family in North Raleigh. Images and oral histories detail the rich intersections of food and culture in these farming families, and will invite event attendees to investigate questions of belonging and identity, roots and immigration.

“Inspired by culinary champion James Beard’s quotation “food is our common ground, a universal experience,” the celebration will also invite attendees to share their own stories over a potluck dinner together. Main dishes that explore the tastes and flavors of the farms profiled will be provided, with potluck sides and desserts brought by attendees, who should come hungry!

The project is aligned with CAM Raleigh’s current Ease of Fiction exhibit, and the museum will be open as the event explores our unique cultures and our shared experiences using food and farm as lens. With food continuing to trend as an entry point into culture, politics, and health, and with the call for attention to “the seemingly forgotten agricultural story of people of color” (The Color of Food, Bowens 2015), the event is timely in inviting attendees to celebrate and complicate who and what comes to mind when they think North Carolina foodways.
The Farm and Food Storytelling Project is led by Melanie Allen and Laura Fieselman. Allen is an oral historian and Diversity Program Director for the Conservation Trust of North Carolina. Fieselman is a foodways scholar and manages UNC-Chapel Hill’s Social Innovation Initiative. Both were Toyota TogetherGreen Fellows, a collaboration between Toyota and the Audubon Society that supported the fieldwork for this project. Event partners and sponsors include CAM Raleigh, the Conservation Trust of North Carolina, Bit and Grain, The Chef’s Academy, On the Edge NC, and Transplanting Traditions Community Farm.”
When: June 1, 2016 at 6:00pm
Where: CAM Raleigh, 409 W. Martin Street, Raleigh
Additional information: http://www.bitandgrain.com/events/farm-food-storytelling-event

Here are some pics from the event provided by On the Edge NC photographer www.cesarcarrasco.com

DJ Rhymic

This year marks my 20th year of digging in the crates and #findingflavor as a DJ.   I bought my first pair of turntables in 1996 from a wedding DJ that was happy to get rid of his Technic 1200’s because CD’s became the popular format of choice at the time. I was 18 but would have purchased them sooner if I could. I grew up as a Hip Hop kid and dove head first into the culture and each of its four different elements (Deejaying, Rapping, Graffiti, and Break dancing).

Growing up in Buffalo NY at that time there was a place to go out dancing just about every night of the week. Going out to these venues I began to appreciate other genres of the DJ culture that were emerging in the scene and these different variations began to filter through these clubs. I began to build an appreciation for House music. I loved dancing and that’s the main reason I went out. House had a particular style of dancing that wasn’t as rigid as break dancing is. There was more fluidity to the movement that I really enjoyed and people could really push their individuality and style. I realized how unifying the format was. You didn’t have to know a language to “get it”, the beat is universal, it has the power to speak to people in a very primal part of their souls. The dance floor was diverse, people had unique styles of dancing and would vibe off of one another. I was hooked. It Cultivate’s Wholistic Nourishment in this way for me.

My friends and I would have DJ sessions at house parties and clubs in which we would each take turns playing a couple records each so we could express our style of mixing and try to impress one another with our track selection. Hunting the perfect beat was an ongoing endeavor. In Buffalo, NYC definitely had an impact on our style but we would often take trips up to Toronto which was only a couple hours away and enjoy the massive underground parties and incredible record stores it had.

Around 1995-96, I spent about 8 months in Charlotte, NC which was probably at the height of the “rave” scene in the US. I was part of a fun, fresh and exciting scene there. People were open minded and hungry for experiencing something new. I found myself spending much of my time spinning records in bars/venues of the NoDa district such as Fat City  (There is still a sign on the building where it once stood). After a club owner was arrested at the bar I was going to manage, it kind of put a damper on things but made me realize I wanted to go back to school. I headed back home soon after this incident and started a deep house night with my partner in crime DJ Zuk called Deep Soul Plug at a place called the Rendezvous. It was a Sunday night gig because that’s what the owner would allow me. I was amped-up, and made the best out of it. I was a cook at the bar. After making gumbo ya-ya and slinging po’ boys I’d go in the back and move the tables out of the way to make room for my tables. It was successful. I was always impressed with the numbers of people we were able to get to come down. This became my “church” and spiritual outlet. It’s not just about picking a good song, its reading the crowd, dimming the lights, lighting a candle, or maybe burning some incense to allow people the opportunity to get to where you want them to go with you. We weren’t DJ’s, I called us atmosphere technicians.

As I became enthralled with house music my heart was pulling me to the West Coast. I wound up in San Francisco. I brought my tables with me and tried to pick up the vibe from that town. This was 2001, right after the dot-com crash and 9/11 just happened when I was there so the economy was a bit of a mess. The homeless population was insane which weighed heavy on my constitution. Getting a job in my field at that time was challenging for me.  I interned at OM records for a bit and worked at People’s cafe on Haight st. slinging espresso to all the crazies. The vibe i felt and what was portrayed on the music I collected at the time which was kind of filtered, fragmented, dark, dubby, bass heavy and deep. Sort of a techno-deep house kind of vibe. After SF, I wound up in Queens, NY for about 6 years.  In this time I pursued my passions to become a Culinary professional (Chef Ryan).  Learning about different foods, and cultures while being submerged in them is what I coined the  “Bodega Boogaloo” era for me.  It was more of a multi-cultural sound that was mixed in with the disco dub and DFA record label sound that became big at the time. I felt more at home and more grounded here, I think I’m more of an east coast kind of guy. Once the city got too hot, it was off to St. Croix, USVI, limin’ on the reggae and Caribbean sounds of the island. The last 6 years, I’ve been residing in North Carolina trying to put down what I’ve been feeling here.

Now this brings me to a point where I should explain how I define the art of the mix. In my opinion, a good DJ mix will take people on a journey, there should be waves to keep people hanging on as you take them along for the ride. It’s the DJ’s story, a portrayal of their flavor and what they’re feeling or where they’re from. It’s what move’s them.  It’s hoping the listener can get on board and enjoy it just as much or more.

Please check out and enjoy these links to mixes I’ve recorded….Common Roots Sound System

Flavor Finds Of The Week-7/25/16

As we approached the last couple days of the term at The Chef’s Academy I was thankfully able to pull together a few last minute events for the student’s before they move on.

For the Garde Manger/Classic French cuisine class we did something I called “The Big Plate Up”. It was a challenge between two students in which the pick up of the dish was the focus.  The grading was based primarily on plate presentation and execution of prep.

They had one day to plan and prep and then a 15 minute pick up window to get two identical plates out.  I had some great Chef’s come down to help me judge the final dishes.  It was a great pleasure and honor to have Chef’s Jake Wolf from Capital Club 16 (http://www.capitalclub16.com/Capital_Club_16/Home.html), James Castellow of Zest Cafe and Home Art (http://www.zestcafehomeart.com/) and  Njathi Wa Kabui (Chef Kabui) of Organics and Sound (http://organicsandsound.com/) come visit.  Being able to listen to them talk a bit about their stories and experiences is so important and motivating to the students and to myself.

The Big Plate Up judges
From left to right- Chef Kabui, Chef James and Chef Jake.


Chef Kabui found a good opportunity to discuss food policy and the importance food plays in many other aspects of life and politics. Check it out below…


As the meat fabrication class finishes up, I thought it would be interesting to try to switch gears to get them thinking about their next class which is Baking and Pastry and what better place to do this than Boulted Bread in Raleigh, NC? (http://www.boultedbread.com/#!journey/c24vq)

Baker Josh Bellamy took time out of his crazy day to explain their process with us.  He spoke about their humble beginning, the hustle of just getting the doors open and explained why they go the extra mile in order to constantly try to improve the flavor of their dough.  These guys win the #flavorfinder award for the month!! Josh explains their process from procuring the correct type of grain, to milling it in-house on their home-made stone mill, the fermentation process they use and why many of their baked products have a bit of a deeper, darker crust.

Friday afternoon I headed out to Chapel Hill, NC to talk with Kathy Ellis Gunn about Midway Community Kitchen (http://www.midwaycommunitykitchen.com/) the amazing place she’s started up  in hopes of getting people back in the kitchen cooking again.  I loved the space, it’s set up perfectly for teaching classes, holding pop-up events and can also be used as a business incubator.  It was a great pleasure speaking with her and getting fired up by her positive energy.  I hope our brainstorming session will lead to something fantastic.


When I worked with Chartwells for the Chappel Hill-Carrboro City Schools for a few years I would often enjoy a biscuit or sandwich from Neal’s Deli (http://nealsdeli.com/) and thought I’d stop by for a late lunch before leaving the area, it was amazing as always.  I had to snap a pic of Chef/Owner Matt Neal’s shirt before heading out…

“Make America Grits Again”


One more!!

Raleigh NC is changing so quickly that it’s becoming pretty difficult to keep up with all the latest openings.  Since my neighbor, Andrew Shepherd clued me in about his latest venture I’ve been waiting patiently in anticipation. He mentioned it was going to be a cafe that serves breakfast and sandwiches and would be located in The city market district. They named it Cafe Lucarne (https://www.facebook.com/cafelucarne/?fref=ts) I stopped by on Saturday late afternoon to say hi and check it out.  I loved the vibe. There’s no doubt that this is my kind of place. You can get good quality food, very well thought out combinations with great flavor at a reasonable price. I had the merguez sausage sandwich and chick pea salad and it was on point! I can see this becoming my new favorite place. I snapped a couple pictures to give y’all a feel of the vibe.  It was late in the afternoon so there weren’t too many customers at the time. I don’t think it will matter what time of day it is, I have a feeling that soon enough if they’re open, these guys might not have time to sit down.

I hope you enjoyed some of my Flavor Finds for the week and encourage you to go #findflavor in your neighborhood.


Buffalo NY Pastry Chef, Liz Van Every’s Semolina-Raisin-Fennel Sour Dough recipe

Liz Van Every

Meet Liz Van Every, Pastry Chef from Buffalo, NY. She graduated from culinary in 2002 and has since earned a certificate in Holistic Nutrition. In November 2015 she opened Word of Mouth Bakeshop in Buffalo. She’s all about down to earth food that has a sense of cultural history. She’s also an avid gardener and knitter. In the winter she has an Etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/sagehomecrafts) where she sells her home knit goods.


Recipe name: Semolina raisin fennel sour dough

Ingredients: AP flour 6 oz
Semolina flour 17 oz
water 12 oz
salt .58 oz
fennel .48 oz
golden raisin 5 oz
mature levain 13 oz
yeast (instant) 1g

Procedure: Soak raisins in 2 to 3 oz hot water for 20 minutes drain before mixing
(If your kitchen is warm use cold water. as cold as you can get out of the faucet)
mix AP, semolina, water, salt and levain (add yeast for same day bake)
mix on 1st speed for 4 to 5 minutes then 1 minute on 2nd
be careful not to over hydrate. Semolina dough go from hydrated to leaking water pretty quickly.
add raisins and fennel once developed. Incorporate on 1st.
Bulk ferment 1 hour with single fold
approximately 2 – 1.5# loaves I usually make batards with an overnight rest in the fridge but would work in greased loaf pans or batard for same day bake.
Bake at 450 till internal temp is 205.

note: There are 2 types of flour in this recipe, semolina durum and regular white flour. I stick with King Arthur because it’s unbromated but any all purpose would work. As for final proof after shaping its about 30 minutes could go to 45 on a cold day.

recipe yield: 2 large loaves

Story behind recipe (ex.family tradition? Who taught it to you?): This bread seems perfect for a St Joseph’s table. It makes great french toast. I learned it working in a bakery in Buffalo, NY in 2011. Since then I make it a couple times year at home for winter holidays. Works great with cranberries instead of golden raisins. I’ve added pine nuts and sesame seeds to this recipe. I’ve also occasionally added cooked millet to the recipe, just be careful with the temperature and hydration if you try that.

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