Channing Centeno, a half-Black, half-Filipino chef, has been cooking and giving away free food for protesters in McCarren Park located Williamsburg in New York. He carries aluminum trays filled with Latin and Filipino food in the park. Centeno makes anywhere between 80 to 150 servings of food a day.
What We Know:
Black News Alerts had the opportunity to conduct a Q&A phone interview with Centeno. We talked about his Purple Pineapple Project and what its goals are in the future.
Question: Can you talk more about the Purple Pineapple Project?
- Centeno: “When everything started happening here in New York, it was kind of scary. With everything going on in the world with the protests, I myself didn’t participate because I know how I react to things, my temper, and I knew I’d end up getting arrested or in trouble or worse. I wanted to help find a way to contribute to the cause. Cooking and serving people is what I do.”
Question: What’s next for the Purple Pineapple Project?
- Centeno: “I want to have artists show up for work, I want to amplify and showcase Black yoga teachers, cooks, artists. I’m going do teaching a yoga class at the park. I’m trying to do a big art exhibition at the park, I’m having a luau for Elijah McClain.”
Question: You mentioned a lot of protesters have been helping you out. Do you have anyone helping you on the project?
- Centeno: “I work very closely with my friend Sam, who is also Filipino, and she’s one of the best bartenders in the world actually. She’s been helping me out a lot, she’s basically my partner on it. My other friend helps me cook and pass out food every week. I have so many people coming to help, so many people offering to help. I have random people on Instagram hitting me up saying, ‘Can I come help?’ It’s great having a helping hand, it’s really really great. Especially working in the hospitality industry, we’ve been wanting something to do, we’re not used to just sitting down and not doing anything.”
Question: What are you hoping to teach others from what you are doing? What do you hope they’ll learn?
- “I hope they find ways to try and alternate the fight. I mean you’re meeting people in the front line, protestors speaking out and being loud. Once you start to use your own challenge, things that you enjoy doing, it will appear less like work and more fun and satisfying.”
To see a tour of Centeno’s kitchen, check out Eater NY’s Instagram feed and learn more about his work and how to support the McCarren Park protesters.