Stacey McKenzie: The Scout, Jean Paul Gaultier, Workshops & Perseverance

 I randomly met up with Stacey McKenzie. Like many I know of Stacey but until now I did not really know her story. Stacey shares her inspiring story of passion as her anchor to accomplish her goal of being a model although everyone told her she did not have the “look”.  Stacey McKenzie (born in Kingston, Jamaica) is a global fashion model living in Toronto. She is a runway coach and most recently a model coach and judge on the Canadian reality television show Canada’s Next Top Model.

“I always wanted to model since I was 6yrs old..even though I was told I was never gong to make it..because your not pretty enough..you’re not beautiful..its never going to happen..I didnt listen to anybody..it hurt a lot. Throughout my life, I was always told that I’m not good enough, I’m not  beautiful..Im not pretty..its never going to happen for you..but its what you take from it..I refuse to let anyone  stop me from pursuing my dreams”

After being told, early in her career, that she was too distinctive for the Canadian market, she moved to New York. She was immediately picked up by Elite Model Management.
Unprepared for the challenges of a modeling career, McKenzie returned to Canada and finished high school. In 1995, she moved to Paris, France to pursue modeling further. During her first season, she modeled for top designers including Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler and Christian Lacroix. She also landed her first campaign with photographer Oliviero Toscani for Benetton.

In the wake of her initial success in Paris, McKenzie was commissioned to work in markets around the globe including Paris, London, Italy, Austria, US and Japan. She worked for Alexander McQueen, Betsey Johnson, Tommy Hilfiger, Todd Oldham, Michiko Koshino and Jean Paul Gaultier. Her magazine covers include Essence, Le Monde and Panache, as well as editorials in Vogue (US, Japan, Korea, Britain, Spain), Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, Flare, Fashion, and Vibe.

She has appeared in a number of major campaigns including Calvin Klein CK, Jean Paul Gaultier, MAC, Mexx, Reebok, Todd Oldham Jeans, Nordstrom, Barneys, and Banana Republic.

The Hotel Specialist@Hotel Bellclaire

 Henry and Daryl are childhood friends from Jamaica. After High School, Henry’s family moved to London and Daryl’s moved to NYC. Over a year ago, they launched The Hotel Specialist in NYC. They are hospitality “headhunters” for celebrities, fashion personalities and executives. Whether the client is 1 person or group, they promise the best service and price in NYC. .

Henry acquired his experience by working for the family business, RA Travel, which handles high-end clientele such as Justin Bieber, Alicia Keys in regards to cars, private jets, etc. Henry focused on the hotel side of the business. They started the business a year and half ago. Henry is the face of the company. Daryl is the business behind the company. Contact HenryWeathers@gmail.com.

Maxim Magazine’s Top 5 Best Dinners, #2 Spur Tree’s Oxtail Stew

  I was having my usual sorrel & ginger beer at Spur Tree catching up with owner/chef Sean John and I see a Maxim magazine on the bar. The Braised Oxtail is the 2011 #2 Best Dinners in America according to Maxim. And reggae artist  Sean Paul wrote the review  “When I’m in New York, I like Spur Tree down on the Lower East Side for authentic Jamaican food. It’s a small restaurant, but the taste of the food is huge. It keeps me coming back, especially when I’m homesick. They do an oxtail Jamaican-style, so it’s braised and stewed down. The meat’s really tender, and it’s served with a really thick sauce and rice and peas covered in gravy. It’s bone-lickin’ good. I was home recently and thought, Lemme make some oxtail. I did, but it wasn’t as good as theirs.”

I coax Sean outside and ask him the small story with Maxim, new items on the menu, we happily sample the new Jamaican-asian mini-jerk steam pork buns..so good….so good..u cant go wrong. ..and where the name Spur Tree originates. 2011 is Sean’s year. He was also selected by MACY\’s as 1 of the Top NYC Chefs.


			

SPUR TREE’s Sean John prepares Ackee & Cod Bruschetta @ MACY’S

Spur Tree was selected by MACY’s Culinary Council as one of NYC’s hottest restaurants and Owner/Chef Sean John was asked to prepare a dish for Black History Month @ MACY’s department store’s kitchen studio. He is preparing a Jamaican national dish with coco bread: Ackee and Cod Bruschetta. I included the recipe for us all to try at home.  Visit Sean at 76 Orchard Street (btwn Broome & Grand Streets) http://www.spurtreelounge.com/

Ingredients:

1 lb (500g) of salted cod

2 dozen fresh ackee pods or 3 cups (12 oz/350g) canned ackee

1 scotch bonnet or jalapeno chili, deseeded and sliced

2 spring onions

1 medium onion

1 medium tomato

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

2 loaves of coco bread

4 cherry tomatoes (for garnish)
DIRECTIONS:

1.Soak the salted cod in cold water for 3o minutes, then drain and place in a pan with 4 cups (1 liter) of water. Bring to a boil, drain, then break the fish into flakes with a fork. Set aside.

2. If using fresh ackee, romove them from the pods. Discard the seeds and gently remove the pink membranes with a sharp knife. Parboil the pegs of ackee by covering them with salted water in a medium saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat, drain and set aside.

3. Set up a large skillet over medium heat and heat oil. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the chili, sring onions, and onion and sute until tender. Add the salted cod, ackee, tomato and black pepper and cover low heat for minutes.

4. Open coco bread loaves and cut into 4 triangles. Warm in the oven for 1-2 minutes and plate.

5. Spoon the ackee and cod onto bread triangles and top with a halved cherry tomato.

Serves 4. Preparation time: 45 minutes, Cooking time: 15 minutes.

Lady Saw: Queen of Dancehall on Jamaica, “My Way”, Family, Kimora Lee & Farming

While at NYC’s Spur Tree restaurant , I noticed a woman wearing a leopard print with an array of people waiting to interview her. Sean (the owner of Spur Tree) said “she would be good for your small stories”. Meet Jamaican-born reggae singer and “Queen of Dancehall,” Lady Saw was the first female DJ to win a Grammy Award, and the first female to be certified triple platinum as a result of her work on No Doubt’s Underneath It All in 2003 after reaching #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Our conversation covers her upbringing in Jamaica, working with Eve, taking care of her family, farming , her favorite fashion brands, the origin of her name, how negativity drives her, her pets, her love of Kimora Lee and she freestyles. The multi-talented Jamaica native has had a hand in creating hits for artists like Beenie Man, Sizzla, Bounty Killer, Vegas, Vybz Kartel, Capelton and Spragga Benz. Her appeal has also resulted in dynamic collaborations with Gwen Stefani, Missy Elliot, Remy Ma, Trina, Nicki Minaj, Foxy Brown Michael Franti and Pharrell Williams

Stacey McKenzie: The Scout, Jean Paul Gaultier, Workshops & Passion

I randomly met up with Stacey. Like many I know of Stacey but until now I did not really know her story. Stacey shares her inspiring story of passion as her anchor to accomplish her goal of being a model although everyone told her she did not have the “look”. Stacey McKenzie (born in Kingston, Jamaica) is a global fashion model living in Toronto. She is a runway coach and most recently a model coach and judge on the Canadian reality television show Canada’s Next Top Model. After being told, early in her career, that she was too distinctive for the Canadian market, she moved to New York. She was immediately picked up by Elite Model Management. Unprepared for the challenges of a modeling career, McKenzie returned to Canada and finished high school. In 1995, she moved to Paris, France to pursue modeling further. During her first season, she modeled for top designers including Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler and Christian Lacroix. She also landed her first campaign with photographer Oliviero Toscani for Benetton. In the wake of her initial success in Paris, McKenzie was commissioned to work in markets around the globe including Paris, London, Italy, Austria, US and Japan. She worked for Alexander McQueen, Betsey Johnson, Tommy Hilfiger, Todd Oldham, Michiko Koshino and Jean Paul Gaultier. Her magazine covers include Essence, Le Monde and Panache, as well as editorials in Vogue (US, Japan, Korea, Britain, Spain), Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, Flare, Fashion, and Vibe. She has appeared in a number of major campaigns including Calvin Klein CK, Jean Paul Gaultier, MAC, Mexx, Reebok, Todd Oldham Jeans, Nordstrom, Barneys, and Banana Republic.

Joan Morgan: Poetry, Salsa, Jamaica & 3 Interpretations

Joan Morgan. Entrepreneur. Writer. Mother and loved and admired by many including yours truly. Joan was one the first people I met in NYC back in June 1992. This story was filmed at Joan’s Spur Tree Birthday soiree with 3 of her girlfriends sharing stories and qualities about Joan. Joan Morgan is an award-winning journalist and author and a provocative cultural critic. A pioneering hip-hop journalist and entertainent writer, she began her professional writing career freelancing for The Village Voice before having her work published by Vibe, Interview, MS, More, Spin, Giant and numerous other publications. Formerly the Executive Editor of Essence and one of the original staff writers at VIBE, Joan Morgan is the author of When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost — a fresh, witty, and irreverent book that marks the literary debut of one of the most original, perceptive, and engaging young social commentators in America today. Her work appears in numerous college texts, as well as books on feminism, music and African-American culture. She is currently teaches “The History of Hip-Hop Journalism” at Duke University.” So that’s what I do. Here’s a bit about who I am. I’m a Jamerican girl, born in hills of Westmoreland Jamaica and raised in the South Bronx whose been lucky enough to carve out a career writing about the things I care about most: among them hip-hop culture and the lives of black women. I have an amazing kid whose wit, courage, kindness and heart inspire and humble me everyday. I’m a New Yorker, a city girl through and through. I love great restaurants, stilettos, a good mojito and fine wine but I live in the country so I can hear myself think. I write from my office overlooking the river with my dog at my feet. All things considered its a pretty good life.

Belinda Becker: Mother, DJ, Dancer & New Yorker

 Before Belinda Becker became Belinda Becker the DJ-dancer-actress, she had noble aspirations of being a journalist. Or rather, thats what her strict Jamaican parents hoped shed become. They wanted me to be something concrete, like a journalist, doctor, lawyer—not something iffy, recalls the 40-year-old triple threat. [Theyd say], Freelance? How are you going to live? What kind of life is that? After graduating from the University of Florida and moving to New York, she knew that the corporate life was not her speed. So she quickly became a staple in the New York Citys club scene, deejaying at legendary clubs including Area and Nells, now at La Esquina and Spur Tree. She has acted in a range of foreign and indie American films, playing a prostitute who falls in love with musician in 1990s Los Angeles and working alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Giancarlo Esposito in 1994s Fresh. And since 2004, shes been dancing with Urban Tap, a respected collective of musicians and performers.

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