In celebration of Black History Month, Fordham welcomed acclaimed Harlem restaurateur Sylvia Woods, “the Queen of Soul Food,” to Rose Hill’s Marketplace for a cooking demonstration and lunch on Feb. 13. Sylvia’s, which celebrated its 45th year of business at the same upper Manhattan location this year, brought a taste of African-American culinary heritage to Fordham students, who eagerly lined up for beef brisket, three-potato mash, and a three-green sauté prepared by Sylvia’s chef Calvin Jenkins and Michael DeMartino of Sodexo Campus Services.
Jenkins and DeMartino, dressed in the restaurant’s vivid pepper-bedecked shirts designed by Nicole Miller, explained how the brisket’s dry rub was applied, and the secret ingredients to Sylvia’s famous mashed potatoes (roasted garlic and sour cream). Woods, 81, made a brief appearance, posing with members of Asili, the University’s African-American student organization, and surprising Sodexo staff with a quick tour of the kitchen. The meal was prepared with the help of Sylvia’s Family Soul Food Cookbook (Morrow Cookbooks, 1999), one of a variety of items the restaurant offers for sale on its website. The Fordham University campus television station, Channel 10-EIC T.V., taped the demonstration for future broadcast.