Chef Chris Scott

Celebrating seven generations of family history through culinary traditions, soul food, and the feel good food moments that need to be shared
Photo courtesy of Butterfunk kitchen

Chris Scott spent years running restaurants and cooking for elite dignitaries like Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela. Now, he and his wife, Eugenie Woo, own Butterfunk Kitchen, a soul food/juke joint restaurant that is heritage cooking at its finest. Chris competed in this year's season of Bravo TV's Top Chef and made it to the final four.

As part of our 2018 AFROPUNK weekend experience, we partnered with Chris and Eugenie to host a special multi-course, family-style dinner at their Windsor Terrace restaurant.

The following post is part of a Q&A series with the artists, chefs, curators, and business owners we partnered with to celebrate the cultural force that is Brooklyn.
Left: Photo courtesy of Butterfunk Kitchen / Right: Photo courtesy of NBCUniversal
Tell us something about you and /or Butterfunk Kitchen we wouldn't know from reading your bio.
Butterfunk Kitchen is more than just a place to eat good food, it's where we tell a story and come together to honor our cultural heritage through the food we cook.
In creating Butterfunk Kitchen, we traced back my family line through seven generations to Rappahanock, Virginia. With the freedom that was granted by the Emancipation Proclamation, my ancestors journeyed north to Pennsylvania near the Amish country where the Quakers were known to have taken a stand against slavery.

Through this exploration, I've learned so much about myself, my family and heritage from understanding not only what we cooked but also why. At Butterfunk Kitchen, I share stories of my ancestors and their impactful lives, through the triumphs and tragedies alike. I strive to challenge the common perception of soul food as simply fried chicken and waffles. Rather, it's the deep history that gives it "soul" and only by embracing the roots of this cuisine, can it be fully recognized and appreciated with the dignity it deserves. In the end, Butterfunk Kitchen is more than just a place to eat good food, it's where we tell a story and come together to honor our cultural heritage through the food we cook.

Aside from that, one thing people don't often realize is that operating a restaurant is not an easy task. People view the accolades without realizing the work it takes to make it happen.
When and how did you first discover your passion for food?
It's something that's always been within me. Different aspects of that passion reveal itself to me at different times. Sometimes it's about the food and ingredients, sometimes it's about technique and history, and sometimes it's about the act of giving.
It's the deep history that gives it "soul" and only by embracing the roots of this cuisine, can it be fully recognized and appreciated with the dignity it deserves.
Photo courtesy of Butterfunk Kitchen
Why did you decide to start your own thing? What has been the most rewarding part?
What it means to the black community here in Brooklyn, and how they've embraced it.
When the opportunity was presented to us to open Butterfunk Kitchen, we knew the concept would work. We experimented by doing pop up supper clubs over at Brooklyn Commune. The rewards come on many levels. Having the family connection and reuniting family members and friends that I haven't seen in decades. What it means to the black community here in Brooklyn, and how they've embraced it. What we're doing nationally and being a part of the larger conversation. And, finally, having a platform where I can share my personal experiences and inspire folks from all walks of life.
What are you most looking forward to sharing with our group during the AFROPUNK weekend experience?
Mostly looking forward to meeting and making new connections. Connections through food memories, conversations about music and how it inspires, but mainly sharing common threads and experiences with new people.
Learn more about Chris and Butterfunk Kitchen on their website and connect on Instagram and Facebook.

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Brooklyn Highlights: a Q&A series with the amazing artists, writers, chefs, designers, and business owners we've partnered with to celebrate the cultural force that is Brooklyn.