Who: Rasheeda Purdie
What: Chef and Founder of Ramen By Ra, Chef Instructor with CUNY/Hostos
01. Three words that describe you?
Three words that describe me are:
Fun - As passionate as I am about my family and career, you have to have fun to balance out life priorities. And more importantly, we all need to have fun to feel free. Fun for me is several things, like dancing, biking, swimming, and having a good meal.
Innovative - My mind remains out of the box, no matter the reason. It could be fashion, food, activities, parties, and so much more! Why stick to the norm or play it safe, when you can do the total opposite and have the time of your life!
Passionate - Whatever I put my mind to there's a great amount of passion that's attached to it. I pride myself on putting my best foot forward in all things, and you get the best results in return.
02. What’s your best and worst quality?
My best quality of myself is that my word is my bond, I will always do what I have promised to do. Rarely, do I ever not come through, and if that happens, something was completely out of my control. With that being said I also believe in the word no. If you can't commit to it, don't do it, period. There are a lot of people that find it challenging to say no because of disappointing others, but you must be true to yourself first. It's important to have both balance and boundaries in life.
My worst quality is something that I have worked on for years and I will admit that I’m getting better at it, and that's having patience. Understanding the importance of patience has truly made me a better person. There’s something special about the shift from being fast and in a rush to patient and at ease. It allows one to appreciate the time, and to see time working with you versus against you. It’s a calmness and stillness that enhances your personality and life. Once I made that shift in my personality, my personal life and encounters were more positive and organized.
03. Quality you most admire in a person?
I have two qualities that I most admire in a person: being organized and having great time management. Those two go hand in hand, and you can’t succeed without them working together. Time is valuable and once you set a tone of abusing it, you’re not set up for success.
Creating a system and having a structure that organizes along with having great time management will send you on a path to success.
04. Greatest love of your life?
Dancing!!! It’s a sense of joy, freedom, connection, and bonding. Music can uplift you at any point in your day and your life. Dancing will forever be my first love. I was a ballet dancer for many years when I was younger. Ballet brought so many great qualities to my life at such a young age. It brought me obedience, structure, balance, femininity, beauty, and grace. Not too long ago, I had a conversation about getting back into ballet. Maybe I will add it to my 2023 list of things to do! Stay tuned!
05. Secret talent or a skill or trait you wish you had?
Hmmm, good question…hard question but a good question. It’s hard because everything I’ve ever wanted to do I’ve done so far. Hmmm…OHHHH Yes I wish I could bake! I think people that are in pastry, that are bakers, and chocolate makers are so talented. Some ideas just blow me away. And I truly admire chefs that can do both, culinary and pastry.
I have a good friend that’s such a talented baker, the layers of love and flavors that she brings to life are pure excitement. Her name is Clio Goodman and she has a cute bakery called ByClio. I eat her cakes at least once a week. They are magical, so soft yet sweet, not overpowering with sugar. Savory cakes for the win!
So yes there you have it, I wish that I could bake, but for now I’ll stick to what I know and know best and that's culinary.
06. A piece of clothing or item that has a story behind it, what is it, and what’s the story? My Nana Lucy gave me one of her handkerchiefs years ago. And to this day I still have it and wear it as often as possible. Either it’s tied around my bag or I use it as a pocket square. Having this piece of clothing with me daily is like having her with me. It’s such a special item, sweet and simple just like her.
07. What book/podcast/movie are you into right now?
A book that I'm reading right now is called “ Lighter” - Let go of the past, and connect with the future by Yung Pueblo. I found out about author Yung Pueblo through a good friend, then started to follow him on Instagram. His first book which I love so much is called Clarity & Connection. I spend my summer weekends reading this book on the beach in Long Island. Both books open up things you overlook from your past that still may hinder you or your future. The way he breaks down situations in life is such an eye opener. Being able to read his books by the beach and listening to the sounds of the ocean and smelling the sand and sea, was the best part of my summer. Getting away once a week to escape city life was therapeutic for me and my mind. I’m so thankful to my good friend for sharing this book with me, it has helped me personally in ways as no other book has before.
08. What’s one recent change you’ve made to live more consciously?
One recent change I’ve made is how/what I wake up to in the morning. I appreciate my morning routine. I wake up to the sounds of jazz, light my incense and sage, then turn on my teapot for my morning tea.
I have to do this, it’s a must! All things soothing to jump start my morning, rising into the level of energy to manifest a great day.
09. Place where you are happiest?
The place where I'm happiest is in the kitchen alone, just me, my music, my food, and my tools creating magic. As focused as I am while cooking, I’m also reminiscing on family times. Those special family times of us cooking together or my nana Lucy cooking. The majority of the music I play is music from back in the day. The music she played, l love those memories, it’s priceless!
10. What is a cause you believe in and what’s an organization that supports it that you’d like people to know about?
An organization that I would like for people to know about is Heart of Dinner, founded at the onset of COVID-19, Heart of Dinner works to fight food insecurity and isolation experienced by Asian American seniors—two long-standing community issues heightened by the pandemic.
They serve elders throughout NYC, delivering weekly care packages that are filled to the brim with culturally thoughtful hot lunches, fresh groceries, pantry essentials, and bulk ingredients while supporting local small businesses during their COVID-related recovery process. Along with uniquely decorated bags with handwritten notes of love attached.
During the pandemic of Spring 2020, I celebrated cherry blossom season with a cherry blossom themed ramen event and I wanted to donate a percentage of the proceeds to a charity that I admired. It was Hearts of Dinner, both founders Moonlyn and Yin were such sweethearts, I loved their purpose and what they were doing in the community for the elderly. After meeting them I was so inspired to get involved. To this day, I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to get to know them both, and look forward to continuing to help Hearts of Dinner in the future.
Do you listen to music to get inspired in the kitchen? If so, what’s on repeat for you these days?
I listen to music while I’m cooking, it’s a must! It depends on my mood, the majority of the time it’s jazz. However, when I need to pick up the pace during prep I’ll most likely listen to Jay-Z, Rihanna, or 90’s music.
Sign of the zodiac (and what you think that says about you)
Aquarius - ambitious, aloof, fashion forward, driven, progressive, independent, intelligent, unique, and idealistic to name a few!
Want to experience Rasheeda’s culinary magic IRL? For the month of November she’s launching her first weekend residency with SOMMwhere Chef’s Table, located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. To celebrate ramen season; she’s curated a Ramen Brunch experience called Rise + Dine, featuring brunch staples like Bacon, Egg and Cheese, BLT, Gravlax, and more... Reimaging brunch one bowl of ramen at a time! Head to Rise+Dine to reserve your spot now!