Ghetto Gastro's Jon Gray On His Journey From Hustler To Food Mogul

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When New York multi-hyphenate Jon Gray set it upon himself to bring the Bronx to the world through food, he faced two battles: establish a successful business at the tail end of a recession, and overcome the high-end culinary world's historically white gaze.
Now, Ghetto Gastro, the food collective he co-founded, is connecting the dots between fashion, design, hip-hop and the culinary arts. They've created unforgettable food experiences and products in collaboration with Nike, Microsoft, Airbnb, Beats By Dre and more. They're known to bill corporate giants well into the six figures for just a few dozen dinner guests.
Jon was raised in a nurturing, education-forward household in the Bronx. As a teenager, he sold drugs to afford things his peers couldn't. In conversation with Jay, he talks about how he transitioned from that lifestyle--and applied some of those same skills--to a multidisciplinary career in the arts that he "reverse-engineered," in his words.
He also explains how Ghetto Gastro is not only about creating value, it's about capturing that value, circulating it back to Black people through donations, and thereby channeling new opportunities into the community directly.
For sponsor-free episodes, weekly bonus content, and more, subscribe to The Limits Plus at plus.npr.org/thelimits. On this week's Plus episode, Jon discusses his personal and spiritual connection to the late designer Virgil Abloh.
Follow Jay on Instagram and Twitter. Email us at thelimits@npr.org.

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