Picnic Perfection!


Food, May 2013

Celebs talk fave picnic foods


Chef Jennifer Hill Booker



With temperatures starting to rise, and Memorial Day around the corner, May is the perfect time for dining al fresco. So we asked some of our favorite celebrity chefs and restaurateurs what they would take on a picnic. So pack up the family and the picnic basket, head out to your favorite park and enjoy this picnic menu!


Doug E Fresh’s Deep Fried Chicken

(Yields: 6-8 servings)


Hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh, owner of Doug E’s Fresh Chicken & Waffles in Harlem, NY, likes to take his famous Deep Fried Chicken along when he picnics.



6 cups vegetable oil

1 frying chicken, with skin, cut up

3 eggs, well beaten

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons white pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons paprika




In a deep fryer or in a wide, deep pan on stove, heat the oil over medium heat.

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, peppers and paprika.

Check the oil by dropping in a pinch of the flour mixture; if the oil bubbles rapidly around the flour, it’s ready.

Dip each piece of chicken into the egg, then coat generously with the flour mixture.

Once the chicken is coated, it should be placed on a rack to allow the pieces to dry, which may take 20 to 30 minutes. Allowing the pieces to dry will provide for more even browning of the chicken.

Place the chicken pieces in the hot oil, skin side down, one piece at a time; leave some space between pieces so that they are not crowded. This allows the pieces to cook and brown more evenly.

Continue to cook over a medium heat, turning until all sides are golden brown and the meat is cooked thoroughly; remove chicken from the pan and place on a paper towel to allow grease to drain.




Chef  Natasha Wong’s Seafood Pasta Salad

(Yields: 6-8 servings)


St. Thomas-born Chef Natasha Wong of bar ONE in Atlanta (owned by Peter Thomas, husband of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Cynthia Bailey) thinks of her tasty Seafood Pasta Salad when packing a picnic for her and her faithful dog Scooby.



1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup red pepper, diced

1/2 cup green pepper, diced

1/2 cup onion diced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 box tri-color rotini, cooked and cooled

1 1/2 cup cooked salad shrimp

1 1/2 cup lump crab meat

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 1/4 cup mayo

Salt and pepper



1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped




Preheat medium nonstick skillet to medium-high heat.

Add olive oil, red pepper, green pepper and onion.

Sauté approximately 2-3 minutes until veggies are almost tender. Add minced garlic and cook another minute.

Remove from heat and cool.

In a large bowl, combine cooled pasta, shrimp, crab, honey, hot sauce, mayo and cooked veggies. Stir until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with fresh chives.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.




Chef Neil Shuman’s Roasted Cauliflower Salad:

(Yields: 6-8 servings)


Chef Neil Shuman over at Xen Lounge in Los Angeles, owned by celebrity couple Duane and Tisha Campbell Martin, boasted that his Roasted Cauliflower Salad is a crowd-pleaser.



1 head cauliflower

1 head romanesco

1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

3 each baby carrots, chopped

1/2 cup carrot tops, chopped

2 lemons, zested and juiced

1/2 cup, pomegranate seeds

1/2 cup Kalamata olives, halved

1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/4 cup capers

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup pecorino, grated

1/2 cup Greek yogurt





Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Place baking sheet in oven while preheating. Cut cauliflower and romanesco into florets, discarding stalks. In a medium-sized bowl, toss cauliflower and romanesco with oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pull baking sheet out of oven and spread the cauliflower out evenly.

Roast in oven for 5-6 minutes until golden but still firm. Let cool.

Combine the roasted cauliflower, romanesco, chopped carrots, chopped carrot tops, lemon zest, lemon juice, pomegranate seeds, and olives in a large bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, add all remaining ingredients together, stirring until well combined and toss with roasted cauliflower mixture.

Check seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary.

Keep cool until you are ready to feast.

Serve with fresh pita or Lavash.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box