The Islandview community celebrates the grand opening of a 14-year-old’s culinary dream
The Rev. Barry Randolph and his congregation at the Church of the Messiah on the eastside of Detroit take an unconventional approach to community outreach and business development.
With a 213-unit housing development (and more on the way), an employment office through a partnership with Michigan Works!, a marching band and cheerleading team, a bike shop, a tea company, a production company, a clothing line, a leather maker and a mentoring program, you’d think there would be nothing left to accomplish. But then you don’t know Pastor Barry.
As he said during a recent service, “If the world ain’t changing cause you showed up, you’re sitting on your assets.”
One such untapped talent was found in Angel McCray, a 14-year-old with a long list of activities and passions. She can now add business owner to her resume.
On a Sunday in March, Angel’s Kitchen held its grand opening in the Fellowship Hall at the Church of the Messiah. Angel is a master in the kitchen, who had hoped one day to be able to start her own culinary enterprise – and to also compete on “MasterChef Junior” under the tutelage of Gordon Ramsay.
The first ambition has come true, and the other may be within reach. “I love cooking, and I thank my family for making this dream a reality,” Angel beamed while standing in front of her desserts in an empty hall awaiting her guests for the grand opening.
With a full menu that included baked chicken, zucchini and squash, plain mashed potatoes, rosemary and herb mashed potatoes, cornbread and plenty of desserts (mini-cupcakes, mini-cheesecakes, mini-pies), this business launch was a complete success, with more than 200 neighbors, community leaders and interested business people sampling the offerings of her new catering operation.
But the day wouldn’t have been complete without the amazing performers who came out to help celebrate this new offering from the Islandview community. Before guests were treated to Angel’s menu, they enjoyed an immersive music and dance showcase experience featuring Rockim Williamson and Get Off Productions.
With hits like “Waves” and “America,” filled with lyrics about rising above distractions and people who don’t mean you well, Williamson ushered positivity and light into the event. He brought a transcendent performance, which left listeners in a state of shock.
“I have such a powerful message to give that’s so much bigger than just one city,” he said.
He was followed by Get Off Productions, whose members include Keynard Noland, Bernard Gemes, Leeshawn Gemes, Jamari Noland, John Lee and Jakari Harris. Their dance routine had everybody hyped up not only for Angel’s launch but also for the future of young people in Detroit.
The day’s event, the fusion of art and economic enterprise, was organized by Young Empire Detroit (YED), a collaborative organized by the Church of the Messiah to pave the way for Angel’s Kitchen and future entrepreneurial endeavors.
YED was born out of a conversation among Angel, her older sister Maya, Pastor Barry and Reuben Gordon, of Better Detroit Youth Movement, back in November. One of the newest additions to the Church of the Messiah’s family of programs, it has enlisted approximately 60 business and community leaders and nonprofit organizations across the city to provide a scope of services, as well as expertise and potential funding, to benefit Detroit youth in a variety of ways, including helping new entrepreneurs like Angel.
Pastor Barry is long-winded on the idea that God calls his people to change the world. “As long as you do what you are called to do, the world will shine a bright light,” he says.
His vision for Young Empire Detroit (YED) is that it will ensure young talent in Detroit has an opportunity to grow and prosper in a nurturing local community first and then the world.
As he asked the gathering at the grand opening of Angel’s Kitchen, “What are you doing with your power?”
For more information on Angel’s Kitchen or the artists featured in the showcase, contact Angel at Angel’s Kitchen via phone at (313) 288-2372 or via email at AngelMKitchen@gmail.com. Also, check out more from Rockim Williamson on his website www.rockimwilliamson.com. And make sure to follow Get Off Productions on Instagram at @getoffproduction.