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Staff

The staff at the BCCC and the MPF US represent a broad spectrum of experience and training. Bound by a passionate commitment to our shared mission, each staff member contributes a unique perspective to build, refine, articulate and execute our vision.

 
Philip Hoffman
executive director
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NYC restaurateur (Nick and Eddie, Downtown, The New French + 4 others). Founder of FoodSwing Inc. national private labor co-packer. Founder of The Saucelab Inc. a food manufacturing consultancy. Co-Founder of Pumphouse Wines. Co-Founder of Supercrown Coffee Roasters (Brooklyn). Life skills and culinary volunteer Rikers Island prison. Philip’s grandparents landed in Brownsville in 1921 and his father was born in Brownsville in 1925. Philip brings 35 years of restaurant and food entrepreneurial experience to The Melting Pot Foundation.
 
Rodney Frazer
chef educator
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Rodney Frazer has an extensive career in the foodservice industry as an executive chef and operations manager and has more than 27 years of experience in the industry both as a business owner and employee to many restaurants and hotels throughout his time. In 2007, Rodney developed a joint venture program with The Department of Justice, Forsyth Community College and Rodney’s own company, The VineCatering in Winston-Salem, N.C. The intensive 7-week job training and transition program, in which Rodney himself served as Culinary Director, Instructor and Mentor, not only provided inmates with viable life skills, but assisted them with rejoining the workforce post-incarceration. In 2012, Femi Rodney's New York venture started when he became Chef and Operations Manager with the B+C Reastaurant Group, a very successful restaurant group located in Brooklyn, New York. Rodney is responsible for the seamless management of their catering service and three out of five of their restaurants, including Peaches Hothouse. Peaches Hothouse, best known for its exceptional southern comfort food. Rodney joins the BCCC as Chef Educator.
 
Charlene Johnson-Hadley
executive chef
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When others chose traditional routes to forge their way into success, Charlene Johnson-Hadley followed her passion, Culinary Arts. A student of the prestigious French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center), Chef Johnson-Hadley's nearly 20 year career has positioned her to work and mentor with some of the best cooking masterminds across the globe. Renowned Chef Annie Wayte chose Johnson-Hadley as part of her culinary team at her Nicole's replica in NYC and later selected her as Chef de Cuisine when she opened her Chelsea Market café 202 in 2005. As a member of the Marcus Samuelsson Group, Chef Johnson-Hadley served first as the Chef de Cuisine of American Table, a unique culinary partnership with MSG and Restaurant Associates at the world renowned Lincoln Center; and, then as Pastry Chef at his Harlem flagship, Red Rooster. A mother of two, this first generation American of Jamaican descent resides in her hometown of Brooklyn.
 
MJ Sanders
operations director
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Born into a large southern family, Mavis-Jay. began mastering southern cooking before she could even see over the counter. Legend has it, she perfected pound cake before her abc’s. Looking to cultivate her talent, Mavis-Jay attended the Culinary Institute of America after receiving a BS in hotel and restaurant management from Georgia Southern. Later, she would impress with her ability and natural leadership at Blue Hill Stone Barnes and the Untitled in New York. Caught up in an entrepreneurial spirit, she joined Pico House to create incredible food and make it accessible to everyone. Mavis-Jay believes natural ingredients shouldn’t be a luxury and all people have a right to life-sustaining food.
 
Lucas Denton
co-founder | content director
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Lucas is the cofounder of the Brownsville Community Culinary Center. Lucas has had a diverse career, working as a forester, a researcher for the New York City Commission on Human Rights, as a Union Ironworker at the World Trade Center, and in a variety of culinary positions, from dishwasher to line cook. Most closely informing his work in Brownsville has been the 10 years of experience Lucas has offered as a volunteer. Serving in capacities ranging from mentor to outreach to organizational development, Lucas has worked with organizations combating substance abuse and alcoholism, harm reduction organizations and needle exchanges, with street outreach programs providing services for the homeless, as a literacy educator, and with the Left Forum. Lucas has worked with the Brownsville community over the past two years developing a comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of the community through the Brownsville Community Culinary Center. Lucas now serves as the Director of Content for The Melting Pot Foundation US.
 
Susan Frankson
head baker
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Susan Frankson was born in a small village on the island of Trinidad and Tobago. Growing up the youngest of 10 kids, she watched her mother and older siblings cook. When she became an adult, she came to the US to pursue the culinary arts and graduated Dean's List from New York Restaurant School. From then, she's held many positions as head pastry chef in restaurants all over the NYC area. Susan has had the pleasure of having Cheff Bobby Flay as a mentor and can't wait to mentor the participants of the BCCC. She has two children that are teenagers and they love taste testing her recipes.
 
April Grigsby
social services director
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April Grigsby is a Licensed Master of Social Work with over 12 years of experience empowering diverse residents of NYC using program management, training and curriculum design and group work. Populations served include hospital patients, immigrants, refugees, families impacted by incarceration and involvement in child protection systems, as well as high achieving youth scholars. April also works as a psychotherapist treating individuals, couples and families. What defines April’s work in all of the various settings is her commitment to a strengths based, culturally competent skill set invested in a “shared humanity” with the people she serves. April is originally from Brooklyn massive and has a MSW from Columbia University and a BS from Yale University.
 
Nicole Taylor
director of special projects
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Over the past 16 years, Nicole A. Taylor's community capacity building experiences have included Bridge Street Development Corporation, Brooklyn Food Coalition, New Yorkers for Parks, Emory University and the American Cancer Society. Taylor was an instructor at Kings borough Community College and The LAMP (learning about multimedia project).

Also, she is a freelance food writer and author of The Up South Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen. Taylor founded The Modern Travelers' Green Zine and is an editor for Crop Stories, a biannual magazine that digs deep into relationships between farmer and table. Nicole lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
 
Alex Muresanu
operations
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Sarah Perlmeter
social services coordinator
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staff details