Through her trifecta of ramen pop-ups for our A NIGHT IN series, Chef Rasheeda Purdie honors newness, transformation, and cultural appreciation.
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Rasheeda Purdie is a New York-based chef with a unique backstory. After 10 years in luxury retail, she decided to attend culinary school, combining her natural artistry with a newfound love for cooking. Rasheeda completed her culinary education at the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in 2015.
She continued to refine and elevate her cooking techniques under the chefs Marcus Samuelsson, Melba Wilson, and “JJ” Johnson. In the Fall of 2020, Chef Rasheeda launched Ramen by Rā, a series of pop-ups and residencies that showcase her innovative fusions of Japanese & southern American cuisines.
Like much of the world in 2020, quarantine forced Chef Rasheeda into stillness. Restaurants, catering and pop-ups came to an abrupt halt, leaving Chef Rasheeda with nothing but time. A ramen craving drew her into the world of Japanese cuisine.
Chef Rasheeda’s foray into the world of ramen bookmarks a new chapter in her culinary career. As such, she explores themes of newness in many of her menus.
Our first pop-up with Chef Rasheeda was “Renaissance”, a menu she describes as a “combination of herself”. Featuring shrimp bao buns, dashi-based miso chicken ramen, vanilla caramel custard, and a green tea & brown rice hot toddy, this meal showcases Chef Rasheeda’s dedication to traditional Japanese flavors.
Later that year, Chef Rasheeda presented, “Resolution” a New Year’s-themed menu that combined Black Southern food rituals with Japanese traditions around bringing in the new year. Through this menu, Chef Rasheeda shared her most beloved New Year’s traditions — from eating black-eyed peas, collard greens & cornbread for good luck & prosperity to dancing the night away with family in her Aunt’s basement.
Courses included potstickers with a twist of hoppin’ john, black-eyed peas, and soy black beans. She quickly followed this up with Japanese pancakes to give us a soft, spongey, and savory profile.
In her 3rd installation, “Revive”, Purdie celebrated the ethereal space between the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall.
The menu started with a seaweed salad and a ponzu dressing topped with a rice cracker crisp – a refreshing start with a lot of texture. The main dish was a cucumber ramen in a reviving cucumber broth & chili oil. Closing off the experience was a green tea purin topped with a chocolate ginger crumble and crispy mint.
Chef Rasheeda develops her unique pairings through layers.
Chef Rasheeda has always been a fan of Japanese cuisine.
When you are fusing flavors from various cultures, the term appropriation might pop up. Purdie says there’s a difference, and that difference is something we can taste in her foods.
In 2021, Purdie launched Ramen by Ra with ramen kits available for pick-up and enjoyed at home. Since then, she has hosted several ramen pop-ups, collaborations & residencies, including her Rise + Dine brunch series, her collaboration with Sun Noodles, and her residency and burlesque supper club, Duane Park.
As for the future of her business, she hopes to expand nationwide: “Overnight shipping is the goal”
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