citi_testkitchen_logo_for website-01.png
 

As part of its commitment to supporting the growth of small local businesses, Citi launched the Citi Test Kitchen to help up-and-coming chefs connect with customers without having to raise startup capital, accrue a solid customer base and lock down a prime location. By lessening the barrier to entry for these culinary entrepreneurs, Citi and Urbanspace are also providing NY market customers with what they crave most: the newest ingredients, the most exotic flavors and exciting taste combinations.

CTK Web Timeline_10.1.19-01.png
 
Urbanspace-064.png
 

Meryenda

Edie Ugot

Along with our partner, Citi, we’re pleased to announce Meryenda and budding restaurateur Edie Ugot as our next chef-in-residence at the Citi Test Kitchen in Urbanspace Vanderbilt. Meryenda, which means "snack" or "pick-me-up" in Filipino, is based on the homestyle cooking and flavors on which Edie grew up. Yes-- there are spicy-sweet marinated pork sliders, crispy veggie spring rolls (lumpia) and Chicken Adobo Bowls in your very-near future!

Chef Edie attended culinary school after securing a Business degree and has always had aspirations to open up her own restaurant. Citi Test Kitchen allows her the opportunity to pursue her passion for food and fulfill the path that she mapped out from the start.

While at the Institute of Culinary Education, Edie found herself externing for one of her food idols, Anita Lo of Annisa and Iron Chef America. That quickly led to a job where she turned out refined Asian-French food from a tiny kitchen for 3 years. In dramatic fashion, a devastating electrical fire wiped out the kitchen and forced her to find a new place to plate. Enter an opportunity cooking for April Bloomfield, another influential woman-from-afar for Edie. Her kitchen was “fast paced, intense, loud, crazy, intoxicating- all in a great way,” according to Edie.

Never one to sit still, Edie has taken leadership positions in several of Bloomfield’s restaurants in recent years. She’s even attempted to get her own concepts off the ground. With Citi’s support and Urbanspace’s platform for connecting chefs to curious diners-- we’re eager to see what she cooks up with Meryenda.

Meryenda represents the debut of Citi Test Kitchen at Urbanspace Vanderbilt, our original food hall.

The kitchen opens on Monday, September 23rd - we’ll try to save some pancit for you!

 

LaCevicheria-057.jpg
CTK_Cevicheria Menu Board Web-01.jpg

La Cevicheria

Leyla & Ximena Yrala

Leyla and Ximena Yrala are the newest residents of the Citi Test Kitchen – a new experience at Urbanspace sponsored by Citi to help support the growth of local NYC culinary entrepreneurs. The Yrala sisters, originally from Lima, Peru moved to Forest Hills when they first came to the United States, 15 years ago. Pining for their beachside home back in Peru, they moved to the Far Rockaways to be closer to the ocean. On their trips to Rockaway Beach, the Yrala sisters were not satisfied by the basic beach fare offerings and knew they could do more to inspire the taste buds of local beachgoers by bringing their native ceviche to the concession booths lining the beach.

In 2012, the Rockaway Beach Club took over the food concession stalls that line Rockaway Beach, and the sisters approached the owners to ask if they could move in alongside the other vibrant new food options. But then came Hurricane Sandy, devastating everything. Ximena opened La Cevicheria to a decidedly locals-only clientele which, kept the business in that first year going. In 2014, they reopened La Cevicheria at the Rockaway Beach concessions and the sisters quickly made a name for themselves. As their sales rose, Leyla says, “folks were always asking us if we had a place in the city.”

In 2012, the Rockaway Beach Club took over the food concession stalls that line Rockaway Beach, and the sisters approached the owners to ask if they could move in alongside the other vibrant new food options. But then came Hurricane Sandy, devastating everything. Ximena opened La Cevicheria to a decidedly locals-only clientele which, kept the business in that first year going. In 2014, they reopened La Cevicheria at the Rockaway Beach concessions and the sisters quickly made a name for themselves. As their sales rose, Leyla says, “folks were always asking us if we had a place in the city.”

 

Baccanal Booth Sonya_3.jpg
Menu Board Graphic.jpg

Bacchanal Sauce

Sonya Samuel

Citi, in collaboration with Urbanspace, is excited to welcome Sonya Samuel of Bacchanal Sauce as the first chef-in-residence at the Citi Test Kitchen at Urbanspace at 570 Lex. Samuel, winner of the Citi Urbanspace Challenge - a creative competition aimed at discovering local culinary entrepreneurs with talent and potential, and providing them with a platform to raise their profile and connect with the community - will occupy the Citi Test Kitchen for the next three months.

Born in Brooklyn, Samuel was raised by family from the Caribbean and has always had a passion for sweet and spicy flavors that are so distinct in the food of her heritage. Samuel will be sharing this traditional taste of the Caribbean with the NY market through her delicious offerings, which include Fried Fish Cakes, Jerk Chicken Bowls, Guava Pepper Shrimp and Jerk Crab Fries. All of her dishes are served with her signature Bacchanal Pepper Sauce, consisting of pineapple, guava, traditional Caribbean spices and of course, Habanero and Scotch bonnet peppers.

Urbanspace enthusiasts, get ready for what Sonya calls an ‘Island Party!’ and visit Sonya at the Citi Test Kitchen at 570 Lex. Citi cardholders will receive a free Passionfruit Lemonade or Sorrel Juice with a purchase of $5 or more when using their Citi card at the Citi Test Kitchen.