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About The Directors

Rochelle Brown-Johnson, Director

Rochelle Brown Co-Founded Powerhouse Productions in 2003, and serves as Co-Executive Producer and Co-CEO overseeing all development and productions. Her current projects are the acclaimed documentary short film, Harlem On My Plate, about the new food renaissance in Harlem, and the one-hour Cooking Channel special, Patti LaBelle’s Place, hosted by Grammy-winning songstress Patti LaBelle. She has received critical acclaim for her hit reality television series, TV One’s Save My Son, hosted by Dr. Steve Perry, which was nominated for a 2012 NAACP Image Award.

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Rochelle Brown-Johnson, Director

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Rochelle Brown Co-Founded Powerhouse Productions in 2003, and serves as Co-Executive Producer and Co-CEO overseeing all development and productions. Her current projects are the acclaimed documentary short film, Harlem On My Plate, about the new food renaissance in Harlem, and the one-hour Cooking Channel special, Patti LaBelle’s Place, hosted by Grammy-winning songstress Patti LaBelle.

She has received critical acclaim for her hit reality television series, TV One’s Save My Son, hosted by Dr. Steve Perry, which was nominated for a 2012 NAACP Image Award. Touching the hearts and minds of viewers, the program created a movement in communities around the country to save at-risk young African American men.

Rochelle and her team have produced two highly-rated series for the Cooking Channel, Fresh, Food, Fast, with Emeril Lagasse, and Road Trip with G. Garvin, which was nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award. She is currently developing new programming for several cable outlets in the docu-series and lifestyle genre.

Rochelle has served as Executive Producer for several shows, including Living It Up with Patti LaBelle, Turn Up The Heat with G. Garvin, Ford’s HBCU Business Classic, and Makeover Manor. With several other shows in development with celebrities, lifestyle experts, and sports figures, this half of Powerhouse Productions has made a name for herself in the industry as one of the most talented and trusted in her field. When networks are looking for an Executive Producer to develop, nurture, and produce new talent, she is usually at the top of the list. Brown combines a keen sense of style to sell top-notch programming that the networks want, with the know-how and discipline to deliver on budget.

Brown started her career in morning news and news magazine shows before she was recruited to help launch the Food Network. A New Jersey native, she is married and the proud mother of one child. In her precious spare time, she mentors young people aspiring to careers in communications and entertainment, and also speaks regularly at schools, sharing her personal journey of hard work and dedication against the odds.

Rochelle’s Director’s Statement

"I must admit, working on Harlem on My Plate has been one of the highlights of my career". It has been extremely fulfilling to create a piece of work about my people, our history, and the role that food has played in Harlem from the Migration to the present day Culinary Renaissance. The Schomburg Center for Black research and Culture served as the backbone for this amazing film. This film could not have been done without their preservation of history; more specifically our culinary history. As a producer this was a magical life changing experience to be able to touch and see photographs of the Harlem food scene from the 1920's to the present. I was overwhelmed by the opportunity to view the original menu from the Cotton Club, pictures of fruit stands, Joe Lewis' restaurant, Sylvia's in the 80's, and so much more!

I take great pride in telling compelling stories, and with Harlem on My Plate there were so many rich stories and amazing people. Harlem on My Plate was a story that simply had to be told; and after researching with my staff of amazing producers and researchers, we knew we had something magical! I am deeply humbled to know that our work will live at the Schomburg forever, making us now apart of that same rich collection of history. Knowing that one day in the future people will watch Harlem on My Plate; and see just how far we have come, and how food has really changed Harlem!

The Chefs who participated in the film could not have been more giving and sharing. This film is for the people of Harlem; and here at Powerhouse we are so fortunate that they allowed us to tell their story in this jaw dropping documentary about Harlem and Food. I take great pride in directing, producing, and writing in this film; and it shows in every frame of the movie! Thanks Harlem!! Thanks to all the amazing Chefs, Thanks to The Schomburg, and thanks to our friends at Citi.

Bon Appétit!

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Sonia Armstead, Director

Sonia Armstead Co-Founded Powerhouse Productions in 2003, and serves as Co-Executive Producer and Co-CEO overseeing the company’s development in the broadcast, cable and broadband/interactive sectors. Her current projects are the acclaimed documentary short film, Harlem On My Plate, about the new food renaissance in Harlem, and the one-hour Cooking Channel special, Patti LaBelle’s Place, hosted by Grammy-winning songstress Patti LaBelle. She has received critical acclaim for her hit reality television series, TV One’s Save My Son, hosted by Dr. Steve Perry, which was nominated for a 2012 NAACP Image Award.

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Sonia Armstead

Full Bio

Sonia Armstead Co-Founded Powerhouse Productions in 2003, and serves as Co-Executive Producer and Co-CEO overseeing the company’s development in the broadcast, cable and broadband/interactive sectors. Her current projects are the acclaimed documentary short film, Harlem On My Plate, about the new food renaissance in Harlem, and the one-hour Cooking Channel special, Patti LaBelle’s Place, hosted by Grammy-winning songstress Patti LaBelle. She has received critical acclaim for her hit reality television series, TV One’s Save My Son, hosted by Dr. Steve Perry, which was nominated for a 2012 NAACP Image Award. Touching the hearts and minds of viewers, the program created a movement in communities around the country to save at-risk young African American men. Sonia and her team have produced two highly-rated series for the Cooking Channel, Fresh, Food, Fast, with Emeril Lagasse, and Road Trip with G. Garvin, which was nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award. She is currently developing new programming for several cable outlets in the docu-series and lifestyle genre.

Sonia has served as Executive Producer for several shows, including Living It Up with Patti Labelle, Turn Up The Heat with G. Garvin, Ford’s HBCU Business Classic, and Makeover Manor. With several other shows in development with celebrities, lifestyle experts, and sports figures, this half of

Powerhouse Productions has made a name for herself in the industry as one of the most talented and trusted in her field. Sonia has always been known to get the job done and the story told. She has a gift for getting the hardest interviews, and delivering the best content.

Prior to forming Powerhouse Productions, Sonia was the Executive Producer of Good Day New York. She was also part of the successful launches of the Food Network and the national 24-hour cable network, Newstalk Television, where she developed programming and talent for the networks. Sonia also produced a town hall special for Newstalk with veteran talk show host Phil Donahue that produced some of the network’s highest ratings ever. She has consulted on numerous national and cable television programs. Her expertise in the field has garnered her both Emmy and Telly Award recognition. Both as an expert on the industry and a producer, Sonia is an asset to any production.

A native of New Jersey, Sonia is married and the proud mother of a young daughter. In her precious spare time, she volunteers with the Girl Scouts and is an active member of the NAACP and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. She is also co-founder of Silent Voices, an autism advocacy organization.

Sonia’s Director’s Statement

Harlem On My Plate, was a labor of love for both myself and the PowerHouse team. It was an amazing experience to not only be welcomed and embraced by Harlemites, but to gather the history of our ancestors who migrated from the South to the North in search of a better life. I credit the Schomburg center for research in black culture for the abundance of history, photos, menus and other culinary artifacts that allowed us to tell such a dynamic story. The film was a wonderful tribute to the history of Harlem, and the food scene that was center stage then and now. It also made me realize that there was an entrepreneurial spirt that was started by what I like to call the "underground entrepreneur"; and people like "Pig Foot Mary" and Sylvia Woods were visionaries of their time. Now present day chefs like Marcus Samuelsson, Melba Wilson, and Chef Alexander Smalls have moved the vision forward and have made Harlem a culinary destination.

After doing this documentary; Harlem is on my mind in a different way, I really feel like a honorary Harlemite who has definitely put "Harlem On My Plate"

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Behind The Scenes