“That's how you got to treat things like, just stay hungry.” - Notorious BIG

Yo Stay Hungry started off as a project. I would have never thought that asking my mother to bring home lemon pepper seasoning while watching Emeril Lagasse would have got me this far.

Our first #BiggieDay competition was in 2015 in the hallway of August Martin High School in Queens, New York.  We wanted to honor the rapper Biggie Smalls by having a competition on his birthday. Why? Because hip-hop is certainly all about beef and it had never been done! If you aren't familiar with who Biggie is please do the Google's, but we thought he was a prime candidate to represent what we believe at Yo Stay Hungry. He created amazing work with his friends, acknowledged his crew, and he definitely stayed hungry.  But, to bring it back, for our first competition I had no clue what I was doing. All I knew was that I had access to young people. I brought on the chef, I got some trophies, and the competition happened. Now in our fifth year, and 8 competitions in the pocket, we have learned some things that we want to share with you.

Photo of Yo Stay Hungry competition participants Photo of Yo Stay Hungry competition participants

Yo Stay Hungry Major Keys

1. Always start with gratitude

We found that it's easier to get Chef coaches and judges if we start first by acknowledging them and their work. Since that model has worked for us throughout these years we figured it made sense to add gratitude as one of our core beliefs.

2. Everybody eats

A term coined by the 2001 film Paid In Full. We firmly believe that there's enough room for everybody to eat at the table. Now with Yo Stay Hungry being a business, of course, we have to think about competition in a new way. But, because we value the concept of everybody being able to eat, we have been able to reimagine what competition looks like. Instead, we think more about partnerships.

3. #TeamUS

Though I am technically a solo founder, there is no way I can do this work by my self. Over the years we have built a unique team that does incredible work. As the captain of the ship, I've had to learn about the importance of transparency, being clear on the vision, and making sure I set my team up for greatness. 


Thank you for tuning into my major keys! You could be doing anything else, but you're reading this, and for that we appreciate you!

We would love to invite you to join us at our next #BiggieDay on May 18th, 2019 in Brooklyn NY. Feel free to sign up to or follow us at @YoStayHungry on social media.

Photo of Yo Stay Hungry competition participants Photo of Yo Stay Hungry competition participants

Happy Women’s History Month and Cheers “To all the ladies in the place with style and grace”.

In gratitude,



Yo Stay Hungry is a culinary competition that bridges food, beverage, and hip-hop. It was founded by Syreeta Gates (Tisch '20). Photographer Credit: Sho Shots.