Past Event: Iced Bourbon Chai & Sweet Potato Pie

When: Thursday, September 19, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Price: $20 | $15 for Museum Members
Pie & Chai
From left to right: Photo courtesy of Roots Chai; Photo courtesy of Christine Han Photography.

Known as the “Harlem Pie Man,” Clinton Shabazz has been living in Harlem for 40 years and baking and selling pies for 28 of them, first from a folding table on the street, then a bakery, and now even at Whole Foods. What happens when we pair Shabazz’s sweet potato pie, a Southern soul food classic, together with a newer addition to the American palate – chai? Enter Raj Makhija, owner of Roots Chai, which draws on ancestral tea recipes his family has brewed for generations. Now, both Shabazz and Makhija operate out of a shared commercial kitchen space run by the non-profit Hot Bread Kitchen as part of a business incubator program. Together, they sit down with food writer Ariel Lauren Wilson and Caroline Mak, Program Director of Hot Bread Kitchen's Incubator, to talk about what it’s like to launch and sustain a small business here in New York City.

Afterward, we invite you to try sweet potato pie and iced chai
 (spiked with bourbon!)

To view all of our Unexpected Pairings summer tasting events, click here

About the Speakers: 
Caroline Mak is the Program Director at Hot Bread Kitchen's Incubator. Prior to joining Hot Bread Kitchen, she was the co-founder of an award-winning beverage company, Brooklyn Soda Works. She is also a multi-media and installation artist.

Raj Makhija is a New York City-based chef and audio producer who has worked in a diverse range of cuisines in kitchens in New York and New Jersey. Inspired by his grandmother from Karachi, Pakistan and mother from Lucknow, India, Mukhija began making chai for his family and friends. He launched Roots Chai in 2018. 

Harlem Pie Man Clinton Shabazz started his own business 28 years ago drawing on his experience watching his mother bake growing up. 
Clinton has grown his business from selling six pies at a time to distributing to grocery stores and markets throughout the city. He lives by the simple motto, "pray and go to work!" 

About the Host: 
Ariel Lauren Wilson is a food writer and former editor-in-chief of Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn, two quarterly magazines and websites that tell the story of how the city eats and drinks.

About Hot Bread Kitchen:
Hot Bread Kitchen is a nonprofit that creates economic opportunity through careers in food by training women from around the world, incubating food businesses, and creating jobs in urban areas. Learn more about Hot Bread Kitchen's work at

$20 General Admission | $15 Museum Members
21+ Event 

Members: To receive your discount, click on the "Buy Tickets" button above, then sign in to your account on the ticketing page.

Groups of 10 or more get discounts; contact us at or 917.492.3395.

Accessibility: Assistive listening devices are available and our auditorium wheelchair lift can accommodate manual and motorized wheelchairs (max. capacity 500 lbs). Please contact the Museum at 917.492.3333 or with any questions.


Unexpected Pairings is made possible in part by Elizabeth Belfer.

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