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Creative force behind Astoria’s Kurry Qulture helps launch foodie platform

Sonny Solomon, the creative force behind Kurry Qulture in Astoria, is helping to launch Crafted, an online platform for the culinary community. (QNS file photo)

Michelin star restaurant owner Sonny Solomon, whose recently closed Kurry Qulture in Astoria became the go-to spot for Indian cuisine in western Queens when it opened in 2015, will help launch Crafted, a live streaming platform for food creators, on July 28.

The platform is designed for the thriving and diverse community of food lovers, bringing people together to celebrate culture through food.

“I am very excited to stream on Crafted because there isn’t any other platform like it,” Solomon said. “It allows chefs to showcase their talents and tell their unique stories virtually, and build community around loving and appreciating food. I think it’s important that people have access to creatives around the world who love to connect with and educate people on new cultures, cuisines and experiences in a more personal and intimate way than just a recipe.”

The Punjabi-born immigrant arrived in New York City over 20 years ago and began his career waiting tables at restaurants like Mercer Kitchen and Jean-Georges Vongerichton’s Spice Market and Town by Geoffrey Zakarian.

Sonny Solomon (QNS file photo)

“Before joining them, I was in the wrong business,” Solomon said. “In India, restaurants were all business, with no knowledge of hospitality. These chefs taught me hospitality.”

Solomon brought those learnings with him when he opened his first restaurant Devi. Two restaurants and four Michelin stars later, Solomon opened Kurry Qulture in the heart of Astoria, winning the Bethpage Best of the Boro’s Best Indian Restaurant for five years in a row. The restaurant closed in July 2020, a casualty of the pandemic shutdown. Now he is looking forward to sharing his culinary wisdom on Crafted, the platform created by Sarah Nesheim and Todd Baldwin.

“I’ve done a live cooking show before and it was so much fun to be able to share the art and meaning of these dishes I grew up with,” Solomon said. “When I met like-minded and passionate people like Todd and Sarah, I knew I had to share Indian food and culture with them and their audience. I’m so excited for this chance to partner with them.”

Solomon currently owns Veeray Da Dhaba, a casual Punjabi spot in the East Village, and as he is anxiously awaiting the soft launch of Crafted on July 28, which can be viewed online at usecrafted.com. The chef shared some preparation tips for those foodies planning on participating.

“For the Crafted show, I decided to start with samosa chaat and tandoori chicken because these are two of the most popular street foods of Punjab, and they’re easy to make at home,” Solomon said. “You’ll be able to buy samosas, spices and chickpea curry from your local Indian market, and chicken from any grocery store.”

In July 2020, Solomon announced that Kurry Qulture would be permanently closing and posted a heartfelt goodbye message on Instagram, saying that COVID-19 proved challenging for his business.

“COVID-19, and the subsequent restrictions placed on fine dining restaurants like Kurry Qulture, made it impossible to keep the business viable while maintaining our high standard of food quality and service,” Solomon said. “We want to thank all of our loyal customers and fans from Astoria and beyond. It was an honor and a pleasure to serve you over the years.”

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