MasterChef season 13 contestant and Long Beach local Richie Jones-Muhammad will host a gala dinner at The Pie Bar on Saturday, July 15.
Due to limited seating in the Pie Bar parklet, the pop-up will be by reservation only and will have a set price of $50, which includes a glass of wine with the three-course menu.
As an appetizer, Jones-Muhammad cooks sliced potatoes stacked together and fried in duck fat for a crunchy bite topped with crème fraîche. Jones-Muhammad’s grandmother’s shepherd’s pie will be the main course, and the whiskey peach Pie Bar à la mode (that is, with ice cream) will round out the meal.
“Richie is a long-time Pie Bar customer and came to me with the idea of doing a pop-up,” said Pie Bar founder and CEO Laurie Gray.
While Pie Bar has worked with local creatives before, this is the first time a chef has collaborated on dinner. The collaboration—the perfect comfort dessert paired with the perfect comfort food—made sense.
“(Pie Bar) was the first store I went to when I moved here. … (My girlfriend and I) are always there,” Jones-Muhammad said. “I’ve been such a fan for a long time and the space that they’re offering – it’s just so homey and it just seemed like the right time.”
Jones-Muhammad will introduce each course and stay after dinner with any guests who want to talk about the menu.
In 2020, he moved to Long Beach in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to pursue music production—something that is mentioned on this season of MasterChef, where Jones-Muhammad is a contestant.
The format of the show divides the contestants into four American regions – West, Midwest, Northeast and South. Every week, continuedestanti face a series of challenges to cook their best meal for Gordon Ramsey’s judge, Joe Bastianich a Aaron Sanchez. The worst performing chef is eliminated until only one is left standing.
Although a Long Beach resident, Jones-Muhammad hails from Silver Spring, Maryland and competes under the Northeast banner.
“I’ve always loved the show, I’ve been a fan my whole life,” Jones-Muhammad said. “You know, you spend so long watching other people, you never think it’s going to be you, then the opportunity comes along.
During the last nearly three years of living in Long Beach, Jones-Muhammad couldn’t be happier touring the city. When he originally moved to Long Beach, he lived on Chestnut Avenue and has since remained in Downtown Long Beach, moving to a new location on Ocean Boulevard.
“I’ve never had so many great restaurants within walking distance,” Jones-Muhammad said. He draws inspiration from restaurants like Heritage Restaurant (although he has trouble getting repeat reservations), Shannon’s, and BO-beau kitchen.
You can find dinner tickets here.
A new episode of MasterChef: United Tastes of America will air on Wednesday, July 12 with the first Mystery Box Challenge – apples. You can watch episodes at 8pm on FOX.