As the chef/owner of Red Ginger of Georgetown, prior to opening Café Trope, Hominy, Newtown Kitchen & Bar , Lincoln Park Kitchen & Wine Bar now Red Ginger on H Street. Howsoon Cham, nicknamed H.O., has a fast casual place of his own which combines his interest and background in new world cuisine with his talent for cooking. He is not afraid to create food with flavor.
Born in Gambia, West Africa, it was his athletic ability that originally brought him to the United States sixteen years ago. He attended Bethany College in West Virginia on a soccer scholarship, where he helped fund his education by working in local restaurants during school breaks. Although for a while he did put his international affairs degree to work at the Gambian embassy, his love and passion for food won out and he decided to become a full time chef.
Working at restaurants around Washington, his cooking style evolved as he absorbed techniques and styles from chefs under whom he trained. He has mentored under Jeff Buben and Peter Smith of Vidalia, the prestigious southern restaurant. Prior to that he was chef de cuisine at Georgia Browns, as well as executive chef at Willie & Reeds and John Harvard’s restaurants. Howsoon declares that “while I never went to culinary school, some of my mentors, Patrick O’Connell of the Little Inn of Washington, Charlie Trotter in Chicago and Norman Van Aken of Miami were not formally trained at culinary schools either.” H.O. may not have formal training, but he has all the right instincts.
He had transformed the menu at the previous Red Ginger of Georgetown to give guests delicious Caribbean and Latin American cuisine. Chef H.O.’s menu reflects the manner with which new American cuisine has been affected by the diverse fare from around the globe. Red Ginger of Georgetown’s dishes range from grilled lamb chop in red mole, curry oxtail stew, plantain crusted oysters, shrimp with purple corn polenta, masa crusted chicken livers, curry dusted sea scallops over yellow corn grits, Jamaican rum & apple cider cured pork, jumbo lump crab cake and the well known Caribbean jerk chicken. Every item on the menu is paired with some of the finest wines and looks like a work of art as it arrives at the table. The plates are adorned with interesting, unique and delicious tropical combinations of yucca, plantains, bonioto and Latin sal
At his present location on H Street, The cozy eatery is painted with tactfully hip and appropriately exciting colors. The architecture is modern without being over bearing and the paint vivid, without disrupting the casual atmosphere and lending a refreshingly light and comfortable mood to the establishment. Even the restrooms are adorned with tempura paints.
So as your usual “dining joints” grow a little old take the short walk to H Streets’ hidden treasure. And be sure to ask to say hello to Chef H.O.