Press Release

Thursday, June 2, 2022 - 1:05pm
Oakland Museum of California Welcome Chef Michele McQueen to Town Fare Cafe
Town Fare Cafe to Reopen June 29

Oakland, CA, June 2, 2022 – Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is pleased to welcome Chef Michele McQueen, formerly of Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles in the Fillmore and Apple Inc., as chef and manager of Town Fare, the Museum’s cafe. Chef Michele plans to reopen Town Fare June 29 after a brief closure for management transition. A new menu and other plans will be announced shortly. For information, visit museumca.org.

“We are excited to welcome Chef Michele McQueen to OMCA,” says Lori Fogarty, OMCA Director and CEO. “Her extraordinary work is the ideal blend of artistry, history, and culinary science that matches OMCA’s focus on California arts, cultures, and nature. Museum visitors familiar with Chef Michele’s food will look forward to her signature style, and those who will experience her cuisine for the first time will no doubt learn to crave it as much as we do!”

About Chef Michele McQueen
Born in Orange, New Jersey and raised in Oakland, Chef Michele brings the best of her East Coast roots and Bay Area upbringing to the heart and soul of her food. As a child she spent summers in the kitchen with her grandmother Gussie soaking up the history and tradition of making food from scratch with love. Her New Jersey roots introduced her to a wide variety of cuisines including Southern, Italian, and Jewish. On any given night in her household, you may enjoy delicious fried chicken, homemade potato latkes, or marinara sauce made from scratch. It is from these memories that her talent and passion thrived.

After graduating from Howard University with a degree in business, Chef Michele was headed to Law School to study corporate law. Her passion for food soon led her in a different direction. She went on to open multiple restaurants in Oakland before branching out on her own to start catering and open Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles in the Fillmore in San Francisco in the Fillmore District. Gussie’s quickly became a hot spot amongst San Francisco’s finest including Mayor London Breed, Vice-President Kamala Harris, and Danny Glover to name a few.

The news of Chef Michele’s culinary skills and ability to make people crave her masterful and refined take on Southern flavors spread quickly. She began catering for many celebrities such as Tyrese Gibson, Smokey Robinson, The Isley Brothers, Anita Baker, Gary Woodland, and Stephen and Ayesha Curry. She is a preferred caterer for The Paramount Theater, Bay Area Productions, and The Moxy Hotel. Her corporate catering list includes the likes of VCSO, Becton Healthcare Resources Inc., Black MBA Association, 360 TCPR, eBay, PayPal, The San Francisco Foundation, and more.

After closing her restaurant in San Francisco, Chef Michele was brought on at Apple Inc. in Silicon Valley to help develop and manage the Grab and Go program for over 25 of their corporate locations. She helped create recipes for everything from fresh salads, sandwiches, and snacks to individually packed “heat and eat” meals for their satellite locations.

Chef Michele was a guest chef on Grill It with Bobby Flay on Food Network. She was a contestant on Grocery Games with Guy Fieri on Food Network and The Taste on ABC with Anthony Bourdain and Marcus Samuelsson. She has been featured in many local news publications and was recently acknowledged by Ayesha Curry and One Million Black Women, an initiative of Goldman Sachs, for her contributions to fight food insecurity in Oakland and support the feeding efforts of World Central Kitchen and Eat Learn Play.

Chef Michele has always been an active member of the community. She was one of the original founders of Home of Chicken and Waffles where she facilitated a working relationship with Allied Fellowship Services to help bridge the gap between parolees and the workforce. It was through this program that she hired and trained over 50 recently paroled men in the city of Oakland. She is a member of Allen Temple Church where she donated weekly meals to their AIDS program for those who are shut-in and fighting that illness. She remains committed to the community, and her goal is to give opportunities to those who otherwise may not have them.

About Town Fare by Chef Michele McQueen

The new Town Fare will serve what Chef Michele calls “cultural comfort” cuisine, and the menu will be inspired by the diversity of Oakland. Chef Michele and staff prepare most everything from scratch using fresh ingredients; they take pride in what they do and have fun while doing it. Together with OMCA, Chef Michele has many ideas to bring focus to Town Fare including special events and community collaborations.

About The Oakland Museum of California

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) tells the many stories that comprise California, creating the space and context for greater connection, trust, and understanding between people. Through its inclusive exhibitions, public programs, educational initiatives, and cultural events, OMCA brings Californians together and inspires greater understanding about what our state's art, history, and natural surroundings teach us about ourselves and each other. With more than 1.9 million objects, OMCA brings together its multidisciplinary collections of art, history, and natural science with first-person accounts and often untold narratives of California, all within its 110,000 square feet of gallery space and seven-acre campus. The Museum is a leading cultural institution of the Bay Area and a resource for the research and understanding of California's dynamic cultural and environmental heritage for visitors from the region, the state, and around the world.

 

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