Chefs and restaurants are stepping up from coast to coast to raise awareness of racism toward the Asian American community and serving up a new way to unite people through unique dining and takeout experiences.
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Chefs Stoping AAPI Hate and Resy, the restaurant reservation website, are working on a new dinner series led by a collective of AAPI and ally chefs.
Co-founders Tim Ma -- the chef and owner of American Son and Lucky Danger -- and Kevin Tien -- the chef and owner of Moon Rabbit -- first kicked off the pop-up events in Washington, D.C., in April following the national rise in hate crimes and xenophobic attacks against the Asian community. The pair enlisted over 45 area chefs, including Tom Cunanan, Paolo Dungca, Rose Nguyen and more to participate in the inaugural series and donate proceeds to AAPI organizations.
The five-course meals that benefit AAPI organizations are priced at $165, which includes a mystery bottle of sake courtesy of Joy Of Sake, and feeds two adults. Plus, the chefs are reimbursed for their dish and any additional revenue gets donated to local AAPI-led organizations like Heart of Dinner, Apex for Youth and Rise. Tickets are available for purchase online through Resy and guests can select their pick-up times for the meals.
After its early success, the concept launched in New York City last week in partnership with Resy where the weekly dinner series will continue throughout the month serving five-course meals conceptualized with a rotation of the city's top restaurants and chefs.
The grassroots initiative that mobilized the chef community has already raised $40,000 and the co-founders hope to sell out all the May dinners and donate proceeds to AAPI nonprofits.
Check out a full list of participating chefs by city here.
For chef Sam Yoo, a Korean American Queens native whose James Beard Award-winning restaurant will serve its dishes during the fourth week of the series, the initiative is bigger than feeding people his delicious food.
"I'm participating to amplify the voices in my community who are combatting a very serious sickness that's been spreading across the country. It's disappointing we have to educate people on such glaringly obvious truths, and downright agonizing we are made to witness the assault and mistreatment of our elders, parents, siblings, and children," he said in a statement. "I'm not expecting this series to 'accomplish' anything other than sowing some seeds of awareness and empathy."
He added: "This is clearly a fight that has a long road ahead -- there is too much bigotry, miseducation, and a long history of violence to people of color entrenched in this country to expect any one campaign to undo. But it's crucial we participate in whatever way we can."
Sakura Yagi, the chief operating officer of T.I.C. Restaurant Group -- a collection of Japanese restaurants that includes Sakagura, Sake Bar Decibel and Cha-An -- said that "taking action and helping others is the best remedy when you're feeling scared, lost, or hurt like so many of us in the AAPI community are feeling right now."
She continued: "This is all about connecting with others and right now, there's nothing more needed than for all of us to feel reconnected to others both within our own communities and outside of them. I hope diners know that just by ordering these meals, they're really helping, too."
Clarice Lam, pastry chef at Kimika in Nolita, will be whipping up the desserts for this weekend's dinner and told "GMA" that she's thrilled to be part of Chefs Stopping AAPI Hate.
Her sweet offering will be a tiramisu pafei, "which is how they say parfait in Japanese," she said with a laugh. "It's pretty simple, but very heavily Asian influenced -- made with espresso jelly, coconut, lady fingers and chocolate."
Check out a glimpse of more menus from the participating chefs and restaurants below.
Week Two: Sunday, May 9 -- Wildair, Wayla, Lotus + Cleaver, Kimika, Jeepney.
Appetizer: Wildair's Yuba Salad with Mustard Greens, & Bamboo Shoots
Appetizer: Wayla's Karipup Gai with Minced Chicken, Onions, Potatoes in Puff Pastry & Karee Curry Sauce
Entree: Lotus + Cleaver's Red Braised Beef on Stir Fried Pearl Noodles with Pea Shoot Salad
Dessert: Kimika's Tiramisu Pafei with Espresso Jelly, Ladyfingers, Almond Dofu & Cocoa Kinako
Dessert: Jeepney's Suman Malagkit (Filipino Sticky Rice Cake)
Week Three: Sunday, May 16 -- Bessou, Gabriel Kreuther, Nami Nori, Fish Cheeks, Wayan.
Appetizer: Bessou's Spanish Mackerel Hako Sushi (Pressed Box Sushi)
Appetizer: Gabriel Kreuther's Chilled Soup with Homemade Focaccia
Appetizer: Nami Nori's Fried Chicken Karaage
Entree: Fish Cheeks' Coconut Crab Curry
Dessert: Wayan's Ube Pie
Week Four: Sunday, May 23 -- Rule Of Thirds, Mokbar, Nom Wah, Golden Diner. Full menu to come.
Week Five: Sunday, May 30 -- Tita's Baby, Di An Di, Llama San, Saigon Social, Cha-An. Full menu to come.
In addition to D.C., New York City and Detroit, chefs in San Francisco have teamed up with the local reservation platform OpenTable to execute the series in the Golden State.
Each Tuesday in May, diners can enjoy courses curated by five different chefs in each meal from a total of 20 different Bay Area restaurants, including b. Patisserie, Commis, Liholiho Yacht Club, Mister Jiu's, Nari, Nightbird, SingleThread and Sorrel.
Click here for more information about the national coalition addressing anti-Asian racism that was founded by the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action and San Francisco State University's Asian American Studies Department.