Who owns the topic of Asian food? Is it the individual whose genealogy bears the imprint of pho or spring rolls? Or the non-Asian who has dined extensively in other countries? Does the Caucasian scholar who has laser-focused on the subject in academia have credibility?
Four local Asian chefs, with moderator Andrea Nguyen (vietworldkitchen.com), will tackle this timely topic at the Lynhall (2640 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., 612-870-2640, thelynhall.com) on April 8 from 7-9 p.m. Nguyen, born in Vietnam, is a prolific cookbook author and food writer based near San Francisco. Her volumes on Vietnamese food include “The Pho Cookbook,” which won a 2018 James Beard award. Tickets are $15 and available at thelynhall.com. They include small bites and a signing of her new cookbook, “Vietnamese Food Any Day.”
The four local chefs include Ann Ahmed, chef/owner of Lemon Grass Thai Cuisine (8600 Edinburgh Center Dr., Brooklyn Park; 763-494-8809; lemongrassmn.com) and Lat14 Asian Eatery (8815 7th Av. N., Golden Valley, 763-400-7910; lat14.com). Ahmed, who is from Laos, has brought a Laotian influence to traditional Thai food at Lemon Grass. Lat14 focuses on the food of countries along the 14th latitudinal parallel, which includes Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines and Bangladesh.
Hai Truong, chef/owner of Ngon Vietnamese Bistro (799 W. University Av., St. Paul, 651-222-3301; ngonbistro.com), combines French and Vietnamese traditions at the restaurant, using the methods of his mother and grandmother, with ingredients available in the Twin Cities.
Yia Vang, who is Hmong, was born in a refugee camp on the border of Laos and Thailand. He teaches the cuisine of his heritage, as well as holding pop-up dining events throughout the Twin Cities under the name Union Kitchen (unionkitchenmn.com).
Author Raghavan Iyer, chef/owner of the new Pizza Karma (8451 Joiner Way, Eden Prairie, 952-467-6100; pizzakarma.com), has written six cookbooks, primarily about his native Indian cuisine, and won a James Beard award for a cooking video. He’s a consultant for many restaurants nationwide, and leads culinary tours to India (raghavaniyer.com). Pizza Karma serves up an Indian-inspired array of pizzas made with a naan crust, as well as other dishes.
Dame It! 2019
What better way to celebrate women in the culinary world than this fourth annual Dame It! fundraiser on March 31 from 2-5 p.m. at Solar Arts by Chowgirls (711 15th Av. NE., third floor, Mpls.). The event features small plates, wines, beer and cocktails — all from female chefs, beverage leaders and artisan producers — to raise dollars that the local chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier will disperse for culinary-related projects, including academic scholarships, micro-grants for professional development and financial support of Urban Roots youth program in St. Paul. Cost of the event is $85. Tickets are available at Eventbrite at tinyurl.com/y3x6td8m. For more information, see mnlesdames.org/dame-it.
LEE SVITAK DEAN