This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) hosts the return of its celebrated “Rising Chef Series,” a dinner pop-up series convening four emerging Asian American chefs in a four-week celebration of food, culture and the spirit of innovation.
Taking place within the JACCC’s Toshizo Watanabe Culinary Cultural Center (TWCCC), which brought acclaimed culinary residencies such as Hansei and n/soto, the series will feature innovative pop-up restaurant concepts inspired by the Asian American identities and experiences of chefs Yakitoriguy, Jasper Lynn, Yoonjin Hwang, and Stella Navarro-Kim.
Each week will introduce a new immersive dinner experience within the JACCC’s James Irvine Japanese Garden and include a five-course pre-fixe menu inspired by each chef’s cultural heritage, alongside signature House of Suntory cocktail pairings and more.
The Rising Chef Series is a continuation of the JACCC’s celebrated programming that offers a place of discovery for Japanese and Japanese American culture, community, and culinary talent. Chefs will receive hands-on support and guidance from the event’s second year veteran and Director of Culinary Arts Jane Matsumoto, and the center’s new director of culinary events, Keizo Shimamoto, widely regarded as one of the best ramen chefs in the U.S. and the inventor of the famed Ramen Burger.
“This is an incredibly exciting moment for the JACCC, as we continue the momentum and success of last year’s Rising Chef Series in this celebration of Heritage Month, food, innovation, and our broader community,” says Matsumoto. “We hope for our entire community to come out as we bring the culinary ambitions of chefs Yakitoriguy, Jasper, Yoonjin, and Stella to life!”
Week 1 of the series will feature a restaurant concept by Yakitoriguy, a self-taught Japanese American chef that has spent time in Japan learning under yakitori masters. Chef Yakitoriguy’s menu is an ode to the traditional and Japanese culinary art of yakitori, elevated through innovative flavors and pairings.
Week 2 will feature a restaurant concept by Jasper Lynn, a Chinese American self-taught chef who first discovered his passion for cooking in the pandemic. Since then, Lynn has launched Rosalynn Supper Club, a fine dining experience that operates out of his own home, and has had a chef cameo in Season 2 of “Bling Empire.” Chef Lynn’s menu features flavors from his childhood and his upbringing in the US, showcasing his sophisticated interpretation of New American meets Asian cuisine.
Week 3 will feature a restaurant concept by Yoonjin Hwang, a self-trained home chef best known as the visionary behind the acclaimed and now-closed Spoon by H, a beloved foodie destination that wowed diners with its innovative takes on Korean comfort dishes. Chef Hwang’s menu will reflect her trademark style of elevating Korean comfort dishes with inventive flavors and pairings.
Week 4 will feature a menu by Stella Navarro-Kim, a Korean-Mexican chef and bartender who developed her passion for food early on, cooking alongside family in her home kitchen. Chef Navarro-Kim’s menu will feature flavors from her mixed Korean and Mexican heritage.
This series is made possible through the donation of House of Suntory. All proceeds from the event will also go to fund further culinary innovation and entrepreneurship, including support for TWCCC’s Culinary Arts Program, which empowers aspiring chefs with a space to share their stories, techniques, and innovations.
Tickets for the pop-up – open Tuesday and Wednesday for the month of May – are available for purchase at http://bit.ly/RisingChefs2 for $180. Seatings are available each night at 5:30 and 8 p.m.
For more information on JACCC’s programs, visit www.JACCC.org.