Little Tokyo’s First-Ever ‘Rising Chefs Series’ Showcasing Chefs David Nguyen, Kevin Lee, Tway Nguyen, and Chris Ono
All proceeds will go towards supporting the advancement of Asian American chefs and restaurateurs
This Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (JACCC) will launch the “Rising Chefs Series,” the non-profit organization’s first-ever pop-up series concept in Downtown Los Angeles. The dynamic experience will bring together four emerging Asian American chefs in a 4-week celebration of food, culture and the spirit of innovation.
Taking place in JACCC’s Toshizo Watanabe Culinary Cultural Center (TWCCC), the series will feature innovative restaurant concepts inspired by the blended Asian American identities and experiences of Chefs David Nguyen, Kevin Lee, Tway Nguyen, and Chris Ono.
Each week will introduce a new immersive dinner experience including a 5-course pre-fixe menu inspired by each Chef’s cultural heritage, signature House of Suntory cocktail pairing, Japanese garden lounge area, and more.
“This is an incredibly exciting moment for JACCC, as we open our doors to the Toshizo Watanabe Culinary Center for such a joyous celebration of food, innovation, and community,” says Jane Matsumoto, JACCC’s Culinary Cultural Arts Program Director. “We hope for our entire community to come out as we bring the culinary ambitions of Chefs David, Kevin, Tway, and Chris to life!”
Week 1 of the series will feature a restaurant concept by David Nguyen, a French Laundry and Club 33 trained chef and first-generation Vietnamese American born in Palawan, Philippines. Chef David Nguyen’s menu features flavors from his childhood in Vietnam and his upbringing in the US.
Week 2 will feature a restaurant concept by Kevin Lee, a trained Korean American chef who specializes in French and Italian cuisine, with prior experiences at several Michelin-star restaurants. Chef Lee’s menu reflects his formal training in Italian and French cuisine, seasoned with flavors from his Korean roots.
Week 3 will feature a restaurant concept by Tway Nguyen, a Vietnamese born chef and one of the fastest rising stars in the culinary space. Whether it's at her sold out pop-ups across the US or on her hit People Magazine series "Celeb Eats", her goal is to connect with people through food. Chef Tway Nguyen’s menu is an ode to traditional Vietnamese comfort foods, elevated through innovative flavors and pairings.
Week 4 will feature a menu by Chris Ono, JACCC’s newly appointed Chef in Residence, whose culinary training comes from Michelin starred restaurants, Providence, Eleven Madison Park and Mori sushi. Chris is a 4th generation Japanese American creating dishes evocative of both his French and Japanese training and JA heritage. He will focus on seasonal ingredients using the freshest locally sourced fish, vegetables and meats.
All proceeds from the event will be donated to fund 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–will be available for purchase at bit.ly/risingchefseries for $180 starting April 21, 2022 at 10am PST.
Seatings are available each night at 5:30pm and 8:00pm.
Founded in 1971, Japanese American Cultural & Community Center is one of the largest ethnic arts and cultural centers of its kind in the United States. The Japanese American Cultural & Community Center weaves Japanese and Japanese American arts and culture into the fabric of our communities. JACCC remains firmly rooted in Little Tokyo, providing a vital place to build connections between people and cultures, locally and internationally. Through inclusive programs and authentic experiences, we continue our traditions and nurture the next generation of innovative artists, culture-bearers, and thinkers. For more information, please visit JACCC.org.