It’s been a busy spring, and this holiday weekend I’m excited to finally share two projects that I’ve been cooking up. (When it rains, it pours!) First up is the Hapa Kitchen, a supper club and collaborative cooking project co-founded with my friend and frequent kitchen comrade, chef Akiko Moorman. To kick off its launch, we’re proud to be working with Queens County Farm Museum for a local lamb-based benefit dinner on May 1st, or May Day.
Just as our pagan ancestors welcomed the beginning of spring with a host of funky rituals, our May Day event will feature a number of highlights. Dinner will be held outdoors on the farm, with a five-course menu focused on humanely-raised lamb from (you guessed it) Apple Pond Farm. We’re especially thrilled that Dick and Sonja, the owners of Apple Pond, will be in attendance to discuss their fascinating farm, and before the meal, Dick will lead a renewable energy workshop. Local wines will be provided by the New York Wine & Grape Association, and the menu filled out with just-harvested spring vegetables and eggs from Queens Farm (which I toured here). And since it’s May Day, there will be a maypole, floral garland weaving, a bonfire, and some surprise pagan tomfoolery yet. Tickets are now available for the benefit through Queens County Farm Museum. It should be a pretty fun night.
Now for a little more backstory on Hapa Kitchen, in lieu of a fully functioning website: For the past few months, Akiko and I have been dreaming of this supper club. Cooking together with A Razor, A Shiny Knife, for Photojojo, in kitchens from Washington, DC to San Francisco and in our own NYC homes, we found that we had a lot in common. First, we’re both half-Asian, or hapas — Akiko half-Japanese, and myself half-Chinese. We found that our favorite foods to create were often variously Asian-inspired, and we had so many untested ideas for creative ways to express our half-Asian heritage through food. The incessant brainstorming about cross-cultural feasts and course ideas grew so loud that we decided to do something productive about it. Hence, the Hapa Kitchen was formed.
Akiko’s two-layer agar tapioca treats
black-and-white Thai rice Spam sushi rolls for an Obama-inspired dinner
Through collaborating with other chefs, hosting fun food events, and compiling a cache of innovative recipes, our goal is to celebrate hapa culture and cuisine. What is “hapa cuisine”? We hope to find that out more over time, but we’re definitely not limiting it to only East-West fusions. Actually, we’d prefer not to call if “fusion” at all — a tired term that doesn’t recall very favorable restaurants, in our opinion. We hope to embrace the world of food with all sorts of Asian-inspired flairs. But for now, we’re focused on one thing: lamb. Five courses, and with influences from probably ten times that many places. Stay tuned for an update on the menu. Hope to see you on May Day, and if not, another time to come!