We imagine stories by marginalized writers as not just instructive or eye-opening but celebratory and evocative of the senses. This inspired us to form a team of artists and chefs to create a pop-up dinner on campus that paired original writing about cultural polarity from 8 student artists of color with 8 unique courses.
The dishes pulled certain textures from the story into being. The stories reflected our individual truths. In the story Kimchi (alongside pickled veggies and flamingo pear), a cynical narrator explores the unavoidable appropriation of trendy Asian dishes. In Bite Size (Nigerian curried goat tacos), Nigerian-American parents teach their kid why pets are for the coddled. In the smoky Rite of Passage (kinako mochi), our narrator reflects on the historical trauma of her Japanese-French heritage.
Hosted at the farm, there was no glitz or glam, save the gentle decrescendo of the sunlit aestival sky. When the dinner ended, guests who had been strangers an hour before were giving each other car rides home. People came up to me and told me that they were, by the act of sharing this experience, able to connect with these stories and diverse perspectives in a way they never had before. One guest told me this was her favorite event she had attended on campus.
I left with this wonderful feeling of knowing that we all left that night immensely tired but with much more purpose in our strides. I dream of making this a regular pop-up, so that many artists and chefs and people of all walks of life can embark on a collaboration of understanding, solidarity, community and commonality, in order to foster a more inclusive future.
Photo Credits: Ash Ngu
Cuisine of Change
Curriculum Design, Public Service
I co-designed course content and lead a Stanford Alternative Break experience, tailored toward Undergraduate students, focused around service and breadth into the issues of food insecurity and childhood obesity in America.
In collaboration with Leilani Reyes, Kyle Laviana, and the Haas Center for Public Service
Manufacturing, Industrial Design
The tradition of Chinese tea has always been a source of comfort for me, as an immigrant, growing up in a community without many families that looked like mine. This project takes the traditional Chinese tea tray and gives it verticality, sculptural form, and storage capabilities by taking the form of three interconnected terraces. When in use, discarded tea flows from one terrace to another.
After ideating 100+ ideas and sketches, I settled on a modern look of a food-safe aluminum frame with elegant, sustainable bamboo. After a misguided attempt to laser-cut the bamboo parts, I turned to the wood shop for less precise but more beautiful wooden tops. I went through three sets of aluminum frames in the course of two weeks, adjusting dimensions and press-fits to be more structurally sound. Finally, the aluminum was bead-blasted and the wood finished with food safe oil.
Visual Design, Cuisine
As part of a pop-up dinner series at Stanford, I helped put on an inventive 12 course menu, prepping, cooking, and plating dishes such as squid-ink ravioli, smoked beets, and foraged greens. I also designed menus and aided in decor.