Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month will be celebrated in meat-free style this year. OmniFoods is partnering with a bevvy of chefs from the AAPI community and offering up its OmniPork products for them to develop limited edition dishes. The new menu items will be included on the chefs’ regular restaurant menus from May 16-31.
Some of the proceeds from each dish sold will go to the Heart of Dinner foundation. The organisation seeks to prevent food insecurity and isolation in the older Asian American population. The issues became increasingly prevalent and desperate during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Where the AAPI dishes can be bought
The chefs taking part in the initiative are a who’s who of NY talent. Confirmed are: chef Chung Chow, chef May Kaidee, chef LJ Almendras and chef Jimmy Ly. They represent a vast cross-section of Asian cooking influences and styles and service diverse restaurants.
Head chef: Chung Chow.
Style of food: Noreetuh is a Michelin-recognized Hawaiian restaurant that takes influence from APAC culinary traditions. Chow is a co-owner and having been born in Hong Kong and then raised in Hawaii, is perfectly placed to bring various cooking styles together.
AAPI dish: Chow noodles.
2. May Kaidee
Head chef: May Kaidee.
Style of food: May Kaidee is a Thai vegan restaurant that is an evolution of Kaidee’s original Bangkok street cart.
AAPI dish: Thai Red Curry and steamed dumplings.
3. Gugu Room
Guest chef: LJ Almendras
Style of food: Almendras is currently a guest chef at the restaurant and focuses his flavour palate on foods that reflect Pinoy street food culture.
AAPI dish: Chorizo burger and sweet and sour meatballs.
4. Madame Vo
Head chef: Jimmy Ly
Style of food: Madame Vo showcases authentic and traditional Vietnamese dishes that include home cooking, street-style and regions specialties.
AAPI dish: Vietnamese xiu mai.
“Coming from Asia, our OmniFoods team is excited to partner with these up-and-coming Asian American chefs based in New York City in honor of AAPI month,” David Yeung, founder of Omnifood said in a statement. “Equally, we are humbled to support the tremendous work by Heart of Dinner in helping the elderly Asian American community.”
Reaching Asian American seniors when they need the most support
Asian American seniors are reportedly experiencing anxiety and fear about leaving their homes. Grocery shopping or visiting social service centres have been shown to present opportunities for vulnerable people to be victims of racial abuse, resulting in an overwhelming unwillingness to step foot outside. This has resulted in an increase in isolation and undernourishment.
A government report shows that seniors in an Asian household are twice as likely to stay indoors, despite not having enough to eat, than those in white households. The reason is widely attributed to a surge in Asian hate crimes, following what many believe to be the political weaponisation of Covid–19 blame. In New York City, hate crimes against Asian individuals grew by 361 percent in 2021, though this number is likely under representative given potential language barriers.
Asian seniors represent the fastest-increasing elderly demographic in New York. As such, ensuring they are fed, safe, and cared for is a growing concern.
A natural extension of Green Monday
OmniFoods getting onboard with the AAPI initiative is no huge surprise. It’s owned by Green Monday. A social and operational enterprise, it seeks to create a shift towards better and sustainable living, while eradicating global food insecurity. This means that OmniFoods has philanthropy as a chief ingredient in all of its products. As well as partnering with more than 800 primary schools, it seeks to embrace Asian seniors.
Lead photo by Seshadri Sarkar at Unsplash.