The James Beard Award Weekend is the perfect time to celebrate Chicago’s vibrant and diverse culinary culture, especially as the award ceremony provides a rare opportunity for chefs across the U.S. to gather in the Windy City. This year, The Asian American Foundation (TAAF) invites the community to explore AAPI culinary excellency at the 2023 James Beard Award AAPI Party & Reception on Sunday, June 4th.

The first AAPI celebration at the James Beard Awards took place in 2022, hosted by Mei Mei Dumplings, a dumpling restaurant owned by 2022 James Beard Leadership Award winner Irene Li. TAAF is pleased to join Irene and the host committee to continue to build this space for the AAPI culinary community. Now in its third year, the annual celebration of AAPI culinary excellence aims to celebrate chefs, restaurateurs, and industry leaders from across the country.

Presented by TAAF in partnership with Amazon and Chefs Danny Lee (2020 James Beard nominee; Chef and Owner, Anju/Mandu/CHIKO), Irene Li (2022 James Beard Leadership Award recipient, Owner, Mei Mei Dumplings/Prepshift), and Thomas Oh & Andrew Lim (Owners, Perilla), the evening will feature contemporary inclusive cuisine and creative cocktails from prominent AAPI chefs nationwide. Beverage sponsors include Mountain Valley Spring Water, West 32 Soju, Hana Makkoli, Misoo, and Marz Community Brewing.


Read More: Celebrate AAPI Heritage at Top Chicago Restaurants


Presenting Chefs

Inviting past and current James Beard nominees and semi-finalists, TAAF is ready to paint your James Beard Awards weekend with AAPI flare. Participating chefs include this year’s Semi-Finalist, Windy City’s very own Chef Zubair Mohajir from one of the best Indian restaurants, Wazwan, and the 2019 James Beard Award Best Chef, Tom Cunanan. Guests can also expect to meet a few other local AAPI chefs, including Chef Hsing Chen of Eat Well, Chef Ethan Lim of Hermosa, and Chef Andrew Lim of the delicious Korean-American eatery Perilla.

The full list of participating chefs is listed below:


Danny Lee, 2020 James Beard nominee, Mandu/Anju/CHIKO, Washington, DC
Andrew Lim, Perilla, Chicago, IL
Steve Chu, 2023 James Beard Semi-Finalist, Ekiben, Baltimore, MD
Helen Nguyen, 2022 James Beard nominee Saigon Social, NYC,
Hsing Chen, Eat Well, Chicago, IL,
Ethan Lim, Hermosa, Chicago, IL,
Zubair Mohajir, 2023 James Beard Semi-Finalist, Wazwan, Chicago, IL,
Tom Cunanan, James Beard Award Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic 2019; Soy Pinoy, Houston, TX

This year’s James Beard Award AAPI Party & Reception will take place on Sunday, June 4th, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Perilla (401 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL).


About The Asian American Foundation (TAAF)

TAAF serves the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in their pursuit of belonging and prosperity that is free from discrimination, slander, and violence. Founded in 2021 in response to the rise in anti-Asian hate and address the long standing underinvestment in AAPI communities, TAAF funds best-in-class organizations working to mobilize against hate and violence, educate communities, and reclaim our narratives through our core pillars of Anti-hate, Education, Narrative Change, and Resources & Representation. Through our grants, high-impact initiatives and events, we’re creating a permanent and irrevocable sense of belonging for millions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

Featured Image: Perilla


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