Asian Chefs Join Forces In ‘Minnesota Rice Initiative’

A team of local chefs is serving up a lesson in tolerance through food and drink, reports Marielle Mohs (2:17). WCCO 4 News At 5:30 - May 2, 2021

Video Transcript

- A team of local chefs is serving up a lesson in tolerance through food and drink. Mary [? Elmo ?] introduces us to the initiative that's trying to end racism against Asian-Americans by sitting around the dinner table.

- The first thing I'm going to add is some coconut milk here. I love the notion that every single culture in the world independently of each other has figured out a way to make alcohol. I think that's really something that just unites the world.

- Jonathan Janssen is the bar manager at [INAUDIBLE].

- The green cardamom pods are a symbol of generosity.

- He was born in South Korea and adopted by his Minnesota family when he was two and a half.

JONATHAN JANSSEN: When it comes down to it, like I am very Minnesotan. But I still look the way I do, and that has shaped my life experiences.

- Experiences of Asian racism.

- For me, personally, growing up, I had to deal with lots of microaggressions and some outright hatred.

- Following the shootings at Asian stores in Atlanta earlier this year and the spike in Asian racism following the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of Twin Cities Asian-American chefs and bartenders are coming together to spread awareness and raise money to stop this ongoing Asian hate through a fundraiser called Minnesota Rice. You buy in for $100, and then throughout the entire month, you will be emailed links to videos of food and drink creators showing you how to make specialty Asian dishes and drinks.

YIA VANG: Food is this catalyst into bringing people together. And in these videos, as you watch, you're not only learning a recipe or learn a dish. You actually see into the lives of these chefs, and these drink makers, and what inspires them.

Yia Vang is the head chef and owner of Union Hmong Kitchen in St. Paul. He says the mission here is simple. Love us, just like you love our food.

- What we're trying to do is we're going to try to show people hope, that fear comes in, but hope wins at the end.

- In Northeast Minneapolis, Mary [? Elmo, ?] WCCO 4 News.

- 100% of the money raised from ticket sales will go directly to the coalition of Asian-American leaders of Minnesota. This group helps create laws and legislation that protect Asian-Americans from hate crimes.