Virtual - The Connection between Food, Culture, and Identity

Tuesday, May 247:00—8:00 PMVirtual

Let's celebrate AAPI Heritage Month! Join Cary Library, Lexington AAPI Youth Team, CAAL, and our panel of food experts for a conversation about the relationship between food and culture. Our panelists will talk about the memories and cultural significance associated with their favorite dish. They'll share their perspectives on how a love of one's cuisine can provide comfort, connection, and a sense of identity.

Panel of Food Experts: Helen Chen, Debra Samuels, and Shailini Sisodia.

In partnership with the Chinese American Association of Lexington (CAAL)  and the Lexington AAPI Youth Team.

Co-sponsored by the Indian Americans of Lexington (IAL), Japanese Support Group of Lexington (JPLex), and  Korean-American Organization of Lexington (KOLex), Community Endowment of Lexington (CEL), and Civic Leadership Academy (CLA).

Panelist Bios

Helen Chen is the founder of Helen’s Asian Kitchen, a widely distributed Asian cookware line, and the author of Helen Chen’s Chinese Home Cooking, Peking Cuisine, Easy Chinese Stir-Fries and Easy Asian Noodles. Her mother, Joyce Chen, was a pioneering Chinese restaurateur and entrepreneur. Helen served as CEO of her mother’s company before launching her own business.

Having been born in China and raised and educated in the United States, Helen brings the best of both worlds to her approach to the art of Chinese cuisine.  In her active role as a teacher and educator, Helen teaches in numerous cooking schools across the country.

Debra Samuels was the recipient of the Japan Society of Boston’s 2020, “John E. Thayer III Award,” for outstanding contributions to the progress of the understanding and friendship between the people of the United States and Japan. She leads the program content and curriculum development of TABLE FOR TWO USA’s Japanese inspired food education program, “Wa-Shokuiku -Learn. Cook. Eat Japanese!”. She was a food writer and contributor to the Food Section of The Boston Globe and has authored two cookbooks: “My Japanese Table,” and “The Korean Table.” Samuels curated the exhibit, “Obento and Built Space: Japanese Boxed Lunch and Architecture,” at the Boston Architectural College (2015) and co-curated, “Objects of Use and Beauty: Design and Craft in Japanese Culinary Tools,” at the Fuller Craft Museum (2018).  Many of the objects for both exhibits were from Debra’s extensive personal collection. Debra worked as a program coordinator in the Japan department and an exhibition developer at the Children's Museum, Boston (1992-2000).  She has lived in Japan, all together, for 12 years and specializes in Japanese cuisine.  She travels around the country and abroad teaching hands on workshops on obento, the Japanese lunchbox. During Covid 19 she is teaching live online cooking programs to youth and adults.

Shailini Sisodia was born in Kathmandu, Nepal, and with her father being a well-known UN diplomat, the family lived all over the world. Massachusetts, however, has now been her home for the past few decades. A lifelong educator, Shailini taught at both Boston University and Northeastern University earlier in her career, and while she really enjoyed that, she is currently living her true passion by teaching people how to cook food that is both delicious and nutritious. Toward that end, she teaches many different types of cuisines in her Boston area cooking classes, including in her own home, and most recently taught at the well known Christopher Kimball's Milk Street Kitchen. Shailini is also the cooking teacher at Hayden Rec, where her classes fill up within minutes! She is grateful to get rave reviews from all her students, ages 3 on up! She is a Head chef at Lexeatogether, here in town, and does other food related volunteer work, as well.  Shailini also taught a zoom class, "Fun and Fancy appetizers" for the library and has been featured in local media, including the "Lexington Minuteman", "the "Colonial Times" and a FB platform called "Women who win/Dreamcatchers" 

Registration for this event has now closed.