Welcoming the Year of the Tiger with Grace Young– Kitchen God Traditions and Preserving Manhattan’s Chinatown

Program Description

The program kicks off with a discussion of the Kitchen God traditions for welcoming an auspicious Year of the Tiger followed by a virtual tour of Grace Young’s extraordinary wok collection.  Then it’s on to an overview of Young’s work since the start of the pandemic, when New York City’s Chinatown was shunned because of xenophobic rhetoric blaming the Chinese for COVID-19. Young and Poster House Museum responded to the crisis by creating Coronavirus: Chinatown Stories, a video series of powerful oral histories that is an important historical documentation of one of Chinatown’s darkest times.

Young will discuss her efforts to protect Manhattan’s Chinatown, the importance of preserving historic Chinatowns, the effects of anti-Asian hate crimes on AAPI enclaves across the country, and her work with the James Beard Foundation and Poster House to support Asian American Pacific Islander communities.

Photo credit: Christian Rodriguez

Grace Young is a James Beard award-winning cookbook author, culinary historian, and filmmaker. She has been a fierce advocate for Chinatown, never more so than in her video series Coronavirus: Chinatown Stories, which documents the toll of the pandemic on NYC’s Chinese community. After the success of their #SaveChineseRestaurants campaign she is partnering once again with the James Beard Foundation and Poster House museum on a #LoveAAPI Instagram campaign to fight anti-Asian hate. Dubbed the “accidental voice for Chinatown” by Grub Street, Grace’s advocacy for Chinese mom and pop businesses has been written about in Smithsonian Vogue, and Food & Wine magazine. Her family’s wok circa 1949, which was part of the Museum of Food & Drink’s Chow exhibit has recently been donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History where it will serve as a significant artifact of Chinese American culinary history. Grace is the recipient of the IACP 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award.

For those who want to put their woks to use, Grace has shared a fabulous recipe for Stir-Fried Cilantro with Bean Sprouts & Shrimp, traditional for the Lunar New Year. The cilantro represents compassion, while the shrimp symbolize happiness, two values that we can hope will be in ample supply in the new year.