Recipe for change: LA’s top chefs make noise at Japan House

Recipe For Change has brought together some of Los Angeles’ most revered chefs, including Suzanne Tracht, Mary Sue Milliken, Susan Feniger, Nancy Silverton, Vanda Asapahu, Lissa Doumani and Hiro Sone to raise funds and awareness #MakeNoiseToday Thursday at Japan House Los Angeles.

The Creative Class Collective initiative focuses on combating racism and bigotry by raising the voices of Asian Americans and marginalized youth groups by providing platforms for storytelling about diversity, heritage, accomplishments, challenges, courage, inspiration and culture.

Each of the participating chefs was invited to prepare a dish for the fundraiser using Japanese culture or a Japanese product to inspire their creation as part of the evening’s breathtaking 13-course omakase menu, accompanied by a selection of four sakes and a Suntory whisky. .

The two hot tamales Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger opened the evening with half-shell oysters with soy tomatillo granita and Japanese scallops with a citrus yuzu vinaigrette, a refreshing welcome to the sweltering heat of the day.

“Whenever Suzanne Tracht calls me to do something, I can never say no,” Milliken said THE weekly between sharing recipes with Tracht in the kitchen. “I can hang out with all my favorite chefs like Vonda and her sister. It is especially important to make noise at this time. We had a warning shot during the Covid, especially regarding racism and marginalization and it’s time for a real assessment. It’s not a cat you can put back in the bag.

Lineup of star chefs with Andy Nakano and Julia Huang (Michele Stueven)

Tracht added his carnivorous magic to the menu with juicy Kobe beef topped with just the right amount of uni in a tamarind teriyaki. Chefs Doumani and Sone presented a superb carving of chilled somen noodles in dashi broth with myoga and okra topped with caviar. The ultimate in East meets West, Katianna Hong of the Yangban Company wowed the crowd with a brown butter pie, topped with tender roasted abalone.

“The violence against Asians in America has sparked a movement,” said Vanda Asapahu of Ayara Thai as she put the finishing touches on her crispy skinned amadai tilefish in gaeng som with hom mali rice. “People are targeting the most vulnerable like the elderly, who don’t want to make waves by speaking out. We have been very quiet about this in the past. Living in the largest Thai community outside of Thailand, our home was always filled with the pungent aroma of Asian cuisine. But when I brought cutlets au pau to school alongside peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, it wasn’t always welcome. They asked me if I ate turd. I was an outlier – but now it’s cool to be different.

After Silverton’s ingenious deconstructed Caesar with hard-boiled egg, leek and anchovy crostini, two fine dessert options closed the evening, including Cathy Asapahu’s sophisticated golden yuzu and coconut pie with caramelized white chocolate. Renowned Los Angeles chocolatier and pastry chef, Chinese-born Valerie Gordon, has created a very rich mochi cake with white shoyu, caramel and toasted rice topped with dark sesame caramel with soy salt.

LA Japan House

Coconut yuzu and caramelized white chocolate tart from chef Cathy Asapahu (Michele Stueven)

The evening was presented by restorer Andy Nakano of the legendary and since closed Imperial Gardens on Sunset Blvd. with Julia Huang, Founder and CEO of intertrend communication and founder of the Creative Class Collective.

“The selection of predominantly female chefs was a conscious decision due to the regressive gender dynamics and norms they all had to deal with at some point in their careers,” Huang said in a statement. “These dynamic leaders understand what it means to feel marginalized. We want to recognize their accomplishments and tell their stories while educating others.

Check out the photo gallery for a taste of the omakase marathon and for more information or to donate visit Make some noise today.

LA Japan House

Nancy Silverton, left, and Akasha Richmond (Michele Stueven)

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