Tasting Change & Celebrating Community at CAAMFeast 2017

Saturday evening marked the Center for Asian American Media’s fourth annual CAAMFeast Awards: Stories, Food and You. In addition to kicking off the CAAMFest season, this awards night and fundraising gala celebrates talented food makers who have made unique contributions to the culinary landscape.

Attendees gathered for the festivities at San Francisco’s War Memorial & Performing Arts Center in the Green Room. Guests were abuzz with excitement. “Last year was so fun, I just had to come back,” said attendee Cheong Yong right before the doors opened.

CAAMFeast honored “L.A.’s son” Roy Choi, awarding the Trailblazer Award in recognition of his long and varied list of culinary accomplishments including his L.A.-roaming Korean Mexican taco truck, Kogi Korean BBQ and recently his community-focused fast food project, LocoL. Oakland-based People’s Kitchen Collective (PKC) received this year’s Advocate Award. Comprised of three activist chefs, Saqib Keval, Jocelyn Jackson, and Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik, PKC creates food events and community meals that nourish bodies, minds and social movements. Their work seeks to honor and build upon legacies of community power and resilience. The Asian Chefs Association (ACA) was the recipient of the Visionary Award. Since 2002 the ACA has been celebrating Bay Area Asian and Asian American chefs, promoting industry mentorship opportunities and giving back to the community through charitable work.

“Thank you for supporting CAAM’s work,” CAAM Executive Director Stephen Gong said, as he reflected on another year of highlighting and celebrating the diversity of the Asian American experience. “These are challenging times for our country and the stories that we tell and the way that we present our communities are so very important.”

Assemblymember Evan Low noted the confluence and intersection of film, media, food and activism. “It is important to demonstrate support for our communities’ many talents,” Low said.

Choi, in his acceptance speech, acknowledged CAAM as an important organization, and talked about his evolution as a chef, and his identity. “I started to share my refrigerator, I started sharing my ideas and my thoughts and my heart and palms,” he said when reflecting on his path and what the Trailblazer Award means to him. Chef Khai Duong, on behalf of the ACA, shared “It means a lot that what we are doing is seen and acknowledged.”

Jocelyn Jackson opened the acceptance of People’s Kitchen Collective’s award by singing. She explained, “each of the meals that PKC holds begins with song.” Co-founder Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik highlighted the importance and support of their community and Saqib Keval said, “Eating together is a political act and cooking together is revolutionary.” They concluded by inviting all attendees to, “Join us at the table, in the kitchen, and most of all in the streets.”

Another evening highlight was, of course, the food. There were sweet, savory and spicy tastings and bites from top Bay Area food purveyors, as well as specially-crafted drinks and cocktails. Some attendees left the event with more food, special trips and occasions to look forward to as a result of a live auction.

All proceeds from the night will support CAAM’s legacy and future as the nation’s leading Asian American media arts organization committed to telling the stories of our communities.

And the #CAAMFeast honorees are…🏆

A post shared by CAAM (@caamedia) on

For more photos, please visit our CAAMFeast 2017 photo album.