Massachusetts Asian and Pacific Islanders (MAP) for Health celebrated their 15th Anniversary by holding a cooking competition in the style of the Food Network show “Iron Chef”, as well as an award ceremony at the Calderwood Pavilion on Friday, May 20.
The event happened at a nice timing, following the National Asian and Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which occurred the day before, May 19.
MAP for Health’s event, which hosted close to 80 people, began at 6 pm with an energetic performance by The Genki Spark, dubbed the first and only Asian women’s taiko performance group in the country.
Anh Dao Kolbe and Karen S. Young were honored with MAP for Health 2011 Community Awards recognizing their work with the Asian, South Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth communities.
During an emotional acceptance speech, Kolbe – a gay and lesbian activist and photographer – equated her experience working with MAP for Health as “coming home.” Though Young’s speech followed the same appreciative sentiment as Kolbe’s, Young incorporated a more cheerful vibe, allowing her “sisters” of the Genki Spark to stand alongside her and cheer as she progressed through the acceptance of her award.
Following the presentation of awards, the cooking competition took place. Two groups of MAP Peer Leaders – youth members of the MAP for Health community – battled each other by cooking one dish each, testing culinary skills and teamwork. The two groups were called Team FoodieJudie and Team Delicious, and prepared “Fried Wok ‘n’ Rolls” and “Money Bags” respectively.
Team FoodieJudie consisted of Narong Sokhom, Kelli Tan, Starry Dou, Chris Em, and were guided by Judy Khy. Team Delicious consisted of Evy Duong, Mei Mei Saems, Stephen Toy, Thong Nguyen, and were guided by Laurence Louie.
“MAP for Health is a Massachusetts, non-profit, Asian, South Asian and Pacific Islander community-based organization that works for fairness, equality and inclusion for these communities in health care planning, disease prevention, primary care access, and service delivery,” according to the organization’s press release.