On the 1st of the month I was invited to be speak at a panel for CSUN’s AAPI Association (Asian American Pacific Islander Association). The panel consisted of Tien Nguyen (Los Angeles Food Writer), Kristine de la Cruz (owner of Creme Caramel LA), Rayson Esquejo (co-producer of Eat Play Move LA), and myself. The panel was held at the Oviatt Library in the center of CSUN’s campus.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect. When they asked me I was actually really surprised. I knew I was passionate and had a lot to say about what I do but had no idea people were noticing it.
When I arrived the room was still empty, so I wasn’t sure how many people were going to attend. I walked away for what felt like a minute and next thing I know the room is full of people! It was nerve-racking and exciting at the same time.
The room was intimate and inviting, could fit about 50+ people. They had chairs and a couch set up for us. They made it feel like a living room which made me feel more comfortable.
The panel was a lot of fun. The organizers did a great job making us feel welcome. It felt like we were just talking amongst ourselves at someone’s house – talking about life, how our businesses evolved, and what’s become of the LA food scene. We also discussed what it was like as an Asian-American growing up as a minority and how that affects the way we’ve grown/how we perceive our businesses. Tons of good stuff! Hope the guests found it informative and fun!
We also prepared some pastries for the panel including our Ube Macaroons, Food for the Gods, Ube Custard Cake, and Barako Coffee. They were a hit! I’m so glad people enjoyed it.
What I’m really surprised about, though, is how passionate I am about my upbringing and what it’s like to be Filipino-American. I don’t know, I guess I never really thought about it. I mean it did, but I never thought about it being that pivotal or important to me until I had to talk about it. Talking about what it was like growing up, how my mom would pack me meat and rice instead of PB&J’s, the insecurity I felt, watching my parents be entrepreneurs, the gap between 1st and 2nd generation Filipinos, and the journey of eating both Filipino and non-Filipino food. Wow, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Who knew?! Well now I know, it’s important to me.
More on that later, this needs a post all in itself. In the meantime….
A big thank you to Katherine (in the yellow), Veronica (not pictured), and the entire team at CSUN for your hospitality and for inviting this girl to a big girl party. Hope to work with you again in the future!