Los Angeles’s Chinatown is experiencing a food revolution. Only the eateries making a name for themselves aren’t Chinese, they’re Thai, Korean, Mexican… and even Southern. In episode one of The Great American Cooking Story, I explored two of the restaurants shaping the future of L.A.’s Chinatown: The Little Jewel of New Orleans and Chimney Coffee House. Join me on my adventure of great food made with local ingredients and sold at affordable prices as I explore the role that these two restaurants are playing in Chinatown’s revitalization.
When I got back from my whirlwind trip across the country, I knew I had a story to tell, but I wasn’t quite sure how it would come together. Filming wasn’t perfect, and with only 5 hours or less in each city, it was hard to know whether what I captured would amount to anything at all. Over the last few months I’ve watched hours of footage, crafted story lines, and mixed and re-mixed the sounds of the kitchens with the soundtrack of each city. I’ve been hungry for months–the shot of a delicious burger never gets old!–but I’m so excited to finally be able to share the finished product with you. Thank you for joining me on my journey so far. I can promise you that it’s only just begun.
In one year I went from thinking I should be making documentaries to crowdfunding my way on board a train across the country to create a series of them.
April 2014. Chicago. The Purple Pig.
The Purple Pig is one of those places that doesn’t post its menu prices on its website. It’s not a place where you find yourself at 2 p.m. on a weekday with a journalist’s salary unless you were me, someone who was in a quarter-life crisis and didn’t know it.
I was meeting with a former professor of mine, someone who has come to be a mentor to me. I had meant for the conversation to be a chance to catch up. But as are most meetings with your mentors, it turned out to be about life instead.
“Purpose” was our topic of conversation, in particular, what mine would be. This was not a new subject for us, as she had helped me figure out my senior year of college whether I would move with my friends to NYC to pursue acting, or continue down the path of journalism. Ultimately, I picked the latter, and was working as a Capitol Hill reporter in Washington, D.C.
“Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?”
I thought about it for a moment. “Eventually I’d like to move into documentary work. I want to be telling stories that inspire people to act.”