Protect ya neck (and your dumplings).
"A lot of what Asian Food Mafia stands for is unity in the chef world, especially centered on restaurant ownership. We have to help each other out, because at the end of the day, no one else will. You know what I mean?"
The question lingers in the air, accompanied by the cacophony of a kitchen in motion and the shallow hiss of Doron Wong's ragged breathing into his cell phone as the mid-week lunch rush comes to a close. The executive chef of Northern Tiger—a Manhattan-based restaurant focused on the dumpling-and-noodle-heavy cuisine of Northern China—Wong is taking the time to describe to me a loosely formed coalition of veteran chefs of which he is a member—the cheekily named Asian Food Mafia.
The group was created a little more than a year ago by Chris Cheung, the "New Yawk"-accented chef-owner of East Wind Snack Shop in Brooklyn and, more recently, Tànsuŏ in Nashville. He had the idea to bring together a group of chefs, most of whom own Chinese or Asian-American restaurants in Brooklyn or Manhattan, to share information, air grievances, shoot the shit, and maybe even do a little good for charity. Thus, a hashtag and a collaborative were born.
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