“God bless America…”
…my father says on a quite regular basis.
Sometimes he means it sarcastically, with the wit and dark humor only a Portuguese man can have. But almost always he means it in earnest. My dad immigrated from the Azorean island of Sao Miguel to Jamaica, Queens in New York City when he was a teenager, along with his parents and three siblings. Their English was minimal. Three of the four children would not get much formal education beyond a high school equivalent. At one point, my father was a luggage handler at LaGuardia Airport by night and a construction worker by day. My aunt started sewing dresses from home. They were hard workers, focusing on their faith and family. The siblings eventually all owned businesses and property. All of my generation have gone to college, my dad even paying for me and my three siblings’ undergraduate degrees so that we had the freedom to graduate without college loan debt. They all contributed greatly to both the economy and the culture of the United States.
God bless America.
Unfortunately, not all such immigration stories are created equal, and I’m very aware that I should be particularly thankful for mine.
So when FWD.us asked me to moderate an upcoming panel discussion on the immigrant contribution to the New York dining scene in celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month, I didn’t even pause before saying “yes”.
So join me Thursday, June 11th, at the ThinkFwd event. We’ll have a cocktail hour tasting from the four New York City chefs – Matt Le-Khac, Chef at An Choi; Sean John, Owner of Spur Tree Lounge; Wolfgang Ban, Co-chef/owner of Edi & the Wolf, The Third Man and Elderberry Catering; and Patricia Cartin, Author of Dessert Party. Then we’ll sit for a discussion where I’ll ask them how their pasts have influenced their cuisine, and how they hope their cuisine influences New York.
Flavors of Home
Part of Immigrant Heritage Month by FWD.us
WHERE: Open House (Bowery) 168 Bowery New York, NY 10012
WHEN: June 11, 2015, 7:00 PM (ET)
ADMISSION: The event is free! RSVP at www.fwd.us for a spot, then come nibble and be part of the conversation.
FWD.us is an advocacy organization created to help organize the broader tech community to promote a bipartisan policy agenda – including comprehensive immigration reform, education reform, and support for scientific research – that will boost the knowledge economy to ensure more jobs, innovation and investment, now and in the future. Learn more at www.FWD.us.