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Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

May 22, 2023

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. Our team members from across the country shared with us what their heritage means to them and how food helps them stay connected to their roots.

Akeem Hasegawa

Sous Chef
Hilton Cape Rey- Carlsbad, California
Growing up in a Japanese American household shaped me into the chef I have become
today. Starting at a young age I was able to grasp the processes associated with Japanese cuisine such as wok cookery, sushi, fermentation and the various grilling techniques. With this knowledge, my style has since been able to elaborate upon the traditional French centered training. The first recipe I ever learned was my mother’s teriyaki chicken and steamed rice with umeboshi. This meal still remains one of the favorite dishes to enjoy for my family and I.

Mom’s Teriyaki Chicken

By: Akeem Hasegawa

6ea chicken thighs
1cup extra dark brown sugar
1cup bourbon
2cups soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 ginger ginger, peeled and grated
1 head of garlic, minced
1/2 cup mirin
In a baking dish, whisk all in ingredients together. Place chicken thighs into sauce and bake covered at 250 for 1.5 hours or until cooked through.

Karen Madrigalejos

F&B Team
Bakers Cay Resort, Key Largo
Heritage month for me is celebrating unity, appreciation, recognition, and being proud of who I will always be. Usually in any type of celebration we have there’s always a feast. We eat, dance, and sing as Filipino’s are known to love karaoke. Lumpia are always present on any occasion. This is my recipe for Lumpia Shanghai.


50 pieces lumpia wrapper
3 cups cooking oil
Filling Ingredient

1 1/2 lbs ground pork
2 pieces onion minced
2 pieces carrots minced
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup parsley chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 eggs

  1. Combine all filling ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.
  2. Scoop around 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling and place over a piece of lumpia wrapper. Spread the filling and then fold both sides of the wrapper. Fold the bottom. Brush beaten egg mixture on the top end of the wrapper. Roll-up until completely wrapped. Perform the same step until all mixture are consumed.
  3. Heat oil in a cooking pot. Deep fry lumpia in medium heat until it floats.
  4. Remove from the pot. Let excess oil drip. Serve. Share and enjoy!

Barbara Gusman

Sales Team
Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort
Born Barbara Jean Puanani Gusman to Basilio and Louise Gusman, I am one of 13 children. My multi-cultural heritage is fifty percent llocano (Filipino), twenty five percent Hawaiian and twenty five percent Chinese, My siblings and I were raised in a plantation village in Spreckelsville, surrounded by sugar cane fields. There were pods of ten homes in each village known as Camps. It was the best childhood one could ever ask for. No stress, no fear, and no material things. All our kites, yoyos and slingshots were handmade by my dad. To honor my multi-cultural heritage during Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month, I would like to share with you a family traditional recipe. My mom self-taught herself how to cook Filipino, Hawaiian, and Chinese dishes. With the abundance of food sources, we had available to us in the plantation village, with gratefulness to my dad’s hard work, she was an awesome Chef de Cuisine of sorts. Here is my Family Pork Adobe Recipe.


1 1/2 pounds pork belly – cut into 1×1 or 1×2-inch cubes
1/3 cup dark soy sauce
1/2 cup vinegar
1 cup water
10-12 pieces peppercorn
3 pieces leaves
1 teaspoon brown sugar – optional
1 big onion – chopped coarsely
2 tablespoons oil
5 cloves garlic – minced

  1. Place pork belly in a Add the soy sauce, vinegar, water, peppercorn, bay leaves, brown sugar, and onions. Bring to boil over high heat.
    Cover the pot with the lid and lower heat to low. Let it cook for about an hour or until the meat is really tender and liquid is reduced to Separate meat from the sauce.
  2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-low and add the minced Cook garlic until golden. Remove some of the garlic from oil leaving about½ in the pan and transfer the rest to a small bowl.
  3. Add back the meat to the skillet and cook for a minute or Add the sauce again and let it simmer for some minutes until the sauce is reduced some more and becomes thicker.
  4. Transfer the Pork Adobo to a serving dish and top it with the browned Serve with hot steaming rice.

Ben Joseph

General Manager
Hilton Garden Inn Arlington Courthouse Plaza
India is known for it’s rich colors, different traditions, cultures and of course the food. My state of Kerala that is situated in the South West part of India has by far one of the best tourism tag lines – “God’s Own Country”. We are a very diverse country from how we dress traditionally, the religions practiced, the traditions and the food. When I was growing up in the Middle East, my parents made it a point to only talk to us in our native tongue as they knew we would learn English from school. I am glad that they did this as when I go back home I am able to still speak the language. I am very proud of my Indian heritage and during this month I take the time to reflect on my roots. I do this so that I can teach my son about our history, culture and most importantly our roots. It’s very important for me to teach him this so that he is aware of this and doesn’t forget his roots.

We typically celebrate with family gatherings and lots of yummy food. That is how we show our hospitality and love to each other. I am honored to be able to share my roots with food. My favorite food is a Biryani, which is typically a rice dish made with meat like chicken, beef or lamb and cooked together. It is very delicious and packed with loads of flavor. This is a dish that my mom always used to make for me for my birthdays. Here is my Chicken Biryani Recipe.


1-1.5 lbs chicken on the bone, cut into 1-inch pieces
1.5 cups Basmati rice, soaked
12 green cardamoms
12 cloves
4 one-inch sticks cinnamon
1 cup yogurt, whisked
2 medium onions sliced
2 tablespoons almond paste
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste
4 green chillies, cut into thin strips
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons pure ghee
1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon green cardamom powder
2 tablespoons cream

  1. Place the chicken, six cardamoms, six cloves, two cinnamon sticks, the yogurt, onions, almond paste, ginger paste, garlic paste, green chilies, salt, lemon juice and two tablespoons of ghee in a deep pan. Cover and cook over a low heat till the chicken is tender.
  2. In a separate pan, add five cups of water, salt, ginger-garlic paste, remaining green cardamoms, remaining cloves and remaining cinnamon and bring to a boil. Add the rice and milk and cook till the rice is three-fourth done.
  3. Spread a layer of half the chicken in a pan. With a perforated spoon, layer half the rice over the chicken. Sprinkle half the cardamom powder and spread half the cream over the rice. Repeat the layers. Drizzle the remaining ghee around the edge of the pan. Cover and cook over a low heat for fifteen to twenty minutes. Serve hot.