Published by Kristen Craig, spring intern at the Manayunk Development Corporation.
When Chef Moon Krapugthong, the chef and owner behind Chabaa Thai Bistro and Yanako, got a call to participate in the 2014 Dish It Up event, she didn’t hesitate to say yes.
The annual showcase, hosted by Women Against Abuse, features the most creative culinary talent in Philadelphia. And these talents have one thing in common besides their creativeness, they’re all women.
On March 27 from 5:30-8 p.m. at WHYY Studios, the top female chefs in Philadelphia will battle it out for the best dish. The challenge for each chef is to make a dish that incorporates purple, the color that represents domestic violence.
“It’s such a powerful statement and good opportunity to support the cause,” Moon said. “To me food is a good medium to send a message along with it. Food is an effective tool; it's really clever and nice that together we can give back."
Besides the chefs, local celebrities and domestic violence advocates will be in attendance and Philly’s own Emmy-winning media personality, Maria Papadakis, will be hosting the event and greeting guests on the purple carpet.
Papadakis won’t be the only local famous face, food critic Drew Lazor will be among the judges panel alongside other selected celebrity judges. Dish It Up is an opportunity to raise awareness and support survivors of domestic violence all while enjoying food and having fun.
After participating in 2009 and 2010, then taking off for the following two years, Moon has been able to see the event develop and is excited to be back at an event she is passionate about supporting.
The event has gotten better and better according to Moon, who said the event started at Moore and has now expanding to take place at WHYY. Since she has cooked in the studio before, she is excited to go back and cook alongside the top female chefs in Philly.
One chef and friend she is looking forward to cooking with at the competition is Aimee Olexy the chef behind Talula’s Garden.
“I’m excited to cook with her again, she’s a sweetheart, Moon said.”
In addition to Aimee, Moon will be going head to head with chef’s from other well known restaurants around the city including: Stacey DiPlacido of the popular brunch spot Fitzwater Café, Kate Jacoby from vegan restaurant Vedge, and Bridget Foy from the South St. spot Bridget Foy’s among others.
"It’s good to reconnect with these lades and participate again this year,” Moon said. “I hope I bring Manayunk's name to the event. If I can win-good, but it doesn't matter. It's just a good thing.”
Back in 2010 at her second time at the event, Moon served up a steak with purple juke and Thai chili sauce.
Moon laughed at herself about taking the color purple too literal. She said in the past, she was having difficulty putting a dish together that showed its natural purple color due to many purple vegetables she would use losing a bit of their color when heated.
For this year, she plans to either try to include another purple vegetable or choose a purple flower garnish, which is a unique touch she adds on many of her dishes at Chabaa Thai.
This is definitely an event that takes precision and practice. Moon shared that she usually preps two to three weeks ahead of time for the event.
“You have to practice the dish, test the recipe and decide how to plate it,” Moon said. “At the event you only have limited hours.”
Women Are Powerful:
Moon couldn’t think of any other event that brings so many women chefs together in Philadelphia to celebrate women. She recalled for a long time, that women’s place was always in the kitchen, but then males began to dominate the field when it became a profession and the title of “chef” began, Moon said.
“There are a lot of male chefs who are influenced by their mothers cooking,” Moon said. “The feminine ingredients of passion, love, nurturing is in every meal, so women’s influence is always there.”
About The Organization:
The non-profit organization Women Against Abuse is one of the largest domestic violence non-profits in the city with the mission “provide quality, compassion, and non-judgmental services” to help women who have dealt with domestic violence become independent. The services they provide are endless, from telephone counseling to long-term housing.
Moon expressed her support of the non-profit, to her, "domestic violence is not just physical abuse, it can be mental,” Moon said. “It's very important to have awareness—sometimes they victimize themselves and have to have a lot of courage—they need to know they can get help.”