Two local chefs are bringing a new market dedicated to Asian culture to Avondale next weekend. Cat Pham, who sells Vietnamese cuisine under @scratchsniffpurr on Instagram, and Ash Lemasters, the chef behind vegan bento box pop-up Snackie Chan, have founded the Azn Pryde Market. The first event is planned for 11 am to 5 pm on Sunday, May 22nd at Metropolitan Brewing, 3057 N Rockwell Street in Avondale.
Pham and Lemasters will be joined by a few dozen Asian American makers selling handmade goods. Many other Asian American chefs have signed on to participate in preparing meals that will be offered as a pay-what-you-can, cafeteria-style spread for shoppers. Azn Pryde Market will emphasize family-style meals and will be served on metal trays at a communal table. The event will highlight a range of vendors from throughout Chicagoland, including both traditionally established business owners and pop-up creatives. As previously mentioned the cost to market-goers for the meal component is designed as a pay-what-you-can model. This has been made possible in part to private donations and sponsorship from 46th Ward Committeeman Sean Tenner and attorney Stephen Swedlow.
Pham and Lemasters planned this event as a unique and inclusive space for Chicagoans to come together in celebration of Asian culture. In an interview with Mina Bloom of BlockClub Chicago, Pham, age 35, and Lemasters, age 33, said they weren’t sure where they fit into the Asian-American community growing up. “I’ve been on a journey of discovery and reconnection with culture the last couple of years. I’ve been dealing with a sense of imposter syndrome, growing up biracial, and not feeling connected to my Asian heritage,” Lemasters said. Both chefs have professed to have discovered a sense of purpose and community in cooking and preparing Asian cuisine.
Azn Pryde Market is an amalgamation of this journey and a way for other Asian American creatives and chefs to showcase their own journeys. Each of the participating vendors has pledged a donation of anywhere between 5 to 10 percent of their profits from the event to organizations that support Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in honor of AAPI Heritage Month.