Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

WLS logo
Monday, May 1, 2017

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, ABC 7 Chicago presents ASIAN INFLUENCES, an Emmy Award-winning program that shines the spotlight on Chicago's Pan-Asian American community. Hosted by Judy Hsu, with contributions by Ravi Baichwal, Eric Horng and Ji Suk Yi, the latest ASIAN INFLUENCES airs Saturday, May 20 at 6:00 pm. An encore presentation of ASIAN INFLUENCES will air Sunday, May 28 at 4:30 pm.

This half-hour special starts with a look into the life and work of Rohini Dey, the owner and founder of Vermilion in River North. Beyond being a successful restaurateur and serving up delicious Indian-Latin fusion cuisine, Dey has a PhD in economics, is politically engaged and seeks to provide business and mentorship opportunities through her work with the James Beard Foundation Women in Culinary Leadership Scholarship Program.

Rohini Dey/Vermilion

Rohini Dey is the owner and founder of Vermilion, an Indian-Latin fusion Restaurant celebrating 14 years in River North. Dey is also an entrepreneur with a PHD in economics. She writes columns on restaurants, speaks at business schools and is co-founder of a James Beard Foundation program that helps bring more women into culinary arts.


10 W. Hubbard St

Chicago, IL 60654


For most high school seniors, the days are full of school, hanging out with friends, and making college plans... the same could be said for a Naperville teenager. But Angie Lee has also managed to become one of the nation's "top teen volunteers" as she and a group of close friends use their organization, Angie's Hope, to raise funds to find a cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a rare neuromuscular disease that Angie was diagnosed with at 15 months. Angie will attend Stanford University in the fall, but plans to continue the important work that Angie's Hope has been doing for the past 10 years.

Angie Lee

Angie Lee may be confronting a rare neuromuscular disease but she has not let that stop her from 'stepping up' to help others. She co-founded 'Angie's Hope' 10 years ago, to help raise money to fight her disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Over the years.. Angie and her army of friends and family have managed to raise $250,000 for SMA research. All of this amazing work earned her the Prudential Spirit of Community Award last year... a distinction for the nation's top 10 teen volunteers! As she plans her future at Stanford University, Angie vows for the mission of Angie's Hope to go on.

To donate:

The spotlight turns to Winnetka native and Northwestern University senior, actress Katie Chang. Chang's big break was a starring role in Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring and she has since continued acting professionally, while remaining a full-time student. Chang is currently shooting a film right here in Chicago, called 'Canal Street' while remaining involved on campus and finishing her senior year. After graduation in June, Katie will move to New York City to pursue her dream of writing, producing and starring in her own TV show!

Katie Chang

You likely think -Hollywood-, when you think of an actor's 'path to fame'... but a North Shore native has actually returned to 'her roots'.. to both finish college... and continue blazing quite a trail, in the entertainment industry. Katie Chang's big break was a starring role in Sofia Coppola's 'The Bling Ring'... she is currently shooting a film right here in Chicago, called 'Canal Street'... all this, while she finishes her senior year at Northwestern University. Chang will graduate in June and will head back to New York City to pursue her dream of writing, producing and starring in her own T-V show!

Next, ASIAN INFLUENCES stops by The Aloha Center, the only cultural center of its kind in the entire Midwest Region. Located in Avondale, the Aloha Center seeks to promote and preserve Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island history and culture through classes on hula, ukulele and more. Founder, Lanialoha Lee, sought to fill a void she found in the Chicago area for Native Hawaiians, as well as introduce this vibrant culture to a larger public.

Aloha Center

The Aloha Center in the Avondale neighborhood... is the only center of its kind in all of the Midwest. Its a place where Pacific Islanders and those interested in discovering more about the culture, can come and learn the customs, history and, have fun learning the Hula and Ukulele.

Aloha Center

1626 W. Lawrence

Chicago, IL


Isabel Carpenter, Joe Dela Pena and David Park, are all Chicago residents bringing their entrepreneurial zeal to the culinary sphere. By the Park cookie shop in Lincoln Park brings a fresh eye and family friendly space to the Chicago cookie shop world. Located in the West Loop, Warm Belly Bakery brings Dela Pena's creative vision to life with original cookie and baked good recipes. Inspired by the classic Korean cuisine, Chef David Park's Hanbun in Westmont serves up gourmet dishes in a food court setting, as well as offers weekend "tastings" that are sold out months in advance.


Korean-born David Park has received a James Beard Nomination for the cuisine he creates at Hanbun in Westmont... and believe it or not, his eatery is situated in a food court. Hanbun offers a unique spin on traditional Korean dishes. It was actually selected by Chicago magazine as one of the top ten new restaurants in Chicago in 2016.


665 Pasquinelli Dr #108

Westmont, IL


ASIAN INFLUENCES profiles Jon Cotay, an entrepreneur and event coordinator, who hosts networking events, like Harajuku, for artists, videographers, designers and other creatives looking to showcase their collections to audiences interested in learning more about the Harajuku culture. This segment introduces viewers to the cultural experiences Jon created to give exposure to artistic individuals on the other side of the lens.

By the Park

Chicago is brimming with bakery options.. but a Lincoln Park entrepreneur is making a name for herself by launching a whole new breed of bakery where cookies are 'king'! Isabel Carpenter was an investment banker but quickly discovered, baking was her true passion. She launched By the Park in 2015. Her cookie store stocks its cases with cookies named after various well known parks.

By the Park

2342 N Clark St

Chicago, IL 60614

(312) 585-7553

Jon Cotay

Harajuku may be more familiar in Japan...but a Chicagoan is hoping to bring this trendy type of Japanese street fashion here to the Windy City. Jon Cotay first launched the popular AKIRA stores... now, he is also an Entrepreneur and Event Coordinator who brings together artists, videographers and designers who love the Harajuku culture.

ASIAN INFLUENCES will be available on-demand at

Rubye Wilson and Holly Grisham are the producers of ASIAN INFLUENCES.