Food is often viscerally associated with memories, places, traditions, and personal and collective history. Food tells stories. It has a who, a where, and a why. For refugees, it can be a source of solace or a survival necessity. Illuminated Recipes is a project that uses the power of food and art to document the refugee experience, foster conversation, and connect people across generations and cultures.

The Illuminated Recipes project’s purpose is to contribute to diversifying the story of the Vietnamese American refugee experience and the larger American immigrant narrative through the mediums of storytelling and oral history, photography, and mixed media art with food as the compelling connection. VAALA aims to provide a space for young adults (ages 16-26) to have access to learning and participating in art and storytelling for free. This project is a 12-week program where the participants will be mentored and trained by expert instructors.

Future Workshop Dates To Be Determined. Please Sign Up for our Newsletter or Follow us on Social Media to Keep Updated.


If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Christine Tran, Project Director, at

VAALA would like to express gratitude to the Critical Refugee Studies Collective for their help in funding this project.