The Los Angeles Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association

Join AAJA-LA for Lights! Camera! Food! on Nov. 19

Dream of taking mouth-watering food photos? Want to know the tricks and tips to putting together a beautiful plate? Join the Asian American Journalists Association, Los Angeles (AAJA-LA) for a special event on plating and food photography. It’ll be hosted at Maru (12400 Wilshire Blvd., #150, Los Angeles) on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. Chef Jason Park had a successful run with Maru in Santa Clarita and moved the brand to West Los Angeles about two and a half years ago.  The restaurant finally re-opened officially Oct. 21, so by the time we have our event, Maru will be a mere month old.

Whether you have a professional camera or an iPhone, you’ll learn how to play with food and photography. Plus you’ll get to sample one-of-a-kind dishes prepared by Chef Jason Park of Maru. Special thanks to Chef Jason Park, who has generously donated the space for the event and samples for the group, as well as Toyota who has sponsored the program.

There will be a cash bar and validated parking is provided for two hours.


Maria Nguyen

If you didn’t know it already, Maria Nguyen has always had a great eye for design. She finished her bachelor’s in two years, freelanced, served as the art director for the ZehnerGroup and then launched The Art of Plating. The Art of Plating is devoted to the exhibition of gastronomy as a form of high art – utilizing form, texture and color to tell a story and evoke emotions. Focused on the process and artistry involved in creating modern haute cuisine, they invite some of today’s most brilliant culinary innovators to share their vision, their inspiration, passion, emotions and life stories.

Chef Jason Park

This multi-faceted chef behind Maru just happens to be one of our featured panelists for this event. Chef Jason Park was born in Korea, raised since the age of five in the San Fernando Valley. Before there was the Food Network, he watched PBS cooking shows and taught himself knife skills. Maru has impeccable sushi from the bar, but from the kitchen Chef Jason says, he just cooks what he feels like eating – that might mean a French/Italian mash up of duck confit encapsulated in a crispy risotto cake on top of a light tomato sauce.

Ryan Tanaka

As one of the leading commercial food photographers, Ryan Tanaka will be joining our panel as well. His clients include publications such as Zagat and Time Out LA as well as renowned restaurants such as Bestia, Starry Kitchen and Mo-Chica. Tanaka studied graphic design at UCLA and credits that for his fascination with the way food is prepared and changed from raw materials into a final delicious plate. His career started when he started hanging around kitchen restaurants, all the while snapping his pictures.


Susan Hirasuna

As an award winning broadcast journalist and an AAJA-LA board member, Susan Hirasuna will be leading the conversation at the Lights! Camera! Food! event. At KTTV FOX 11, she heads the weekend version of Studio 11 LA. Susan has also carved out a reputation as the resident foodie from her “Dinner Out” feature.


Chef Jason Park will prepare samplings of some of the following items:
Sashimi of kanpachi, hon maguro and Hokkaido uni
Proscuitto and cauliflower salad
Sword lettuce salad
Haricot vert salad
Marinated black cod
Skirt steak, rib eye and curry lamb


Register on Eventbrite, online ticket sales close Tuesday, Nov. 17:

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with food service beginning at 7 p.m.

Free for AAJA-LA members (enter your email address in the “enter promotional code” section to access ticket)

$15 for non AAJA-LA members

$55 for new/renewing membership and program ($10 discount – regular membership is $65!)

Follow the conversation on Twitter at #aajalafood.

Seats are limited – sign up today!