Happy July, Moms! Meet Jenny Lee, local mom, chef and activist and this month's Spotlight Mom! Read all about Jenny in our exclusive interview below!
Please tell us your Name / Profession(s) or Projects or Hobbies
Jenny Lee, stay-at-home chef mom, owner Perilla Kitchen LLC, writer, activist. Perilla Kitchen is a pop-up food business.
Once dining-in at restaurants was barred in mid-March because of COVID-19, I couldn't do sit-down Korean pop-up dinners. Honestly, I didn't want to. When I'm not making meals for others, I primarily stay at home with my toddler son. I used the safer-at-home time to write an article and an opinion piece about anti-Asian sentiment during COVID-19. At the start of the pandemic, ignorant people blamed those of Asian descent for bringing the coronavirus to their country just because the virus was first discovered in China.
I'm tabling my side hustle for now until it is safer for restaurants to open at full capacity. I rely on restaurant owners to rent me their space to hold an event. Even if I do a takeout pop-up, it would take away from that restaurant's profit when their profit margins are much lower because of this pandemic. With the George Floyd protests heavily on my mind, I firmly believe we, as moms, must talk more about race and racism with each other and with our kids. A few opportunities have come up where I've talked to women who are novices to racism. If I can help them understand the situation, then I'm a better ally.
Number of kids and names and ages
One 3-yr-old son
Tell us a little bit more about you and your family (immediate and/or extended).
I was born and raised in Wisconsin. My Korean parents entered the United States as immigrants in 1970. My mom passed away several years ago.
What is the best part about being connected with Working Moms of Milwaukee and the Mom Force?
I get to read about other working moms who are amazing.
What's been the biggest thing you've learned since the beginning of this 2020 year?
I'm capable of making a difference
Explain/describe one of your proudest mom moments recently.
My son is a very late talker. He qualified for Early Childhood Learning. When schools closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had to homeschool him from emailed lesson plans. I took photos of things he usually wanted: milk, bread, bacon, tortilla chips, ride, sand box etc. I glued them to cardboard. He took to pointing right away. Then he began saying more words! Now he says "Chip" when he wants tortilla chips.
What's the most challenging aspect of daily life right now?
Taking care of my son while he's in this phase of not fully talking in sentences. He can't understand the turmoil that is
happening in our country.
Do you have a favorite place to go in Milwaukee? If so where and why?
Restaurants. I miss sitting down and eating in restaurants. Other than patio seating, many are sticking with takeout only.
Do you have any words of advice for other moms, especially new moms?
You are capable of changing your kid's progress.
What (in your opinion) is Milwaukee's biggest opportunity to improve the lives of moms and families?
These daily protests are making a difference. Everyone has to think about racism. Now is the opportunity to talk to our kids about race, racism and discrimination so they don't inherit societal biases and they don't become bystanders.
What are you most excited for this summer?
Finally seeing family in another state. Local strawberries picked on a farm. Georgia peaches brought in by Tree-Ripe Fruit.