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‘Every one of you is a dumpling ninja in your heart’

Myers+Chang executive chef Karen Akunowicz, left, and owner Joanne Chang teamed up for a cooking demonstration at Xhibition Kitchen on Wednesday. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

When it comes to food, chefs Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz are a dynamic team.

They work closely together at Myers+Chang, the Boston restaurant Chang opened 10 years ago with her husband Christopher Myers and where Akunowicz is executive chef. They’ve written a new book together—Myers+Chang at Home, released this month—with recipes that anyone can make at home. And on Wednesday at Northeastern’s Xhibition Kitchen, they led a cooking demonstration of a popular pork dumpling dish from their restaurant.

“I’m so excited to be here,” Chang, who also owns Flour Bakery, said about returning to the Xhibition Kitchen, which was packed with members of the Northeastern community and the public. Chang previously visited XK in 2010 and twice in 2013, and for an event in 2014 celebrating XK’s 10-year anniversary.

Myers+Chang serves three kinds of dumplings, and the restaurant makes between 600 and 900 of them daily. But Chang and Akunowicz led the audience through the process step-by-step. “Every one of you is a dumpling ninja in your heart,” Akunowicz said.

Visitors to the Xhibition Kitchen watch Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz of Myers+Chang cook pork dumplings, a popular dish at their restaurant, on Wednesday. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Chang and Akunowicz also told stories and fielded questions throughout the cooking demo, as the savory aroma of “Mama Chang’s Dumplings”—which Chang grew up making with her mother—filled the air. They noted how they meet, talk, and text with each other constantly about food and new recipes—and how it was so difficult being apart for seven weeks in 2015 when Akunowicz competed on Bravo’s Top Chef.

Chang recalled how food also paid dividends in one of her study groups while she was earning her degree in applied mathematics and economics at Harvard College. “They’d explain the problem set to me, I’d bring them cookies, and we all got A’s,” she said.

The event served as Xhibition Kitchen’s first of the fall semester. Among the upcoming events are a chocolate and cheese tasting on Oct. 4 and a cooking demonstration by another local celebrity chef, Kristen Kish, on Nov. 2.