Steal This Idea: Cooking Lessons From the Grandmas You Wish You Had
This is an idea worth resurrecting. Culture Kitchen was a San Francisco start-up that didn't end up lasting, but could provide inspiration for another city. Started by two Stanford design grads in 2011, Culture Kitchen originally provided cooking classes taught by local immigrant women, sharing their own cultures' cuisine. Local food lovers could come to a class, learn an authentic recipe from another part of the world, and hear their teacher's personal story.
Later, the company shifted away from the original vision, and started shipping cooking kits from eight different regions of the world. It's the first idea, though, that seems most brilliant: immigrant women had a way to not only potentially earn a living, but to be valued for a high-level skill—their home cooking—rather than being forced into a typical low-wage job. They had the chance to connect with students on a personal level that probably wouldn't have happened otherwise. And the students had the unique chance to learn how to cook, say, Ukranian or Nicaraguan food the way it was meant to be made.
As founder Abby Sturges explained on Shareable:
We use the phrase, 'Authentic ethnic cooking from the grandmas you wish you had,' to help explain the type of experience Culture Kitchen offers. Our chefs know how to make incredible food and use recipes from memory that have been passed down for generations and generations. Our classes focus on in depth explanation of the ingredients because we know most students aren't familiar with the ethnic ingredients our chefs use. We reserve the last 30 minutes of every class to sit down as a group and enjoy the meal together, and we intentionally keep classes small to uphold the intimate experience.
Classes were held in community kitchens, private homes, and restaurants during off-hours. It's a great idea. Anyone want to bring it to life in your own neighborhood?
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Image courtesy of Culture Kitchen