For someone who always has to spell out her name when I meet someone new, cultural competency is something that is ingrained in my psyche and is something that some of us have to deal with in every aspect of our life. So, when I heard about Cultured Kids Cuisine, I was intrigued at the idea of cultivating cultural competency at an early age, and decided to find out more about this concept.
Cultured Kids Cuisine is based in New York City, but connects with people on a global scale. The mission of this non-profit organization, started in July 2020 during the pandemic, is to foster cultural awareness through food. Started and mainly run by college students, it now has approximately 100 volunteers who provide a variety of resources (i.e., virtual cooking workshops, a food anthropology course, educational blog posts and podcasts, tutorials, recipe and lesson kits) for children to participate in activities designed to teach culture while engaging in a fun, recreational pursuit. The cooking classes, which have fostered enthusiasm and provided intellectual stimulation, are held at least once weekly and in different time zones. The new feature is the addition of several private and Michelin star chefs who volunteer to hold cooking classes in various cuisines.
Cultured Kids Cuisine is also dedicated to closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship by encouraging more young women to become leaders, risk-takers, and start their own passion projects through our networking/internship offerings and all-women team of high-school and college students from around the world. Various resources and networking opportunities are offered to women to help empower them to follow their dreams. Some of the volunteers serve as ambassadors, involved in outreach and promoting awareness of the organization. In addition, successful female entrepreneurs are invited to talk about how to grow your passion and hone your leadership skills.
Attention High School & College Girls- Interested in networking with successful female founders, building foundations in entrepreneurship, and helping foster cultural awareness through food? Apply now for Cultured Kids Cuisine’s third cohort: https://forms.gle/enqFKUBymH2NG7ZcA
This entire concept is the brainchild of Mia Kotikovski, who was born and raised in New York City, and who is a freshman at Stony Brook University on the premed track, with a goal of becoming a surgeon. Although ethnically Russian, Mia was exposed to diverse cuisines by her Russian mother who cooked mainly Indian and Korean food at home. Mia says helped her understand how important it is for children to understand different cultures so that they can evolve as culturally competent adults.
Mia’s goal is to help eliminate the social ignorance which could then breed hate, especially in the present environment of racial injustice and inequities. Mia says she hopes to help create a more tolerant and loving world, which in the end would create more peace.
If we could teach children to embrace cultural differences at an early age, wouldn’t the world be a better place to live in?
For more info, visit Cultured Kids Cuisine on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Tik Tok (@culturedkidscuisine). You can also visit them at culturedkidscuisine.wixsite.com/mysite-1 or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. To donate, visit gofundme.com and search for Cultured Kids Cuisine.
Renu Rao is a long-time River Towns resident who finds cooking therapeutic for the soul and believes eating right is the pathway to wellness.