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Food As Cultural Exchange.

Culture Kitchen, happening in San Francisco, is a company that organizes cooking classes where people can share family recipes of authentic dishes. Empowers communities, connects people across cultures.

Photo of Kanyi Maqubela
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A few folks I met through the d.school at Stanford University just started a fabulous organization that is currently based in San Francisco, but has application anywhere where there are culturally diverse communities. The idea is to host cooking classes where the chefs cook 'authentic ethnic cuisine'. While that is nebulous and potentially controversial, it really just means home-cooking. There are so many single fathers, immigrant grandmothers, et cetera cooking for their families in struggling cities, and this is an opportunity to invite them to profit from their heritage while sharing it more broadly. The clientele doesn't have to be the gentrified young white middle class, but even if it is, this empowers people in their own communities, gives everyone an opportunity to express his culture while enriching connections in a city. There has been a lot of research and discussion of "mapping cultural assets", where designers collect data about art, music, food, and race, to better support a city's natural cultural vibrancy. This organization does something similar, but with a bias-to-action and elegant approach. There has also been concern that gentrification is a double-edged sword, and revitalizing cities is a delicate game where preserving underserved populations, rather than pushing them out, is critical to a successful revitalization. Culture Kitchen is an example of walking that fine line. Fnd out more here: http://culturekitchensf.com/

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Photo of Sjiva

Cool concept!!! Congrats!
Anne-Laure and I also had a discussion about the multi-cultural hawkers in Singapore: http://www.openideo.com/open/vibrant-cities/inspiration/singapore-vibrant-or-dying-/

Photo of Kanyi

Awesome! Yeah, I like that term: "multi-cultural hawkers"... Lots to gain, there.

Photo of Paul

Great inspiration! Food is a great cultural indicator as well as a wonderful medium for cultural exchange. Look forward to linking this to Szu-Yin Lin's inspiration for Finding Cultural Roots ( http://www.openideo.com/open/vibrant-cities/inspiration/find-the-cultural-roots-of-the-place/ )