Try this: mission-driven cooking and baking class
“Try This” is going to be an ongoing series for the Plan with Purpose blog, in which I’ll suggest some easily-actionable / tangible ideas for how to be more purposeful about event-planning. I know from personal experience that sometimes you know you want to be more intentional/sustainable/justice-minded in how you approach an event… but it can be an overwhelming goal, and difficult to figure out where to start. My hope is that “Try This” will provide some concrete, and very doable, ideas.
So my first “Try This” suggestion?…
MISSION DRIVEN COOKING OR BAKING CLASS
Cooking and baking classes have become super popular activities for bridal showers, bachelorette parties, office team-building outings, and even to give as wedding / birthday gifts. They are fun, aren’t at an insane price point, and everyone gets to chow down at the end…it’s a no-brainer.
Cooking and baking classes can also be infused with so much greater meaning when considered through a different lens. Sharing traditional recipes...working side-by-side to make something...enjoying dishes from different cultures around a communal table. Food is a unifier in every sense of the word; a perfect platform for building community and spreading awareness. Something happens when people gather around a table to eat and share. Our fundamental similarities shine through, and we are more prone to tackle complicated--and sometimes crucial--topics. Hunger and food waste are also two of the biggest challenges society faces, and cooking classes often offer helpful tips on reducing food waste in our daily lives and/or food pantry donation options.
The caterers and bakeries featured on Plan with Purpose use food as a powerful platform. They put social justice and sustainability on the menu, making not just delicious food, but working to change perceptions around the food industry (often a space of tremendous inequity), empower and provide opportunities for employees of diverse backgrounds, make access to healthy food a right and not a privilege, support an ethical food supply chain, reduce food waste and repurpose leftovers, shift narratives and shape conversations.
Many of them--as well as lots of other fantastic mission-driven businesses-- offer cooking and baking classes!
A FEW IDEAS
Naturally, due to logistics, these classes are city-specific, so I am throwing out a few suggestions below, but also strongly encourage people to google for options in their own cities. It’s also worth remembering that some restaurants are open to offering cooking classes even if it’s not advertised on their website--so it never hurts to ask!
League of Kitchens: A unique cooking class experience in which immigrants from around the world (who are exceptional cooks) welcome you into their homes. You cook together, eat together, learn together, and share culture and stories. You also go home with a packet of their family recipes and an in-depth shopping guide.
Locations available: New York and Los Angeles
18 Reasons- A community-focused culinary school that is also an independent 501c3 nonprofit, 18 Reasons allows community members to deepen their relationships with food and with each other through nightly cooking classes and dinners. Through their Cooking Matters program, 18 Reasons also offers free cooking and nutrition classes to over 3,000 low-income adults, teens and kids every year.
Locations available: San Francisco
Ovenly- An award-winning, NYC-based bakery, Ovenly offers a wide range of baking and cooking classes for people of all skill levels. Ovenly is dedicated to job development and environmental sustainability. They use open hiring practices, and have partnered with Getting Out and Staying Out and the Ansob Center for Refugees to develop a job training programming that employs people of all backgrounds.
Locations available: New York City
Woke Foods- A food service and food justice worker-owned cooperative focused on innovating Dominican and Afro-Caribbean plant-based foods, Woke Foods offers classes that allow you to learn how to prepare fresh and easy plant-based dishes while building relationships,
Locations available: New York City
TeamBonding- A platform that helps you plan a successful work team-building event, TeamBonding offers Cooking for a Cause activities. The program includes the food prepared and enjoyed by the participants during the event, as well as a three-part donation to area food banks.
Locations available: Nationwide