2023 Virtual Cooking Class Recap

Our 3rd Year of the Virtual Cooking Class

The Virtual Cooking Class has recently completed its third year with the students from Loreto Street Elementary, and we are thrilled to see how much the program has grown since its launch in 2021. What started as a small program has now become a bigger and more impactful program than we ever imagined.

One of the most significant outcomes we have observed from the Virtual Cooking Class is the quality family time it brings. In today’s fast-paced world, where technology often gives us the illusion of connection, we sometimes overlook the importance of genuine connection. Through surveys and focus groups with students, parents, and faculty staff, we have gathered valuable feedback about the program. Among the many positive comments, the most consistent theme is the bonding moments shared by parents or guardians with their children.

As we entered the program’s third year, the Foundation sought to assess whether the virtual setting remained relevant or had become outdated. We are always striving to improve our programs and ensure their continued relevance. In pursuit of this, John Muto, the President of the Foundation, visited several participants’ homes to gauge the program’s effectiveness. During these visits, John observed that children were delighted to see their friends on the Zoom screen. Having recently interacted with their friends in person at school, the excitement of reconnecting through a virtual medium was truly special. Furthermore, the feedback received from parents and guardians during these visits revealed that the Virtual Cooking Class worked exceptionally well when everyone could participate comfortably from the comfort of their own homes, thanks to the flexible class schedule.

The Virtual Cooking Class encompasses four main goals:

  1. Promote Family Participation: By encouraging family involvement, the program aims to foster healthy cooking habits and eating behaviors within households. It provides opportunities for shared experiences and promotes family bonding through cooking and eating together, thereby enhancing overall nutrition and strengthening family relationships.
  2. Promote Healthy Eating Behaviors: Our program educates participants about the significance of a balanced and nutritious diet, empowering them to make healthier food choices. By promoting healthy eating behaviors, individuals can make informed decisions about their diet, leading to long-term health benefits such as weight management, increased energy levels, and improved mental well-being.
  3. Increase Access to Nutritious Meals: Through the Virtual Cooking Class, we strive to help individuals develop essential cooking skills, learn about healthy ingredients, and make informed food choices. This can have a positive impact on their overall health and well-being, reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
  4. Improve Cooking Skills and Culinary Knowledge: Our program equips participants with practical culinary skills, including meal planning, food preparation, and cooking techniques. By enhancing cooking skills and culinary knowledge, participants gain confidence in the kitchen, fostering self-sufficiency and independence. Cooking can also be a creative and enjoyable activity that promotes a sense of community and cultural appreciation.

Virtual Cooking Class Sponsored by Hard Rock Café Hollywood

The eight-week session of the Virtual Cooking Class flew by, and we celebrated the culmination with a special “Culmination Dinner” at Loreto Street Elementary. Program participants and their families were invited to enjoy a delicious meal, receive their cooking trophies, and receive a goodie bag courtesy of this year’s sponsor, Hard Rock Café, Hollywood.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to our sponsors and program partners, who make the Virtual Cooking Class possible. Love Market & Café ensures we have fresh produce and spices, packaging them weekly and delivering them to each participant’s doorstep. Common Threads, a nonprofit organization, helps us develop the cooking curriculum and provides two talented chefs for the program. Our Virtual Cooking Class offers classes in both English and Spanish, and the participants have praised the chefs’ expertise and enthusiasm over Zoom. The staff at Loreto Street Elementary does an exceptional job of communicating and reminding participants about each cooking class, and they also assist the Foundation in distributing Food 4 Less gift cards to participants who have submitted photos of their finished products. Lastly, we would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to our amazing sponsor, Hard Rock Café Hollywood, for their generous support in making this program truly one of a kind.

As we reflect on the success and impact of the Virtual Cooking Class, we are filled with excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead. With the incredible support of our sponsors, program partners, dedicated staff, and enthusiastic participants, we are thrilled to announce that we will be hosting our fourth year of the Virtual Cooking Class in the Spring of 2024. We are committed to continuously improving the program and creating memorable experiences for all involved. Together, let’s embark on another incredible journey of culinary exploration, family bonding, and fostering healthy habits. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Virtual Cooking Class and the positive impact it will continue to have on the lives of our participants.

Support our 2024 Virtual Cooking Class

Next year, as we enter our fourth year of the Virtual Cooking Class, we aim to elevate the program by expanding the number of participating students, equipping each participant with essential cooking utensils, and elevating the quality of ingredients to introduce exciting new dishes for them to learn. We would greatly appreciate your support for our program through donations. To explore and select the available options, please refer to the image above. You can conveniently make your donations by clicking the link provided HERE.