Chanel’s Community Cooking was a project led bChanel’s Community Cooking was a project that was led by myself, a third year nutrition student at UBC. Throughout my education and volunteer work, I have learned so much about the science behind the food we eat, but more importantly, the social aspects contribute to our culture and wellbeing. I have always wanted to do something to bring my community together, and I became very inspired when I came across the Community of Caring Grant that was provided by Utown@UBC.

Another motivation of my project was to target students who may be living on their own for the first time and have not yet explored the art of cooking. In addition, many students may be living on their own for the first time and are too intimidated to start cooking. Cooking as a whole can be extremely intimidating, so I wanted to host a project that would make the process of cooking so much easier.

Knowing this, my project aimed to target these students by providing them with a raw meal kit that included all of the necessary ingredients to make a healthy burrito bowl. The package that I provided to all participants was similar to a FreshPrep or Hello Fresh type meal kit delivery service. The raw ingredients were all pre-measured and pre portioned in containers and each participant received all of the ingredients at once. The way this project worked was that participants would follow a cooking video led by myself, which allowed to bridge the gap between a lack of cooking skills and being able to execute a recipe. My cooking video was around 40 minutes, that took participants along the steps to cooking rice, cooking chicken, and preparing other ingredients.

My event was marketed through Facebook, where I posted the sign up sheet and sent out the confirmations through this platform. I accepted 40 participants, that mostly consisted of students and some individuals from the general public. Upon the application, participants were required to have all of the necessary equipment, fill out a safety waiver, and share why they were interested in participating. Here are some of the highlights from participants:

“Given that food is inextricably connected to the relationships between human beings, I think Chanel’s Community Cooking is an amazing opportunity to connect people specially during this time.”

“I think that this is a great opportunity for students to take initiative and learn to cook for themselves. It is also valuable to be able to incorporate healthier and more nutritious foods in one’s diet and I believe Chanel’s Community Cooking will assist me in choosing healthier options.”

“I think this is an amazing way to encourage individuals to make healthier decisions without sacrificing the enjoyment of good foods. It is also a great way to encourage people to create meals for themselves and become more responsible.”

Following the participants picking up their meal kits from a social distance pick-up zone they followed the cooking video at their own residences. Once the video was finished, participants were required to come on a Zoom call, led by myself, so everyone could experience meal-time, which is one of the social benefits from cooking. Participants engaged in conversation about their experience cooking, barriers to cooking, and new recipes they would like to try in the future.

Overall, this project gave me a lot of insight about how to host an engaging project that has positive benefits to the community. It was such a rewarding experience to share some of the insight that I have learned throughout my degree and share it with my community.
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