About AOKT

We are a culinary hub and event series centering self-identified women and gender-non-conforming people of color both in person and over social media platforms. We provide a safe space for knowledge exchange on business development, cultural practices, food centered organizations, and food ecosystems. Our community generates and supports thriving and socially responsible food-based work.

Our series of skillshares and annual symposium cover topics such as:

  • business mission and vision

  • menu and recipe development

  • branding, marketing, and social media

  • business development

  • investors and capital

  • food influencing

  • food photography and styling

  • food and art

  • food and technology

  • ethical sourcing

  • food justice and policy

  • food writing and cookbook development

  • cultural preservation through foodways

  • wellness and decolonization



 

About Our Founders

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Meet Valeria

After specializing in affordable and low-income housing,  Valeria Velazquez Duenas founded her private chef and catering project Cocina House to provide healthful meals across Los Angeles. Her culinary foundation rests on family knowledge, personal study, certification in Holistic Nutrition, and training in plant based cuisine. As Cocina House has evolved, Duenas has participated in event curation and local performative events and exhibits, most recently in Pacific Standard Time LA/LA. Dueñas received an M.A. in Social Entrepreneurship, where she researched issues of inequality in the global food system, along with youth empowerment through culture and arts, which included work on youth project Girls United: Haiti Through Our Eyes, in Port Au Prince, Haiti. When not focused on Across Our Kitchen Tables, Valeria works to make farmers’ markets more accessible and affordable with SEE-LA.

 

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Meet Claudia

Anthropologist, professor and chef Claudia Serrato is the co-owner and co-founder of Cocina Manakurhini, a Native based food catering company that serves the Los Angeles and local regional community. She currently sits on multiple advisory boards to multiple food centered projects. Serrato’s string of academic degrees, a BA in Gender, Ethnicity and Multicultural Studies, a MA in Mexican American Studies, a MA in Anthropology, and a PhD to be completed summer 2018, inform her work on Indigenous cooking, cuisine and kitchen spaces across the United States. As a public scholar, Serrato speaks throughout various university campuses, cultural gatherings and community autonomous spaces on the importance on returning to one’s cultural heritage cuisines. She has also been invited to speak on radio shows such as Feminist Magazine on KPFK and Animal Voices at CFRO. Serrato also teaches knife skills, cooking and plating techniques and facilitates food demonstrations in intimate spaces. On her free time, Claudia enjoys learning about local regional wild plant foods, seed saving, growing food, writing about food, and cooking for her family.  

 

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Meet Jocelyn

Jocelyn Ramirez is a vegan chef, college professor, yoga instructor, and advocate for healthy food access in her community. After many years in higher education, Jocelyn chose to pursue a new path in foodways related to culture and tradition. She has referenced traditional recipes passed down for generations within her family, and has explored new techniques using ingredients native to Los Angeles. Jocelyn founded Todo Verde in 2015 with a mission to create delicious and healthy plant-based food inspired by her Mexican and South American roots for the Eastside community. As she continues to learn about the health benefits of nutrient dense food and healthy ecosystems, she offers knowledge on healthy living with the community through workshops, dialogues, food demonstrations, and speaking engagements in relation to critical analysis of the industrial food system and traditional foodways.   Jocelyn’s background includes degrees in Fine Art, Design and Business and has also trained at the Matthew Kenney Culinary Institute. Her work has been featured in several press outlets including Los Angeles Magazine, Vice, Spotify, Buzzfeed, Smithsonian, Mitu, and more. She currently sits on the Culinary Advisory Board for Food Forward and the Leadership Board for the Los Angeles Food Policy Council.