Across Our Kitchen Tables is a culinary arts hub and event series for Women of Color that creates safe spaces for community building and exchange of ideas, generating thriving, socially responsible food based businesses
Our series of skill shares, workshops and culminating symposium will cover the following topics:
Recipe development, knife skills, and plating
Branding, marketing, and social media
Mission and vision
Cultural preservation through foodways
After a career in the nonprofit sector specializing in youth development and low income housing, Valeria Velazquez Duenas founded her private chef and catering project Cocina House to provide healthful meals to clients across the Los Angeles area. Largely self taught, her culinary foundation rests on ancestral knowledge, certification in Holistic Nutrition through Natural Healing Institute, and training in plant based cuisine and wild foods foraging. As Cocina House has evolved, Duenas has participated in event curation and local performative art events and exhibits, most recently with a Colombian artist whose research focuses on heritage and Indigenous foods in her home region. Duenas 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 participation in Haiti Through Our Eyes, a young women’s arts project in Port Au Prince. Future plans for Cocina House and personal culinary work include additional study and the launch of a biannual publication focusing on the intersections of holistic healing, gastronomy, women chefs, and ancestral-Indigenous foodways. When not doing food based work Valeria works in Education and Community Outreach for a Los Angeles area arts institution.
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.
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 plant based food options inspired by traditional dishes and ingredients from Mexico and South America. Todo Verde’s menu sources local, fresh, and organically grown ingredients from local farmers and a mission based purchasing cooperative. Ramirez’s academic degrees include a BA in Fine Art and Design and an MBA in Business where she focused on entrepreneurship and marketing. She has also trained at the Matthew Kenney Culinary Institute specializing in plant based cuisine. Jocelyn has partnered with local nonprofit organizations to offer workshops ranging from healthy food demonstrations, social media strategies, and dialogues in relation to critical analysis of the industrial food system and traditional foodways. She now sits on the Leadership Board for the Los Angeles Food Policy Council.