Cuban Cooking with DishDivvy at Glendale High School
At DishDivvy, we’re always saying how food is joy, and food naturally connects community. Welp … that connectedness was absolutely evident yesterday afternoon, when we had the pleasure of teaching Glendale High School culinary students a traditional Cuban recipe, as taught by DishDivvy Approved HomeCook Ashley.
Before we get into the details of how awesome this experience was, let’s take a quick second to discuss how AWESOME the culinary program is at Glendale High School. As a resident of Glendale for the past 18 years, and a parent in the GUSD program for the past 6 years, I was not even aware of the GHS culinary program. Walking into our first meeting with Mrs. Nicole Pugel-Gamez, the director of the program, to discuss potential collaborations between DishDivvy and GHS, I was immediately impressed by the gorgeous cooking facility and the amount of resources available to the students. It’s like having your own local Food Network ‘Chopped’ kitchen! After brainstorming how we could partner with the school and bring value to the students, we decided to have one of our cooks teach an authentic, ethnic recipe to the program’s advanced students.
The Cook & The Recipe
DishDivvy cook Ashley was the perfect choice for the first class (in a series of many more to come hopefully)! Ashley grew up in Miami, where she was heavily influenced by Latin American cuisine, music, and culture. She herself is half Venezuelan and half Cuban, and is passionate about sharing a part of her culture through her food. Ashley selected her Picadillo in Plantain Cups as the perfect recipe to teach the students, which all took place in a matter of 58 minutes of class! Needless to say, the students learned quite a bit in just 1 class period. Oh and did we mention how generous, sweet and kind Ashley is… she baked homemade s’mores cookies and Cuban ‘Pastelitos de Guayabaz” (aka Guava Pastries) for all of the students to enjoy!
Preparation Before Class
DishDivvy brand ambassador, Anna Solorio, took the lead on this project, and did a fantastic job coordinating the efforts between DishDivvy and Mrs. Pugel-Gamez of GHS. Miss Solorio communicated the recipe for both items in the dish (the Picadillo and the Plantain cups), so that Mrs. Pugel-Gamez could pre-purchase enough product to make 36 servings. Mrs. Pugel-Gamez had a select number of students chop and prep the ingredients prior to the class, so that we could focus our limited time together on the actual cooking technique and steps involved in the recipe. The GHS ‘prep cooks’ did a great job getting everything ready, measured, weighed and neatly stored in separate containers.
Students Engaged During Instruction
DishDivvy HomeCook Ashley was extremely effective in keeping all of the kids engaged, which isn’t an easy feat, considering she is not a teacher by trade, and since there were 33 students in the class! To fill some of the ‘quiet’ times, while we waited for something to simmer or oil to heat up, Ashley played some classic Cuban songs for the class! She also asked questions related to Cuban culture or food, such as, “Who is known as the Cuban Queen of Salsa?” And almost immediately a student’s hand shot up in the air, and answered the correct response, which is, “Celia Cruz”. Needless to say, we had a super savvy and knowledgeable, and culturally-engaged group of culinary students!
Winner of DishDivvy Honorary Apron
The goal of the class was to provide an interactive experience, where students could not only take part in the cooking of the dish, but also ask questions and engage in thoughtful dialogue throughout the entire process. We were beyond impressed with the quality of questions that the students asked, both about the recipe and about DishDivvy, and how our business model operates. As a parent, it never ceases to amaze me how smart our kids are, and how eager they are to learn and grow. Students received an entry into our raffle for each act of participation, whether it was asking a great question, answering one of our questions, or volunteering to help with the cooking. We raffled off an official DishDivvy apron, which to date, was kept solely for Approved DishDivvy HomeCooks. And the winner of the raffle was… drum roll please….. Luke! And so well-deserved we must say! Luke asked great questions, helped with the cooking, and was a joy to have in class. Wear the apron with pride and style Luke!
Watch some footage from the class!