Encouraging and Embracing Diversity Through Cooking and Learning

by British Columbia
Categories: Blog, Community

As part of their plan to expand their kitchen and programming, The Salvation Army’s Boundless Vancouver Community Ministries has launched a new initiative to embrace their diverse community. The multicultural cooking class, introduced by Pamela Burt, Food Coordinator and Special Events Coordinator, engages members of the community in two-hour classes for cooking and culture sharing. 

“We find volunteers, neighbours or people who walk through our doors, people from all different cultures, and we ask them if they are interested in leading a cooking class,” says Pamela.

Each class is offered as a two-part series, the first part teaching appetizer recipes and the second part teaching a main dish.  

“I want to give people a chance to shine and teach about food and their culture.”
– Pamela Burt, Food Coordinator and Special Events Coordinator

In addition to cooking, the classes allow time for leaders to share stories of their families and cultures. Burt, who has a background in culinary nutrition, adds health and nutrition lessons to the class. “I think it’s a great way to bring in neighbours, share what we do at Boundless, and build relationships,” she says. 

The first class was led by a Syrian refugee and former caterer who taught a traditional baba ghanoush recipe. “We played Syrian music, we danced a little bit, it was so much fun. Everyone got to take the meal home with them, and they had a blast,” says Burt. Next, Burt is planning a class on potato pakoras with a volunteer from Pakistan, as well as an exciting three-part series dedicated to sticky rice dumplings and the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival in June. 

“Our main goal is to promote the diverse backgrounds and cultures of our neighbours,” says Bernice Chiu, Community Relations Coordinator. “We welcome everyone. We want to make this a place to bring people together, to enjoy food, and to have fun.” 

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Story was originally published in Salvationist.ca