We believe that cooking is a creative language and connects people to each other, to themselves and to the Earth. As educators and stewards of that language, we take our impact seriously and leverage it to champion equity and sustainability in all our practices. As a business we lean on the 3Ps of sustainability — people, planet and profit — both to guide us in our business decisions and as our metric of success.
Culinary Artistas operates with three guiding principles:
To put the Earth first is to honor both environmental sustainability as well as community sustainability. We make choices that include the welfare of all those touched in our network — from the farmers who produce the ingredients we use, to our chef educators, to the children who participate in our programs. We respect the Earth’s resources by actively composting, recycling, reusing materials, and avoiding food waste, while prioritizing organic and local ingredients.
We’re proud to source many of our ingredients from local cooperatives like Rainbow Grocery and Berkeley Bowl, as well as from small businesses in our neighborhood, such as Casa Guadalupe and Samiramis Imports. A great benefit has been the lasting relationships we’ve formed with some of these business owners.
As a certified woman-owned and minority-run business, we strive to model a profitable environment where diversity brings resilience. We champion each other to succeed — from our very own team, to the corporate teams that take classes at our studio, to the kids that attend our programs, and our community of small businesses who supply our ingredients.
Our partnership with New Door Ventures provides internship opportunities to local Bay Area youth looking for the jobs, training, education, and support they need to discover and achieve their potential so that they can transition to independent adulthood. We strive to model a joyful, inclusive work environment where young people can thrive as they prepare to enter the workforce.
We deeply value our team at Culinary Artistas. We seek to cherish each other's individuality while creating collective goals that allow for team growth. Our environment follows these operating values:
We like to explore what it means to live a vibrant life. Living well and maintaining health is a personal journey. For this reason, we teach intuitive cooking. Intuitive cooking is a method that empowers children and adults alike to develop the confidence to cook independently, regard our bodies with respect, and meet the world with openness and curiosity. For us, cooking goes beyond technique; we are really teaching about the culture and communities behind the dishes we prepare as a way to learn about ourselves and our most vibrant way of living.
Simple dishes like hummus from the Middle East or empanadas from Latin America are not only delicious as well as complex expressions of history and culture. When a dish is cooked in class, we delve into aspects of the cultural backdrop that surround the food. Participants are invited to share personal connections to a dish we’re cooking. By personalizing food and sharing memories, a cooking class becomes a place to embrace unique cultural heritages.
Self-Discovery & Food
We create opportunities for younger students to discover new foods. Our favorite method is to create a sampler plate with pea-sized bites of ingredients. Kids are invited to choose how they’d like to ‘interact’ with each food- smell, touch, or taste. Children are never forced to eat anything they don’t feel ready to try. By providing a choice, we demonstrate respect for each child’s limits and boundaries. This helps picky eaters experience trying new things as fun, and eating as a celebration of flavor.
A Social Impact Program by Culinary Artistas
As Culinary Artistas expands, we seek more opportunities to bring food education to our local communities. Artistas Everywhere uses corporate donations to fund after-school culinary programs at Bay Area schools and nonprofits. This contributes to a healthier social fabric by bringing culinary education and exposure to healthy foods to young populations that live in food deserts, are food insecure, or that may not be positively exposed to healthy eating habits at home.
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