How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Want to cook your favorite ethnic cuisine? Have an immigrant teach you

Photo by syvwlch/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The makings of flan, September 2010

Here's a novel idea: With foodie interest in ethnic cuisines at an all-time high, why not bring together said foodies who want to learn how to cook with the people who know how to make these dishes best?

Jennifer Lopez (not the celebrity) and Abby Sturges, a pair of Stanford University design students, have launched a Bay Area cooking school called Culture Kitchen in which the teachers are immigrants trained in their own family kitchens, rather than professionally-trained chefs.

The idea came from the two women's study trips to Myanmar and Kenya, where they spent time in the kitchens of local women as they prepared meals, Fast Company reports. Lopez, who is Mexican American, also counts time around the dinner table with her immigrant parents as "some of her fondest memories of childhood," she writes on the Culture Kitchen SF website.