On January 30th, Hamlin 7th graders welcomed Jessica Mataka from the nonprofit, La Cocina.
The mission of La Cocina is to cultivate low income food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance and access to market opportunities. We focus primarily on women from communities of color and immigrant communities. Our vision is that entrepreneurs gain financial security by doing what they love to do, creating an innovative, vibrant and inclusive economic landscape.
Ms. Mataka spoke in Spanish exclusively for about 20 minutes (many of La Cocina’s participants are Spanish speakers), sharing information about the organization. She then spent the remainder of the time fielding thoughtful questions that 7th graders asked in Spanish as well. Ms. Mataka talked about her passion for the Spanish language, sharing that she lived in Peru for six months. She also mentioned that she is currently taking Spanish classes on a weekly basis. During the Q and A, Ms. Mataka provided specific information about the application process, the goals for the organization, and her favorite part of working for La Cocina (sampling food, and seeing women grow businesses). Ms. Mataka also shared that La Cocina-related food businesses have provided catering for the Golden State Warriors and Google (among many others).
At the end of the session, Christina Kane and members of the Spanish department passed out caramelized graham crackers in pure dark chocolate by Kika’s Treats http://kikastreats.com/, a La Cocina-created business with origins from Brazil. Needless to say, the goodies were gobbled up!
The altruism of La Cocina wasn’t missed by our Hamlin girls, one student shared, “It is clear that La Cocina gives immigrant women a sense of belonging, in a country where our president has been saying, ‘you don’t belong here.'”
To learn more about La Cocina, please visit: https://www.lacocinasf.org/mission or enjoy their food at the Ferry Building in San Francisco at http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/merchants/la-cocina/
To watch a brief video of Jessica Mataka, please click below: