San Francisco’s La Cocina is a pioneering incubator kitchen emulated in cities around the world, from Salt Lake City to Auckland. Since it opened in 2005, the Mission District nonprofit has helped 55 working-class food entrepreneurs, primarily immigrant women and women of color, realize their dreams of building a successful food business.
Their recipes — and their inspiring stories — are available for the first time in a cookbook, “We Are La Cocina: Recipes in Pursuit of the American Dream” (Chronicle Books, 287 pages; $30). Co-authored by Caleb Zigas and Leticia Landa, the diverse collection features more than 75 recipes by 40-plus thriving alumni of the kitchen incubator, like Alicia Villanueva of Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas in Hayward, who started by selling her black bean tamales out of a cooler.
Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement went from pop up to a recently renovated permanent stall at Emeryville’s Public Market. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)
There’s also Fernay McPherson, whose soul-satifsying rosemary fried chicken popped up at every barbecue and baptism before she opened Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement in Emeryville. You’ll recognize Reem Assil’s savory lamb pastries from her Arab street corner bakery in Oakland, as well as the chile-laced Cambodian noodle soup from neighbor Nyum Bai’s Nite Yun, a 2019 James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef: West.
Reem Assil joined La Cocina in 2014 and went on to open Oakland’s Reem’s California and Dyafa. Reem’s was recently nominated for a James Beard Award. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)
Even the format of the magenta-covered cookbook is unique. It’s not organized by country or cuisine but rather by the chef-graduate, with stunning National Geographic-like portraits by photographer Eric Wolfinger and profiles by Zigas and Landa, who tell their intimate stories of hope and hard work with beautiful prose. The authors spent …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle