The Food & Cooking Story that Inspired Karin from Thailand
GUUDNEST is a project that is near and dear to my heart. It was born out of mothers and children playdates in the kitchen. My kitchen journey, however, did not start off sweet. Back then, cooking was not my strength nor passion. I cooked to feed my family, not for pleasure or out of my interest.
Food as A Way to Communicate & Bond
To me, food is a common language that unifies and connects us! Once I had changed my view on cooking, I was more opened and willing to learn the local language and recipes from my mother in law. We have become close and gained appreciation and respect for each other. I’d become to understand why my in-laws placed emphasis on home cooking as part of the family tradition.
The benefit of cooking goes beyond good health and nutrition. It goes beyond the food that feeds the body and brain. But it is also the food that feeds the soul. Cooking and eating together is how family passed down their values, traditions, memories while at the same time, establish a sense of security and belonging.
I see food as a language of love. ‘Breastfeeding’ is the first language that a mother uses to communicate to the baby of her love and commitment to raising up her child. The moment a baby consumes the milk, the baby is learning to become human. And I believe that ‘Learning to cook’ is learning to live a life!
Food as A Way to Connect & Engage
When I said to myself that I want to make my life in the kitchen happier, one crucial ingredient that I need is ‘a circle of good friends’. When you stay inside the kitchen, you don’t have a chance to connect and get to know new friends. This is important especially for a foreigner like me who needs to know things and ways around the new living environment.
To build my own circle, I started to invite people for a home-cooked meal which slowly evolved into a kitchen playdate. The playdates I hosted went really well. I got to spend some time with friends in my own kitchen while being able to cook for my family. Slowly it became clear to me of the power of food! Besides being a fuel for our life, food connects people. Food brings people together! The playdates allowed me to connect with new friends. Some of them can’t speak English or Chinese. But through the language of food, we have become good friends.
Food as A Way to Children’s Heart
While mommies continued to enjoy having playdates in my kitchen, the little ones slowly taking part! One day one mom asked, why don’t you do kids cooking playdate? I said yes without hesitation and Kidchen Club (now GUUDNEST) was born in my kitchen!
My observation from our play dates was that ‘FOOD’ usually plays a big part. Kids were always excited and happily exploring the ‘new-to-them’ food that was set on the table while moms often hung out in the kitchen and busy trading recipes and cooking tips. The charm of these playdates inspired me to do more research on organizing kids cooking playdates and kids cooking activities in general. The more I explore, the more I desire to work on this kid's cooking project. What would be better than having a chance to have my work surrounded by Food, Family, and some learningful playtime in the kitchen?
Food as A Way for Children to Learn
Food is a powerful learning tool. Its inter-relational property allows us to connect a point(s) of learning for children. Slowly we realized what we teach kids is not how to make food. But what we teach kids is the whole process involving in the making of that recipe! I use food as a departure point to introduce multi-disciplinary subjects and essential life skills to children, which allows them to engage in a fun, hands-on and multi-sensory learning experience.
For example, when we are baking an apple pie, we talk about the nutrition of apple through a famous phase ‘an apple a day keep a doctor away’. We cover the anatomy of apple and where it comes from. We explore apples using the 5 senses. We challenge curious-mind children to find answers to questions like: Why apples turn brown after cut? Why do apples fall (the gravity)?, How apple become soft (the heat), What makes the pie crust flaky? And why the pie turn brown (Millard reaction)?
Imagine what kids can learn through baking/cooking just 1 simple recipe!! This is the reason why when children come to GUUDNEST to bake a pie, they not only go home with the pie they baked but also with a recipe for life.
Cooking & Feeding My Way to Find GUUDNEST!
GUUDNEST (formerly Kidchen Club) was founded in 2012 in a small studio in my neighborhood, Tianmu. I am not a great cook, and I don’t have a degree in culinary. But what gave me the confidence to open GUUDNEST lies in the way I approach cooking. At GUUDNEST, we use food and cooking as a learning tool to invite and engage kids in multidisciplinary learning. At the end of each session, besides the food that children cooked and brought home, what we intend for them to bring home is the key take away learning points covered during the session.
Food, Family & Friendships.
Once decided to commit to this project, I was very fortunate to have found myself a great team and together we had run countless kids cooking workshops for corporate events and summer cooking workshops for a well-established child development center. And when the opportunity arose to have my own kids culinary-led, learningful play studio, I decided to make a leap without hesitation, even it means swift a transition from a stay-at-home mom to a working mom.
To me, GUUDNEST is more than a fun, tasty and educational place for young children. GUUDNEST symbolizes not only the commitment I’ve made to myself as a mom for my children to grow up happy and healthy, but also the support, trust and friendships I have from my family, my team, my supportive friends and appreciative parents. I am truly blessed and grateful for everything.
Welcome to our learningful play time in the kitchen at GUUDNEST! May you continue to cook, enjoy the learningful play time in the kitchen and celebrate the taste of every day together.