WHAT: Immigrant women, skilled in cooking authentic ethnic cuisines, teach in-person cooking classes that include the story behind their cuisine. Culture Kitchen SF [ @culturekitchsf ] has classes on Nicaraguan, Colombian, Mexican, Ukranian, Thai and Vietnamese food. In beta with launch planned for fall 2011.
LAUNCHERS: Jennifer Lopez, CEO [ LinkedIn ]. Abby Sturges, COO [ LinkedIn ]
INSPIRATION: "We wanted to give people access to the best ethnic meals knowing that home cooking is a totally different experience," Abby told LAUNCH via email. "It gives immigrant women a new way to earn extra money sharing a skill they already have while also making it possible for both students and chefs to explore new cuisines without having to travel around the world to do it."
BUSINESS MODEL: Charging for classes (beta prices are $40 to $60 per person per class). "We are gearing up to release a number of new offerings on our website," says Abby.
GOAL: "To spread culture through food and connecting people in a meaningful way," says Abby.
COMPETITION: Chef Rebecca Wheeler (in Chicago), Institute of Culinary Education, Kitchen Conservatory, Shanta's Vegetarian Ethnic Kitchen (also in San Francisco).
INVESTORS: Dave McClure, 500 Startups.
Mexican cooking class with Norma (center-left in black v-neck shirt).