On a cool summer evening two years ago, a boy I befriended at his father’s fruit stand in the farmer’s market showed me his drawing pad. Having just immigrated to the U.S. not long ago, he did not speak much English. But from the green papayas and golden rice fields he painted, I saw the world he came from.
At around the same time, a seemingly ordinary image on Food Network caught my attention: A young girl in a remote, poverty-stricken village in Southeast Asia was clinging to a picture she drew — a picture of local produce. Her face was beaming with the happiest smile. On the side of her drawing, a few words were neatly written which translated to: I love to cook. Instantly, my heart lightened up. I might not know which language this girl spoke or where her village was, but I could feel her joy, pride, and hope—the language of food is universal. Continue reading
What does food represent to you, other than something you subsist on? Continue reading
As an avid enthusiast of food and culture as well as a strong believer of communication and collective wisdom, I often dreamed of organizing an event where students from different parts of the world come together to celebrate their passions in food and culinary arts and to share their thoughts on food, culture and life.
That ambition was put into action last year when I started to plan and develop the 2014 International Youth Food Culture Contest, the first international writing and art contest focusing on food culture for middle and high school students. After almost four months’ outreaching, campaigning, sponsorship-seeking, judging, and many more, I am thrilled to see the outpouring of support and interest from around the world. We have received submissions from middle and high school students around the world, celebrating their passions in food and culinary arts, sharing their reflections on the role of food on a specific culture, voicing their opinions about the impact of food in history and in today’s fast changing world, and expressing their desire for a better and healthier food environment. I am truly grateful that this contest has brought enlightenment, inspiration, and pride to so many peers around the world.
I’ve published the winners’ works on the contest web site at www.youth-food.org Continue reading