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HOLA Honors Hispanic Heritage Month with Virtual Cooking Classes

Courtesy/Sean Silver, who attended HOLA’s class on Saturday, October 3. 
Hispanic Heritage Month takes place annually from September 15 to October 15 and celebrates America’s rich Hispanic history.

In alliance with Academy’s Diversity & Community Life, our Hispanic-Affinity parent group observed the spirit of Hispanic Heritage month with virtual celebrations of cooking and culture.

HOLA welcomed Ale Rojas, an ecotourism guide from Puebla, Mexico, and Alex Ortiz, a pre-kindergarten teacher and chef from Mexico City, as the hosts for two separate events. 

In the first show, a virtual travel experience via Zoom on September 25, Ale and Alex hosted a Q&A, and gave participants a virtual tour of their local market in Puebla, Mexico. 

The second opportunity was a virtual cooking class, offered on multiple dates for up to 10 families per class. Ale and Alex gave the first two classes on September 26 and October 3. They will offer two more lessons on October 8 and October 15 from 6-7 p.m., teaching families how to make Tacos Gobernador, a popular Mexican shrimp taco dish and “Salsa Naranja” from scratch. 

Families attending this cooking class are encouraged to patronize local Mexican grocers to procure necessary ingredients before the lesson. These local grocers provide fresh, authentic ingredients. Shopping at these grocers is an excellent way to honor Hispanic Heritage Month, especially during these uncertain times as Hispanic-owned businesses have been affected by the pandemic.

Ale and Alex also ensured that their participants in Columbus understood the history behind the dishes they made together. They explained the origins of Tacos Gobernador, popular in their homes in northern Mexico. A local eatery created Tacos Gobernador in a rush for a hungry politician whocame to restaurant as it was about to close. The restaurant became famous for this popular dish, and it is now celebrated in their local culture.

Ale and Alex made sure that the Academy families learned the traditional Mexican techniques behind dishes that have been Americanized, such as tacos and salsa. They also included anecdotes and facts to give their students a taste of Mexican culture. 

Although most of us have not left the United States recently because of the pandemic, these cooking classes exemplify how we can use technology to foster face-to-face interactions with those from other parts of the world and experience different cultures in a new way. This virtual class is an intimate approach to celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, and the success of Ale and Alex’s events will undoubtedly impact how our community honors cultural celebrations in the future. 

Click here to sign up for Alex and Ale’s final two cooking classes on October 8 or October 15.



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