VIU intercultural program coordinator Simon Schachner hosts the weekly cooking show Culture Kitchen. (Photo courtesy Simon Schachner)

VIU intercultural program coordinator Simon Schachner hosts the weekly cooking show Culture Kitchen. (Photo courtesy Simon Schachner)

VIU online cooking show keeping students connected during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Culture Kitchen’ features students making dishes from their home countries

An online cooking show is helping keep the Vancouver Island University student body connected while self-isolating.

Every week in the VIU international building, intercultural program coordinator Simon Schachner hosts Culture Couch, a casual drop-in event in which international students give presentations about their home countries, with the most popular part being the sharing of national dishes. Those meetings ended when the school closed down due to COVID-19.

“Once campus closed we had to come up with ways to keep connected with the student community and come up with online programming,” Schachner said. “So I just thought to adapt it and kind of go with the most popular part of those Culture Couch events and just focus on the cooking.”

In April, Schachner debuted Culture Kitchen, with an inaugural episode in which he made a meal representing his own Canadian culture, a grilled cheese sandwich. The show was broadcast live on the VIU Cultural Connections Facebook page. Schachner said hosting his first online show “did feel kind of awkward, but it produced some pretty funny results.”

“Being on camera and live you just have to keep thinking of things to say so I really expanded upon all aspects of grilled cheese making,” he said. “So it ended up being really fun and I got responses from so many different students and friends across Canada and internationally so it kind of took off.”

Schachner said right after that first program he was inundated with requests from VIU students and staff to demonstrate how to cook dishes from their home countries. Some of the dishes showcased on Culture Kitchen so far include Chilean churros, Syrian tuna patties and Indian lentil stew.

“The reaction has been amazing,” Schachner said. “It’s definitely one of our success stories in terms of keeping connected with students and keeping something going that they look forward to and that they can be a part of.”

Most recently, Indian business student Mugdha Vairal made onion fritters, a “very quick, very easy” recipe that reminds her of her childhood.

“Indian cooking can be a bit complex, but I wanted to choose something which everyone can do,” she said.

Vairal said being on the show was a “lovely” experience and an opportunity to share her culture. She said her dish is a popular street food in her home city of Mumbai and calls it a “pick-me-up snack.”

“It elevates your mood, it [brings] joy, and that’d why I wanted to introduce this kind of a recipe,” she said. “Because I know everyone is stuck at home right now and the weather is beautiful outside and this kind of a recipe can get a lot of joy in your heart.”

WHAT’S ON … Culture Kitchen airs on Tuesdays at 5 p.m. on the VIU Cultural Connections Facebook page.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusFood

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP sought help in locating Jada Charlie-Carlson, 17. (Nanaimo RCMP photo)
UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP say 17-year-old girl who was missing has been found safe

Police sought help in locating teen who hadn’t seen her family members for a month

Brian McFadden, vice-president of the Vancouver Island Military Museum, shows elements of a new exhibit there that examines some of the horrors and hardships for women and children in prison camps during First and Second World Wars. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Women in prison camps persevered

Letter writer shares her mother’s recollections of prison camp in Java during Second World War

A light display on Northumberland Avenue was recognized as one of the best in the city last year. (Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce photo)
Nanaimo’s Christmas light-up event renamed Illuminight

Judging will take place the evening of Dec. 13

Potential locations of speed humps and curbs on Lost Lake Road. (City of Nanaimo image)
City of Nanaimo planning traffic-calming project on Lost Lake Road

Seventy-five per cent of respondents support measures to reduce speed on the road

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Claudio Mastronardi, Toronto branch manager at Carmichael Engineering, is photographed at the company’s offices in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. As indoor air quality becomes a major concern in places of business, HVAC companies are struggling to keep up with demand for high quality filtration systems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Business is booming for HVAC companies as commercial buildings see pandemic upgrades

‘The demand right now is very high. People are putting their health and safety ahead of cost’

Bank of Montreal, located on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. (Google Maps)
Heiltsuk man files human rights complaint against Vancouver police, BMO after bank arrest

Pair remains distraught after employee falsely reports fraud in progress leading to their arrest

RCMP Cpl. Cory Lepine pictured at BC Livestock Producers Co. in Kamloops, Nov. 16. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Meet B.C.’s only cowboy cop; a voice for the livestock industry

Cpl. Cory Lepine serves as a bridge between the law and those who make a living off the land

BCHL
BCHL pushes back season start due to provincial health orders

The delay is minimal, just six days, for now. But the league is open to starting up after Christmas

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ board is set to vote on a recommendation that would see Franklyn Street gym demolition. Pictured here, Nanaimo Fire Rescue staff on scene after a gym fire in October 2018. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school trustees to decide Franklyn Street gym’s fate

SD68 committee recommends demolishing gym, damaged by fire in October 2018

A map of Nanaimo displays the boundaries of the proposed new downtown business improvement area. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo city councillors recommending downtown improvement area be re-established

Finance and audit committee recommends council direct staff to start ‘petition-against’ process

Most Read