At 20, the Carleton College sophomore and aspiring chef has traveled the world, started his own small business and worked under renown New York chef and Top Chef Masters winner Marcus Samuelsson. Now, Vayu Maini Rekdal is bringing his worldly expertise into the middle school setting of Northfield.
Recently, the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative awarded $300 to Rekdal to kick-start Northfield Young Chefs. The cooking project entails a five-step program to develop a range of skill sets, which will cultivate empowerment and inspiration for girls and boys alike.
Rekdal hopes to show boys in particular that cooking is just as empowering for them as it is for their female counterparts. Unlike other cooking classes for young people, the leaders of this program are both male and female, college-aged and experienced.
Primarily, the leaders of this program are Carleton students. As the program becomes more established, Rekdal hopes to join forces with St. Olaf students and other members of the Northfield community.
"Cooking connects us to the world. It connects us to people, to cultures, and to nature," Rekdal said.
This isn't the first time Rekdal had reached out to youth to empower them through cooking. He started similar programs in Stockholm, Sweden, and New York City.
With the help of the HCI grant, Northfield youth will experience these worldly connections through artful cooking—read more about the program in Rekdal's words.
Other Patch posts about Rekdal and his efforts
- Cooking Connects: Chef Vayu Maini Rekdal's Food Philosophy
- A (Real) Food Baby is Born. Introducing The Northfield Kitchen by Carleton Chef Vayu Maini Rekdal
- Carleton Cooking Club Firebellies Wins Northfield HCI for Middle School Cooking Project
- Area Youth to Benefit From Five Mini-Grants Funded by the HCI Board
Ashley R. Tanberg is an intern for the Northfield Enterprise Center and Northfield Patch.