Campus, News

ASI Beach Kitchen offers free cooking lessons to students

The ASI Beach Kitchen teaches Long Beach State students how to cook nutritional meals after its grand opening in May. The Beach Pantry is an extension of the kitchen and provides ingredients so their easily accessible for students.

Christina Limon, the Beach Pantry coordinator, said the kitchen helps create a great relationships with students.

“For a lot of students it was their first time coming back to campus face-to-face and they hadn’t had any real interactions with students,” Limon said.

The ASI Beach Kitchen now occupies the space where the University Dining Plaza was before the COVID-19 pandemic. It now holds an array of kitchen supplies, optimized televisions and stainless steel tables for students.

“It was really [students] learning how to cook but then also, being in a space where they could get to know people,” Limon said.

The Beach Kitchen is designed as a cooking class free to all Long Beach State students. The kitchen is used for programs on campus partnered with Basic Needs, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Beach Balance. Sustain U is one program housed under the Beach Kitchen and the Beach Pantry.

The ASI Beach Kitchen is located right next to the Nugget. Its been five months since their grand opening. Photo by: Carlos Henriquez, ASI
The ASI Beach Kitchen is located right next to the Nugget. Its been five months since their grand opening. Photo credit: Carlos Henriquez, ASI

“We try to utilize our partners as well as our staff here and our different entities on campus to utilize the kitchen as much as we can,” Beach Pantry coordinator Christina Limon said.

Off-campus partners such as Long Beach Organic are able to give insight on how to cook nutritional meals, how to shop for those nutritional ingredients and advise college students who struggle with food insecurity.

“We work with Long Beach Organic, which is eight community gardens here in Long Beach,” Limon said. “They have been donating since May of 2020. When the pandemic hit, they donated to [Beach Pantry] weekly drive-thrus.”

An estimated 20,000 pounds of fresh produce is donated from Long Beach Organic to the Beach Pantry.

According to Limon, recipes are based on their Monday morning delivery. Student assistants look at the produce and plan recipes based on the ingredients delivered.

Maggie Bauer is a student assistant who helps the kitchen prepare.

After working with Sustain U for a year, Bauer was offered a position by Limon as a student assistant for the Beach Pantry.

The next Pass the Plate event presented by Sustain U will take place Nov. 16 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Classes have limited space. Photo by: Carlos Henriquez, ASI
The next Pass the Plate event presented by Sustain U will take place Nov. 16 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Classes have limited space. Photo credit: Carlos Henriquez, ASI

Bauer is a nutrition dietitian student who understands the importance of the Beach Kitchen and the Beach Pantry for students who do face food insecurity. She is also a student athlete for Long Beach.

“It’s all connected, in my opinion running is what got me into nutrition so it’s always been a big part of my athletic career,” Bauer said.

With cooking as her passion, Bauer understands the Beach Kitchen and the pantries importance to students who face food insecurity.

“We’re trying to teach students how to use the foods that are in the pantry, and how to prepare them because some students don’t know how,” she said.

The Beach Kitchen will continue their Pass the Plate series with Sustain U on Wednesday Nov. 16 by cooking Tortilla de Patatas. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to register.

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