I left the apartment at 9:45 this morning for my short walk over to Sur La Table, where I booked an eclairs pastry class with the generous cooking class gift card a friend gifted me for my birthday. Apparently, I was the last person to show up with just five minutes to spare before 10 o’clock. I grabbed my name tag, my apron, and sat down.
I glanced across the entire group of about 12 students. I was one of two people of color in the entire group. Everyone else was white. The other person of color was an eager beaver young black woman, probably no older than myself, who was ready to buy every major baking supply the place had. Her enthusiasm actually made me more excited and made me feel like I should buy more, for better or for worse on my wallet.
Unless the class is an Asian-themed class, like the Vietnamese cooking class Chris gifted me in January, it’s almost inevitable that cooking classes’ clientele are mostly a bunch of white people. I am usually one of the rare few who “adds diversity.” As someone who likes to cook, most of the time, with the exception of the croissant baking class, I usually do try to make these things when I come home. I like experimenting in the kitchen, but I get that many people who take cooking classes just want the experience that one time and will never have the intention of making those dishes ever again on their own. I suppose that is okay. But how do we create cooking classes that attract a more diverse audience? Are cooking schools and stores like Sur La Table even thinking about questions like that, or are they really just in it to make money on whoever is will to pay their $50-200-per-class fees? At the end of the day, we live in a capitalist society, so maybe they really don’t care as long as people can pay up.
But… that makes me so sad. The world is so not equal at all. “Learning” was not made to be equal.