This year’s summer camp at Harvard Cookin’ Girl marks a milestone as it is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its charming location at 7441 Girard Ave., La Jolla. What started with a modest storefront and an earnest desire to educate children and adults about real food by bringing them to the proverbial table, is now a lasting brand name by founder Bibi Kasrai.
Bibi is the Harvard Cookin’ Girl and author of “The Spice Whisperer.” In 2009, after years at the top of corporate ladders, she packed up her awards, took her Harvard MBA diploma off the wall, kicked off her heels and donned an apron. Harvard Cookie Girl was born.
As the Harvard Cookie Girl, Bibi worked in connection with educators, school districts and parents to create and deliver a groundbreaking classroom curriculum fostering nutrition and healthful cooking. Quickly, the business grew starting with children, expanded to family events and are now solidly booked by corporations locally and around the world, with rave reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor. That’s when Bibi changed the name from Cookie to Cookin’ Girl.
The camps have been a way for her to stay connected to children and parents and the roots that started it all. “The summer camp is really my experience as a child at my grandma’s house when we prepared, pickled, juiced, pasted, etc for the entire year,” Bibi said.
The best part is that others are taking notice and duplicating her model, literally in her backyard and far away. Bibi is not dismayed because she says that “at the end of the day, people differentiate plastic from authentic.” Authentic experiences and quality create repeat customers — the young and young-at-heart have kept the store going for 10 years and she is very grateful for it.
During camp, kids start with basic kitchen skills to build up their confidence, and each day cook 3 courses — an appetizer or salad, an entree and a dessert. They mix cooking with other activities, like small arts-and-crafts projects or games. The food comes from all over the world and ranges from super easy to somewhat complicated to prepare, and is mixed with education in history, geography and knowledge of what ingredient comes from where.
Adult events follow the same flow, but with more sophisticated offerings. Summer camps are open each week from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. For more information, contact Bibi at (858) 888-3509 or harvardcookingirl.com
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