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Cooking for a cause: La Jolla events company presents virtual cooking class to benefit food bank

Jodi Abel, owner of LaJollaCooks4U, will present a virtual cooking class June 18 to benefit the San Diego Food Bank.
Jodi Abel, owner of LaJollaCooks4U, will present a virtual cooking class Thursday, June 18, to benefit the San Diego Food Bank.
(Courtesy)

Local company LaJollaCooks4U will present a virtual cooking class Thursday, June 18, to benefit the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank.

“We’re proud to be part of this,” said Jodi Abel, 12-year owner of LaJollaCooks4U, a cooking events company that, pre-pandemic, was holding corporate team-building cooking classes and other events out of Abel’s home.

The virtual cooking class will be held online via Zoom from 5:30 to 7 p.m., kicked off by San Diego Food Bank President Jim Floros and led by Abel and Dr. Sabrina Falquier, an internist with expertise in culinary medicine.

Registered participants for the event will receive the recipes in advance so they may shop for ingredients and cook along with Abel and Falquier, or after the demonstration.

“It’s a very healthy, California cuisine menu,” Abel said.

Participants also will be able to buy customized locally grown farm boxes from Yasukochi Family Farms.

Falquier “will be talking about the health and nutritional values of each thing we’re cooking,” Abel said. “She talks about food as medicine.”

The event is free, though Abel said she hopes “folks will be inspired to donate” to the food bank and wants the class to “raise awareness of hunger and help our community.”

Abel said she became involved with the San Diego Food Bank four years ago after attending a gala. “I had no idea how many were hungry in our community,” she said. Abel met with Floros to offer her assistance.

“My world is feeding people,” said Abel, a self-taught chef who published her cookbook California Cuisine in 2015. She began volunteering with the San Diego Food Bank and in schools with low-income populations, teaching children how to cook and eat healthy.

Abel said the food bank normally serves an average of 350,000 people per month but the number has nearly doubled since the coronavirus pandemic began.

“The need for food has grown tremendously,” she said. “The San Diego Food Bank is providing more food than ever before. Every dollar contributed will help feed those in need.”

Jodi Abel has taught team-building cooking classes like this one for 12 years.
Jodi Abel has taught team-building cooking classes like this one for 12 years.
(Courtesy)

LaJollaCooks4U also is offering virtual team-building cooking classes while large gatherings are prohibited during the pandemic.

The classes are designed to “raise spirits with something fun that everyone can do together,” Abel said. They are tailored to the culture of each group and include shopping lists ahead of time so everyone can participate in the cooking.

“During these unprecedented times, we all want to feel connected,” she said. “Participation in fundraisers or classes brings us together. We’re all cooking more than we ever have, and to have simple, delicious healthy recipes is so important for us all.”

For more information about the June 18 virtual cooking event, email Abel at jodi@lajollacooks4u.com or Chris Carter at CCarter@sandiegofoodbank.org.