What’s cooking at Berkeley’s Kitchen?

The Cal Cooking Club has spawned more than one non-profit culinary entity with roots in Berkeley and an international reach.

Newcomer Berkeley’s Kitchen, founded by UC-Berkeley alum Cristina Lau, aims to offer adults an edible education at affordable prices with an emphasis on showcasing the rich diversity of ethnic cuisine in this community.

Lau, 23, grew up in Tijuana and San Diego, and recalls peeling shrimp and washing dishes at the Chinese restaurants her parents owned. She speaks three languages, considers herself mostly Mexican with Chinese roots, and enjoys cooking Mexican-Chinese fusion food. (Think stir fry with chillies.)

Lau has no formal culinary training, but recently she held her own and then some against local professional chefs and caterers when she won the ninth annual Crabby Chef Competition hosted by Spengers’ Fresh Fish Grotto for her co-creation, Green Apple-Pomegranate Crab Crepes.

And she’s parlayed a skill she acquired at the Cal Cooking Club, setting up cooking clinics in restaurants around town for students, into a regular feature at Berkeley’s Kitchen, along with food field trips and events.


Some of the proceeds from such ventures fund Sprout for Success, a language-tutoring program Lau oversees for low-income Chinese immigrant kids in Tijuana.

To date, Berkeley’s Kitchen classes have attracted a mostly student or Cal-alum crowd. Lau hopes to draw a wider audience to up-coming events, including:

  • A dim sum cooking class, this Sunday, February 28. Lau will share family favorites such as shrimp dumplings and vegetarian egg rolls.
  • A Tibetan cooking clinic at Cafe Tibet on Saturday, March 06. Make traditional Tibetan dumplings and dessert in a benefit for single mothers in India.

Berkeley’s Kitchen will run cooking demos at Friday’s PlayGreen Festival on the UC campus.

For more event details, visit Berkeley’s Kitchen.

Sarah Henry is the voice behind Lettuce Eat Kale. You can follow her on Twitter and become a fan of Lettuce Eat Kale on Facebook.