The thing about food is that those who have plenty of it are struggling with obesity and lifestyle diseases associated with eating junk food. While those without enough food suffer from malnutrition and diseases associated with not eating a balanced diet.
Well on foodie, Earlene Cruz has come up with a platform KitchenConnection.org that brings together all the people that love to prepare nutritious tasty dishes, where they can share healthy cooking and eating tips alongside their secret recipes. At the same time, through their combined effort they try to combat food-related problems ranging from malnutrition, obesity, and the other eating habits (or lack of it) complications.
Tell us about yourself
I’m Earlene Cruz, the founder of KitchenConnection.org, which is a free social media platform for lovers of all-things-food to share anything from pictures to links and videos about food, as well as a space for them to teach recipes or topics about food, while contributing to the alleviation of global hunger through our partnership with Action Against Hunger, supporting our ultimate mission:
I’m eating, You’re eating, and because We’re eating together, Someone else is eating too.’ I’m currently working towards a Master’s degree in Food Studies & Social Entrepreneurship at New York University, hoping to complement the project with the knowledge I gain.
What inspired you to start Kitchen Connection?
In 2012, I had a moment where, in the midst of the madness of losing my wallet and arriving in Ghana as part of a study abroad, a family took me in, housed me, and fed me – treating me as one of their own.
This inspired a longing for that connection after leaving them. My story, of being comforted by and connected to a stranger over food, is not a unique one, which is why I wanted to create a platform where the love of food could be the source of peace and cultural exchange for others.
What has been the most difficult part of launching Kitchen Connection, and how did you deal with it?
Kitchen Connection is a very technologically based concept. As a layperson in the space, it was something very difficult for me to manage something so engrained in technology without the expertise. Oftentimes, the deadlines we set were humanly impossible to meet, so I had to flexible and adjust our timeline accordingly. It helps to have a development team that is both patient and willing to teach you what you don’t know.
In your experience, what do you think is severely lacking within the food industry?
The food industry is arguably the most ubiquitous one on this planet, yet issues of food insecurity, sustainability, obesity, malnutrition, and basic inequity are pervasive. I think that what’s lacking is being able to take advantage of the fact that everyone needs to eat, paired with the increasingly growing fascination for ‘foodie culture’.
Why not, for every single cookbook that is written, restaurant that is opened, and farm that is erected, is a pathway being created, technologically based or not, that aims to combat these issues?
It should be more engrained in our foodie DNA to not only care about eating organically and healthily, but to also contribute to the greater food environment by allocating time, energy, or financial resources towards these causes. It doesn’t need to start with a Fortune 500 company. it can begin with the individual, in the home, and eventually escalade into a societal movement. I think we’re on our way.
What is your career advice to other entrepreneurs that are looking to merge food and technology?
Technology really is the facilitator of whatever it is you’re trying to achieve. Sometimes, the technology itself is the goal, but in my case, and in the case of those solving other food challenges, I would say that other entrepreneurs should focus on the goal of solving that challenge ahead of or in line with thinking of the technology that will be used to reach that goal.
There are many free resources out there, which may test an idea out before actually creating a technical solution. So focus on the idea and on solving the issue, while thinking of innovative ways to test the idea and bring it to life.