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Celebrating Diversity Through Food

Whether it’s street snacks at the Whistler Multicultural Festival, or learning how to cook dishes from another country with other locals, food is a great way to get to know and learn about others in our community.

All the recipes here were chosen, prepared and shared by volunteer immigrant cooks at community kitchens and/or the Multicultural Festival. We’ve included the stories that our cooks shared during these events as it is these individual memories of traditions and eating that really bring our cultures together. We are honoured to be able to share these fascinating looks into how food shapes our lives and families.

Swiss: Sittertobel mealBy Rita ScherrerSittertobel is a creek valley in the north east of Switzerland. It’s also common to translate the name of the dish to “pancake bake”.
Swiss: ÄlplermagronenBy Rita ScherrerRita's story: Rita grew up in a farming family in Switzerland. Most of the farmers produced their own potatoes and dairy products (such as cream butter cheese and milk). Älplermagronen is one of the dishes Rita’s mom used make, using their own produce to cook for everyone. In Switzerland, pasta was considered a luxury item back then. Despite this, for the farmers in the Alps it was a very valuable food item because dried pasta can be kept in the pantry for a long time. To make the expensive pasta last longer they added potatoes and also cheese and fried onions and garlic, which people started to, call Älplermagronen (Alpine farmers’ macaroni). The dish was only invented in the 1930s though, so not that long ago.
Philippines: Pork Giniling with Quail EggsBy NancyNancy's story: Nancy was born and raised in Philippines. She moved to Canada in 2010 and fell in love with this beautiful place-Whistler. Nancy is a busy mother with 3 children, so she always like to prepare some easy quicks dishes for her family. "Pork Giniling with Quail Eggs" is one of the quick dish that Nancy always prepare. During the cooking workshop, Nancy also share another favorite dish-BBQ chicken, all you need is a special sauce called "Mama Sitas Barbecue Marinade". If you want to know how to prepare this easy and quick chicken dish. You can check on Nancy's YouTube-PAGUIA FAM ADVENTURES with ATE NANCY & KUYA JOWEL.
Czech Republic: Vepro-Knedlo-ZeloBy Petr CagasekI’m from Prerov, Czech Republic. I studied Hospitality in Portugal but my cooking experience started at home. I choose to make Vepro-Knedlo-Zelo (Czech Roast Pork with Dumplings and Sauerkraut) because it is part of every family tradition in Czech Republic. It’s origin is from the tough time (during the War) our nation had. Sometimes people just could not get out of their homes, so they cook with whatever they have at home. In Czech, people usually had potatoes and pig at home. My grandma taught me to cook this recipe as it is very common and we had most of lunches and dinners at my Grandma’s house. One important note: The cabbage (sauerkraut) is made with homemade herbs’ vinegar. The Vepro-Knedlo-Zelo is usually eaten with a lot of beer in Czech, or with Slivovice (a fruit brandy made from plums with 54% alcohol).
South Korea: BibimbapBy YoojinI am from Seoul, South Korea. I work as a dietitian, I love to teach Korean cooking. You can follow my work at my Instagram profile @yoojinskitchen.
Thailand: Thai Green CurryBy Pui NarintipThis recipe can be changed to use any vegetables. The vegetables used in the recipe are a guide. You can also use any meat or fish instead of tofu.
Holland: Kroketten mit Bitterballen (Dutch Meatballs or Meat Filled Croquettes)By Marieke KerrMarike's story: I was born and raised in the Netherlands. And even though I didn't move to Canada until my late 20s, I have always travelled and longed for more wide-open spaces than Holland could offer. I found it eventually in Canada. When people ask me what some common Dutch dishes are, only a few come to mind, but the kroket is one of them. I guess one could argue it is somewhat of a comfort food for me. People generally don't make it from scratch they buy it at the grocery store for frying at home, at a cafeteria vendor or even pull it out of a fast-food vending machine. Not having those options here, I thought it would be a good thing to be able to learn how to make, so I can both enjoy it as well as expose my kids to some Dutch treats I enjoyed while growing up in my homeland. This dish is usually eaten by dipping in mayo or mustard, on its own or put on bread or a soft bun.
Mexico: Chilies en NogadaBy JunkoThis Is a festive dish from Puebla México served in the month of September to celebrate Independence Day because the colours of the dish are said to resemble the colors of the Mexican flag, green, white and red. “Chiles en nogada” are meat stuffed poblano chiles bathed in nogada, a walnut cream sauce garnished with pomegranate seeds and parsley.
Brazil: FeijoadaBy Karina PalacioMy first adventure in the kitchen was cooking vegetarian meals. For a few years I was the only vegetarian at home, so I had to cook for myself. I also used to help my grandma bake cakes. Feijoada is Brazil’s national dish. I love the story of how it was created and how it became Brazil’s most well known food. Feijoada was created during the colonization of Brazil when slaves had very little to eat and few options to cook with. Black beans are abundant in South America so combining them with all the animal parts that were remaining; such as pig ears, snout & the feet was the only choice for many people. Nowadays, eating Feijoada on Saturday's is traditional in Brazil. All types of restaurants and bars or botecos (small bars or resturants) serve traditional feijoada and variations of the same recipe. Feijoada is served with farofa (sautéed cassava flour), sautéed collard greens, rice and orange slices. It is a meal that all classes eat and love. Brazilians are party people. Where a feijoada is being served there will always be music (samba or pagode) playing and caipirinha (Brazilian drink) or cachaça to drink! Due to the meat selection here in Whistler I had to adapt my recipe.
Morocco: TajineBy Adil, Faissal, NawalWe are from Casablanca, Morocco. Our cuisine is ranked high on lists for the best cuisine around the world. So, we chose a well-known Moroccan dish: tajine! Tajine is very popular and loved in Morocco. It Is part of every family tradition and Moroccan culture. It’s dates back to 18th century. Tajine can be eaten as an everyday dish or for big events like weddings and religious days. Moroccan families normally eat their meals together. These moments provide the opportunity build stronger better relationships, giving a sense of belonging. It also gives parents a chance set good examples of healthy eating and polite manners at the table. We enjoy the moment when we first taste a delicious Tajine.
UK: Cottage PieBy Lizet MartinezI grew up in England and in the winter Cottage pie was a family favorite. It comes from using up any scraps of meat and vegetables. There is also Shepherds pie which uses ground lamb. The vegetables used can be interchanged, depending on what you may have left over. It is a filling dish and great to eat on a cold winters day. When I was a child I used to spend the weekends with my grandparents. My Nan taught me how to cook. Cottage pie was the first dish, I learnt to cook by myself. I used to then cook it for my family once a week. Like with all dishes, I would add things and change it slightly but I eventually came up with what I feel is an amazing tasting dish. I now have 3 children of my own and I have taught 2 of my daughters how to cook this dish, as it is easy to cook. The whole family loves to sit and eat it together.
Canada: Zucchini salsaBy Anni KolbeI am from Orillia, Ontario, Canada. I love to bake! My specialty is cheesecakes. I didn’t really cook when I was a child but my Oma and Opa owned a restaurant. I remember spending a lot of time watching my grandparents in the kitchen preparing meals. I also remember my mom would always bake German horseshoe shaped cookies at Christmas. They were shaped as a horseshoe and sprinkled with icing sugar. They were only made once a year which made it extra special. As a parent I now make these cookies once a year at Christmas for my children. Another thing I do as a parent is to make sure our family eats dinner together every night. I think it’s really important to spend that time together because everyone is so busy with school and work. It’s a time to reflect on your day and spend time with one another. I chose to teach people how to make zucchini salsa because zucchini was in abundance when we ran the community kitchen in August, and everyone loves salsa. You can eat it with tacos, nachos and even put it on your eggs. My family eats a lot of salsa. We eat it at least once a week with dinner. I also bring salsa to potluck dinners or gatherings with friends. Preserving foods is very popular in Canada. Our summers are very short, so for us to have fresh food year-round the best way is to can your foods. Popular items to can in Canada are salmon, tomatoes, beets, pickles, apple sauce, etc. Preserving food is something I started doing as a young adult. Raspberry jam was the first thing I ever canned. After a few years I started expanding my canning recipes and now I can apple sauce, pear sauce, tomato salsa, zucchini salsa, jam and chutney.
Chile: Sopaipillas con pebreBy Karine EspinozaI’m originally from Valparaiso in Chile and have been in Canada for 3 years now. When I was asked to cook some food for the Multicultural Festival last year, sopaipillas was the obvious choice, plus I’m a vegetarian and there’s no meat in this dish – unlike most Chilean food which has lots of meat. Sopaipillas are a really popular street food in Chile plus they’re easy to eat finger food, easy to make, and really cheap – you can buy one for about 20 cents. They’re usually cooked and eaten hot with any sauce or topping you want; ketchup, mustard, pebre sauce, or chili sauce… Sopaipillas are so popular in Chile there’s even a song about them called ‘Sopaipilla con mostaza’ (sopaipilla with mustard)… At home, though, we usually eat sopaipillas with a sweet topping called chancaca - a warm, sweet sauce made of raw unrefined sugar from sugarcane and often flavored with orange peel and cinnamon. In Chile, it’s like a tradition that when it rains mums make sopaipillas. So every time it rained while we were at school, everyone knew there would be sopaipillas and chancaca sauce waiting for us at home.
China: Jiaozi (Chinese dumplings)By Yuan Yuan RenChina has a lot of festivals and holidays. Some of the most important festivals are Chinese New Year, Full Moon Festival and Dragon Boat Festival. For the Full Moon Festival we cook a special Moon Cake and for Dragon Boat it is sticky Chinese rice pudding. During Chinese New Year, dumplings are one of the major foods eaten. We write, carve and make paper cuts of Fú [see character right – can we put this in] meaning "fortune" or "good luck". Fú is a common Chinese tradition at New Year and can be seen on the entrances of many Chinese homes worldwide. We also buy firecrackers and have fireworks. During this special day we make special garlic vinegar (Laba vinegar) and eat it with dumplings. This celebration is really family time; people visit each other and give each other red envelopes with some money and also some gifts. I chose this recipe because it is traditional food in China and everyone knows how to make these dumplings. We call these dumplings "Jiāozi". You can use almost anything as a filling, and you can boil, steam, or pan fry them. On New Year’s Eve we make dumplings in the evening before midnight and then keep them outside to freeze them before we cook them. At midnight, we have fireworks and after that we go inside and everybody eats dumplings.
Czech Republic: Linzer cookiesBy Barbora VanickovaSince I was able to hold a spatula I have helped my mum cooking - before that, I was really good in reorganizing the drawers in the kitchen - especially taking everything out. Now, as an adult, I enjoy most cooking, but my favourite is to cook big meals for a big group of friends or family (cooking for two all the time is not that much fun!). My family back home has many traditions with specific meals connected to different holidays, most of which are connected to the church. My family is very old school in preparing traditional meals; the idea of cooking something else on a festive day is practically impossible. My favourite time is when we bake Christmas cookies and listen to Christmas songs on cassette. It’s very peaceful to do; it takes lots of time, the cookies are very fragile and you can’t rush the baking. You just have to take your time and enjoy spending the time together. Linzer cookies are not just delicious, but also very pretty and fun to make and share with people, which, for me, the multicultural community kitchens are all about. These cookies are super popular around the Christmas tree with the family, and everyone has a different opinion about how to make them right - different jam, different shapes, everyone thinks their cookies are the best… We make Linzer cookies every Christmas and my mum even makes special jam in summer to be ready for Christmas time.