One of the benefits of activities shifting to virtual settings in 2020 is that people can gather together from anywhere. Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has given warriors the chance to connect with one another through virtual cooking classes.
Learn more about WWP events that connect warriors to each other.
German Rivera-Caballero, a National Guard veteran, is a huge fan of these classes. “I’ve participated since the first one. I feel like this is a valuable tool for us and our recovery. The meals we prepare are sometimes fun, sometimes healthy, and sometimes they are just savory. We have a great time.”
Navy veteran Heather Vicioso’s interest stemmed from the ability to explore other cultures through cooking. “The first class I did, we cooked with a Moroccan mother and daughter. I thought it was amazing that we were cooking with people from Morocco.”
Savory and healthy meals were not all that Heather enjoyed. “We also do baking. One class we made biscotti with coffee. Even these small treat classes, I signed up for all of them. There was no geographical barrier, and I was able to learn dishes from all over the world. That sparked an interest in me.”
Turning a chore into a pleasure
Since taking these classes, Heather said she can now enjoy a part of life that used to feel mundane. “Cooking was a chore before. We started the cooking classes, and it opened doors to cooking new dishes. I have never been disappointed in a dish, and that repeated success has sparked a desire to want to cook more and become more adventurous in the kitchen. I’ve really enjoyed that part of it.”
German stated that while he is no stranger to cooking, these classes are helping him better embrace changes. “I have a background in cooking, but I still enjoy these classes a lot. The thing about cooking is that even though everything is written, nothing is really written. What I mean is that you can change the rules every time. Cooking is one thing that really helps with change and trying new things.”
He explained how cooking is not only a joy, but a valuable tool. “Learning how to cook is the best thing you can learn. It’s like that saying — if you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you learn to cook, it’s one of the best skills you can have in your toolbox. The way these cooking events happen provides a secure place to veterans while also being fun and empowering. I’d encourage anyone to join us, even the caregivers.”
This skill and joy are exactly what WWP teammate Katiuska Pabon-Beauchamp envisioned when she planned the classes. “I wanted people to understand you can use cooking as an art and provide for your family in a different way. I wanted to give these warriors an experience that they can use time and time again.”
Connecting through shared interests
While the skills gained are valuable, Heather appreciates the interaction with other warriors the most. “What I really enjoyed about these classes is how I feel even more connected. They have helped me build relationships through the private chat and keep up with how the others are doing. This is more of a connection that is larger than just the New York City area,” she said. “In between steps during the cooking classes, you get to share your story and find connections with other warriors that have common interests. It’s not just about the fact that we’ve all served, it’s the experiences we have from all serving. If you hadn’t been there or done that, you just won’t get it. There is always a connection when you meet another warrior. It is an instant bond.”
Contact: Erin Cinney — Public Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 904.832.5326
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.