Medical Student | New York, NY
The Inside Scoop
What is your profession? What do you love most about your job?
I’m a 4th year medical student in New York. We live in a world where the health disparity between the rich and poor increases by the year. For those who are in the know, the hot topic is always the latest diet or the newest superfoods. However, for some Americans, even getting access to the right foods can be a struggle. Many people lack access to healthy foods and healthcare. Some simply don’t know the difference between what’s healthy and unhealthy. That is why I love working with the local communities in New York. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to foster an interest in food and cooking, and be a part of their journey towards a healthier lifestyle.
Why are you interested in cooking and food education?
I find teaching to be incredibly rewarding. Fostering an interest in cooking early in life is an invaluable tool that will undoubtedly alter the way children approach food and their own health. Plus, the kids’ enthusiasm is infectious! Countless parents have been inspired by our students to reshape the way they approach food at home. My hope is that this enthusiasm continues to grow so we can create a movement towards incorporating healthier, and more wholesome foods.
What first made you interested in food?
I’m a 1st generation immigrant who comes from a culture that really values food. My earliest and fondest memories from childhood are those in the kitchen—whether it was helping my grandma make dumplings or helping her chop fresh greens. My love for food was what lead me to pursue nutrition, and ultimately a career in medicine.
What is the connection between your work and the advising you do for Sprouts?
As a medical student, I’m very involved in education and love working with the community. My goal is help Sprouts expand to New York, by spreading the word and assisting with volunteer recruitment and restaurant outreach.
Why do you think the work that Sprouts is doing is important?
Our younger generation is flooded with advertisements encouraging them to consume processed foods. Sprouts functions to provide these kids with an alternative message—one that revolves around empowering children to take an active role in their own health through real food. I believe that fostering a passion for cooking in even one child could have a rippling effect in our youth and bring us one step closer to eradicating childhood obesity and diabetes.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned from working with Sprouts?
The most interesting thing I’ve learned from working with Sprouts is that kids are great at incorporating their personalities into their food, perhaps even better than adults! While I might follow steps and wait for instructions, the kids just dive into the cooking and give it their all. You see risk-takers and planners. Minimalists and maximalists. You see dishes that resemble Pollock paintings and others that have earthy tones. Whatever their style is, these kids are able to create food that is authentic to themselves.
Why is it important for kids to learn how to cook?
New York is known for its vast variety of food options, and Michelin-star restaurants. When I think of New York, I think of a foodie’s heaven. However, for the majority of New Yorkers, this rich culture of food isn’t accessible. Some kids in New York find themselves getting their primary meal from school lunches, fast-food chains, and bodegas. Being able to cook for themselves means that these kids will have the tools to provide themselves and their families with healthy, affordable, food that tastes good. Plus, they’ll have fun doing it!
What was one of the most rewarding experiences you’ve had as a Sprouts fan?
My most rewarding experience was when a parent told me that their child had taken the initiative to start cooking for the whole family! The family was used to each member getting their own food, but our student had made it his mission to bring the family together with a home cooked meal.
Is there anything else that you would like Sprouts fans and foodies to know about you?
I’m an adventurous eater and am always eager to try new things. So, hit me up if you ever need someone to restaurant hop with in New York!