Category Archives: Culture

Bringing Nutrition to Local Schools

Culinary Institute of America graduate chef Scott Lopez has prepared a menu for over 1,000 at West Hills, Chaminade High School students.  Lopez – who has cooked for some of LA’s finest establishments – began his career at 13 in his family’s restaurant. Since then he has worked with the likes of Eric Greenspan, Craig Petrella and others until setting up his own business, The Caterer Inc.

The price is right at the schools too.  For just $7, kids can get the day’s special, one example being chicken piccata and linguine and a drink. But probably the best part of this is just how healthy and nutritious the meals are while being appetizing to kids.

With 6 different salad mains to choose from (including Chinese chicken salad, low fat pasta salad), protein rich sandwiches (such as hummus wrap and oven roasted turkey sandwich), soft serve yogurt and so much more, this really is a dream come true for students.

Lopez explained some of the thinking behind his menu:

 “They’re kids, which means they’re always going to want the most unhealthy food. They want the pizzas and chicken fingers. The trick is to make that not so healthy food healthier so they really don’t know. It is kind of different going from 5-star restaurants to a school cooking for kids, but, at the end of the day food is food.”

In addition, this venture is good for the environment.  Currently using only biodegradable plates and utensils, the team is hoping to add a dishwasher to take it to the next level.  No sodas are sold and only yogurt (not ice cream and no added sugar). Most of the greens are taken from their own garden!

LA-Armenian Relations

Last week, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his wife Anna Hakobyan arrived in Los Angeles and went to City Hall for an historic first time visit. The event was hosted by Councilman Paul Krekorian, LA City Council’s first elected Armenian American. They were greeted by thousands of people, excited by the visit.  Los Angeles is home to the largest Armenian community outside of Armenia.

At the visit, Mayor Eric Garcetti addressed the Armenian visitors and said:

“You make Los Angeles what it is, truly a city of angels. A place where in times of division, in times of hatred,  in times of splitting us in two – everybody belongs here. And every Armenian feels as if LA is their second home; you belong to the city.”

Japanese Culture: From LA to TA

Japanese culture is alive and well from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles.  One individual who can attest to the Tel Aviv, Israel part is Mozes Victor Konig.  Last week, he had the opportunity to enjoy Japan Day courtesy of the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Eat. 

Hosted by Tel Aviv’s Embassy of Japan, for the last 11 years this event is intended to offer families a taste of Japanese culture within a Japanese-based atmosphere.

“I found it to be a really hands-on experience of Japanese culture,” Mozes Victor Konig, Tel Aviv, Israel based photographer said.  “Getting a taste of the tradition, hearing the language and meeting Japanese people living in Tel Aviv is about as real as it gets,” he said.

“This actually gave me a taste for learning more about Japanese culture.  Next time I’m in Los Angeles – hopefully at Thanksgiving time – I would like to visit the exhibition taking place at Japan House, ‘Bakeru: Transforming Spirits.’ It is very hands-on for kids which is appealing to me as there is an interactive display whereby you put masks on which – with the aid of digital technology – turns them into Japanese folklore figures. Tales include: Shishi Odori (beast dance), Nahamage (deity frightening kids who misbehave) and more.”

Japanese-Israeli relations have been improving in the last five to ten years.  In 2015, the Japanese PM, Shinzo Abe, visited Israel; the first time in a decade a Japanese PM had ever made the trip.  The idea behind the trip was to improve relations between the two countries and this has been happening ever since.

Los Angeles: Art and Culture

Los Angeles enjoyed its first ever Frieze Art Fair last week.  Between 15 and 17 February, the Fair – which has already been in New York and London – reached LA and was held at Paramount Pictures Studios, Hollywood.

Endeavor Agency brought Salma Hayek, Serena Williams and Tobey Maguire to the fair.  Featured there were the following: Doug Aitken, Judy Chicago, Karon Davis, Mike Kelley, Ed Ruscha and Cindy Sherman.  Crowds swarmed the fair and all tickets were sold.  Opening night was attended by the rich and famous including: Brad Pitt, James Corden, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Keaton  and Brad Pitt. But they were not the ones the fair was after (except for the publicity); rather the fair is interested in agents and producers who are looking to buy such as Jim Ginapulous, head of Paramount Studios.

A few hours into the fair, Hauser & Wirth put $1.8m forward from a private European foundation for a Mike Kelley installation; this was the most expensive piece sold at the fair.  The next most expensive was Yayoi Kusami’s Infinity Nets at Lévy Gorvyy for $1.6 million.

Bringing Ireland to LA

Later on this year (from October 16th to the 21st), Ireland is coming to LA.  An Irish government trade and cultural extravaganza will showcase live Irish creativity and innovation for those in the LA region.  It was launched in July by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, An Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald and performer PantiBliss.

Aimed at supporting a wide range of government agencies (such as The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade The Irish Film Board, Culture Ireland, Creative Ireland, IDA Ireland, Tourism Ireland), the Irish Government is completely on board with the upcoming event. And as An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “The Irish Government is very happy to lend support to Ireland Week and the Connect 353 conference in Los Angeles this October. There is significant potential for growing trade & economic links between Ireland and the Los Angeles region. This initiative should help our agencies to promote Ireland as an attractive location for trade and investment.”

Already in July a connection between the two entities was being formed as Ireland’s Local Funky Feet team members went to LA to represent their country in the World Championships of Performing Arts, bringing home 88 medals from the event!