The series launched in February 2017, during Black History Month, with a chapter on soul food. Subsequent episodes have featured recipes and discussions of Asian cuisine and culture, Hispanic heritage as well as episodes on LGBTQIA community, millennial trends and farming communities.
Cooking & Culture also draws on the support and extended network of external talent to appear in each episode. Both up-and-coming and world-renowned chefs are lining up to lend their culinary expertise, as well as their deep ties, to the topics.
The latest episode features the company’s employee resource group (ERG) for veterans, HMVET. The episode was hosted by Certified Master Chef and veteran Ron DeSantis and Angelita Zynda, an employee at Hormel Foods who is also a veteran.
“HMVET has made real difference for vets at Hormel Foods and, as a veteran, I was honored to represent this group as the host for this chapter of Cooking & Culture,” said Angelita Zynda, executive administrative assistant at Hormel Foods. “When people get out of the service, there’s an adjustment period. Thanks to HMVET, there are people to talk with and written information for those who don’t want to talk. Our group teams up employees who are veterans with each other to help bridge the military and civilian worlds.”
“Cooking & Culture was such a fun project to be a part of because I got to work with Hormel Foods employees who shared similar experiences pertaining to food and the military. I love the fact that this company is archiving food and culture not just from the United States, but from all over the world,” said Ron DeSantis, Certified Master Chef and Principal Adviser for CulinaryNXT. “There’s such value in diversity, and the fact that we get to enjoy this great melting pot of cultures through food benefits the culinary profession.”
Hormel Foods has nine ERGs that support the D&I goals and objectives of the organization. They provide an excellent support system within Hormel Foods to foster awareness, respect and inclusion within the workplace.