Urban Dinner Socials ‘Make and Take’ Cooking Class – this SUNDAY – Los Angeles cooking class report

Photo credit: David Kiang Photography.
Photo credit: David Kiang Photography.

Urban Dinner Socials’ inaugural Make and Take Cooking Class, featuring Whittier Backyard Farms local produce, will be held on Sunday, March 23, 2014, at Plant Based Parties in Los Angeles, CA, 4:00-7:00pm.

Participants will learn vegan cooking skills, including how to fit home cooking work into a fast-paced life. Ten menu items, packaged to go home with participants for the week, include wheat-free options.

Urban Dinner Socials, now in its fifth year, uses local produce to make international and comfort foods vegan. The project teaches cooking skills through hands-on kitchen training and a weekly Instagram feed of easy seasonal vegan recipes to make at home.

Ticket prices are $80-120.00, depending on time of purchase.

Want to eat more plant-based foods, but can’t find the time to cook? Urban Dinner Chef Megan Hobza of Urban Dinner Socials shows you how it’s done on Sunday, March 23, 2014, from 4.00–7:00PM. The event, hosted by Plant Based Parties (Jennie Cooks Catering), sends participants home with food for the week. Participants will learn vegan cooking skills with the Urban Dinner Socials localvore vegan gastropub using fresh local produce curated by Whittier Backyard Farms CSA (community supported agriculture). The class will discuss menu planning around seasonal ingredients, take a “shopping trip” in the CSA produce box, and receive one-on-one consults with the chef and assistance from the Urban Dinner Socials kitchen crew.

“You want to buy farmers market veggies or a produce box subscription, but you worry, ‘I won’t have time,’ or, ‘I don’t know how to cook vegetables,’” Urban Dinner Socials director Megan Hobza says, “Our international dinners have shown our dinner guests how tasty plant-based food can be. They want that kind of food every day. The Make and Take Cooking Class is for people who want to rely less on eating out, learn healthy cooking, and eat the food they believe in.”

How it works

They bring the produce of the week from Whittier Backyard Farms, plus the entire Urban Dinner Socials pantry of organic staples and exotic ingredients. Participants will choose the type of dish they’ll make (salad, entree, etc.) and go “shopping” for 6-10 ingredients to make it.  Participants have a Tim Gunn-style consult with Megan Hobza about the recipe, in which instructors help each participant select a recipe from our collection and go over strategies for making it work with the available ingredients. Their experienced kitchen crew will be on hand to assist with shopping, chopping, and cooking techniques.  They’ll have a final tasting and adjustment, and the food will be packed to go at 7:00 p.m.

Photo credit: David Kiang Photography.
Photo credit: David Kiang Photography.

Event details

On Sunday, March 23, 2014, the event starts at 4:00pm at Plant Based Parties (3048 Fletcher Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90065). Take-home vegan dishes include three salads, two soups, three entrees, cake, and ice cream. Tickets cost $80-120, depending on time of purchase, and can be secured here. Ample street parking is available. See additional event details on FB.

Purchase Tickets here. ($80-120.00, depending on time of purchase.)

Urban Dinner Socials, now in its fifth year, uses backyard-farmed produce to make international and comfort foods vegan. For additional information on the Urban Dinner Socials, please see their newsletter archive here.

Make and Take Cooking Class with the Urban Dinner Socials.

Cook your week of meals with the Urban Dinner Socials! You’ll make tasty salads, soups, entrees, and desserts – ten plant-based dishes – using local organic produce curated by Whittier Backyard Farms. You’ll take home three hearty salads, two soups, three entrees, vegan party cake, and cashew ice cream.

How this Class Saves You Money:

Their week of meals costs half, or less, than a similar week of meals delivery service. And, unlike other ‘make and takes,’ your meals include a class to build your skills. They help you prevent waste, too: If you shop at the farmers market or have a produce box subscription, exciting but unfamiliar foods can languish in the fridge. They’ll help you with strategies to get these foods on the table.

How This Class Saves You Time:

Shopping for (or growing) local food takes time – this class taps into the ultra-local sourcing expertise of Whittier Backyard Farms to do your produce shopping for you, at low cost. They train you in the 30-minute vegan menus of Urban Dinner Socials, and crowdsource the time it takes to prepare your week of food. Shopping and cooking that could take 20 hours is finished in three.

How this Class Promotes Health:

With food ready-to-eat in the fridge at home, you can avoid the temptation of eating out. Eating home-cooked healthy vegan food means you skip conventionally-farmed foods, chemicals, and denatured ingredients. In this class, learn how to commit to your healthy daily diet. The instructors also address allergen-free cooking. And of course, everyone cooks with fresh, organic, GMO-free produce.

Questions about the class? Please read their FAQ.

About the organizers:

Megan Hobza, Urban Dinner Socials Chef & Whittier Time Bank Director–

Megan Hobza, a California native, studied English Literature at Whittier College and Business Administration at the La Sierra University School of Business.  Though she is a writing professional, the through line in her avocational life has been food, from her family’s shared culinary experiments to her stint as a food critic to helping found the Altadena Urban Farmers Market.  She has cooked for large groups from the age of 18; her current project is the Urban Dinner Socials localvore vegan gastropub.  She believes growing, preparing, and sharing healthy food is the root of community and camaraderie. In addition to producing events through the Urban Dinner Socials, her directorship of the Whittier Time Bank includes the Build-Your-Skills workshop series, which expands the community’s collective hands-on skills needed to sustain a civilization.

Urban Dinner Socials

Urban Dinner Socials is an experimental pop-up that tests vegan, organic, local approaches to traditional comfort foods in Los Angeles. Kitchen volunteers at all skill levels leave with new skills. Guests are seated at a community table and meet new friends. In four years, over a hundred volunteers and over a thousand guests have participated in our four-course prix fixe vegan dinners. Seven kitchen crew alumni have gone on to food employment. Many of our kitchen crew members are also our CSA farmers.

The Urban Dinner Socials is a time bank member. Founded in January 2010 at HM157 Creative Community Space in Lincoln Heights, the dinner series moved in June 2012 to Plant Based Parties, the commercial kitchen of Jennie Cooks Catering in Atwater.

Urban Dinner Socials projects have included a year of monthly international holiday meals from Chinese New Year to Hanukkah; presentations on human rights by Survivors’ Truths and My Daily Constitution at the Juneteenth and Olympics-themed dinners, respectively; a year of weekly home cooking recipes available on Instagram and Facebook (photo below), ten nonprofit fundraisers; and, weekly newsletters with food stories and recipes.

Get recipes, food stories, and keep up with the new ‘Make and Take Cooking Class’ series through their newsletter.

Whittier Backyard Farms–

Whittier Backyard Farms provides the Whittier area with a CSA of fresh organic backyard produce and food education. What is a CSA? Community Supported Agriculture includes produce box subscriptions and also other ways for community members to invest in local food. Join the Whittier Backyard Farms newsletter for updates on farm days, gardening workshops, artisan products, and produce box subscriptions.

Plant Based Parties (Jennie Cooks Catering)–

The event host, Plant Based Parties, offers plant-based catering for vegans and omnivores. Proprietor Jennie Cook has 25 years of experience in celebrations and event planning around the greater Los Angeles area, and now she’s spreading the word about the deliciousness of the vegan lifestyle.







Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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