From Soil to City

We always say that Local Roots NYC is more than just just weekly groceries; rather, we are a movement and a community. One of the key things that sets us apart is our ongoing commitment to education and empowering people to live the life they love. That’s why we’ve teamed up with various school programs around the city to provide internships to students interested in food science and the culinary arts.

Kiara falling in love with kohlrabi at the beautiful Brooklyn Food Works

This summer, one of our vivacious interns is Kiara McCracken, a 16-year-old New York native with big aspirations. Kiara came to us through the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (CCAP), which is a program that works with George Westinghouse High School, CTE – Career and Technical Education school in Brooklyn Heights. Here, Kiara has been taking a culinary ‘tech’ class, where she has been able to further develop the cooking skills that she has been learning since she was young. This summer, she’s interning with Local Roots as a guest chef, utilizing our shares to create dishes that highlight the flavors of key LRNYC ingredients. If you’re lucky, you might even get to try some of her creations at select share sites. 

Who is Kiara McCracken?

Kiara grew up in East New York, Brooklyn, where she spent her childhood watching her mother and sister in the kitchen. When she was nineyears old, she gave cooking a try, and she quickly grew to love it. Kiara clearly remembers her first ever solo meal; at age 11, her mother requested a specific Mother’s Day meal – a decadent spread of ox tail, collard greens, baked mac and cheese, stuffing, and a grand finale of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Needless to say, Kiara knocked it out of the park.

Summer Squash and Kale Gratin

Her love of both cooking and family life has stuck with her to this day. Kiara’s ultimate goal is to graduate from George Westinghouse and work full time in a kitchen. When she and her mother are able to, they hope to relocate to North Carolina to be closer to the rest of their family. Here, Kiara intends to study the culinary arts at Johnson & Wales in Charlotte, and eventually aims to open her own Bed & Breakfast.

Kiara and Local Roots

Kiara’s been working with us for the past couple weeks, and she’s already discovered new foods and techniques. While Kiara says her favorite food was once broccoli, after a bad (read: overcooked) experience, green beans took first place in her book. “Hopefully [working with Local Roots] will change that,” she said as she held up a kohlrabi in awe, “It looks like an onion in squid form…”

Kiara with our founder Wen-Jay

We are excited to give Kiara culinary opportunities and be a part of her journey. So far, she’s made us kohlrabi summer salad, squash gratin, and egg/squash sauté. Keep an eye out for Kiara at our Boerum Hill site and her samples at various Local Roots locations.

You can enjoy a multi-course farm to table dinner prepared by Kiara on August 28 by reserving a ticket here.