United We Dream is producing a cooking competition featuring young immigrants as contestants
The show will premiere on April 20 on the organization’s YouTube.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
No Borders, Just Flavors is a new YouTube cooking competition coming to the platform on Thursday, April 20. The episodes will feature two young first- and second-generation immigrants, who will face off using family recipes.
There will be four, 15-minute episodes that will be released every Thursday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Contestants will have 90 minutes to cook their dish based on that week’s cooking category. The winner will be picked based on flavor, presentation, and storytelling.
The show is being produced by United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led network in the country. The organization had a significant effect on getting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created, and has continued to provide resources about the program.
One of the contestants, Emmanuel Gonzalez Perez, is a DACA recipient who is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico. He now lives in California and works as a community assistant at the Weber Institute of Applied Sciences & Technology high school.
He told NBC News, “I think the show does an amazing [job] in showcasing our humanity, our identity, and I think this should serve as a point for people to really [be] able to start connecting with other communities. Sometimes we tend to only eat our own food or stay within our own culture.”
The show will be judged by Morelys De Los Santos Urbano and a guest judge. De Los Santos Urbano is an Afro Dominican student at Morgan State University, who started an organization at the school for undocumented students. The guest judges include TikTok food creators and chefs.
“I think that we take for granted that food is a medium of storytelling. There’s history behind almost every dish that we eat… Food is a space for storytelling, and it’s also a space for meaning making and identity making,” Juanita Monsalve, a senior creative director at United We Dream and the show’s executive producer, told NBC News.
“I think that unlike other cooking shows, the show doesn’t ask people to hold a part of themselves back. And so we brought a diverse set of people with unique experiences and asked them to share all forms or all aspects of their identities through their cooking,” she added.
Monsalve has also produced a series of nine documentary shorts titled, “Home is Here.” The videos were created as part of a multimedia amicus brief that was submitted to the Supreme Court in favor of immigrants’ rights and DACA. It won in the category of Social Movement at the 5th Annual Shorty Social Good Awards.