Rowena: Sure. So I grew up in Malaysia and one of the things my mom made us do growing up was every Sunday we cleaned our room and then we made a meal together. And I never thought about it much until I had my own children. And of course, living in New York, you’re busy, you’re working, you’re a mom. You’re trying to balance it all, to say the least.
What brought me to the States was my work on Wall Street for many, many years; and I built a career out of it. It was great. But you know, it didn’t feed my soul, right? So I’m like, “Okay, what do I want to do next? What do I love?”
So what started eat2exploreTM was a cooking class in Thailand with my kids; they were younger then – like 9 or 12 – and they were looking at me like, “Mom, what do you want me to do with this onion?” And I was so disappointed with myself because when I was their age, I was making a meal for my family and for myself! But because I had not given them the opportunity to try to make mistakes, to get lost in the kitchen…they had no idea what to do, right?
So I felt like because of eat2exploreTM, I ended up teaching [and learning with my kids]. We went through all the recipes; before we launched, I tested every [meal] Sunday with them and they [helped] build it. Now [at] Thanksgiving, we cook together. So I assign them. I say, “You’re doing the starter, you’re doing the dessert”. So everyone has a role. And then we pop champagne and we just love it. It’s so fun.
Liz: I love that. You know, one thing I can say is, I’ve really pushed myself to cook more frequently [over] the past couple of years. I’ve found it’s such a bonding experience with my son – he’s 21. I mean, he’s an eating machine, he’s always hungry. [laughs] And what I discovered was that when I would cook with him, and we prepared a meal together, we would have the best conversations! So I completely see the value in what you’ve created…and then adding a layer of learning about another culture? It’s just brilliant. I wish you would have been around when my kids were young.
Rowena: I have two kids and I know you only have a tender ten years to bond with them; and then ten years where you’re going to lose them and then you’re going to have them back again. Right? So you want to make the most of that time with them. I know life is busy and life is tough, right? But if you push yourself and say, this is what I want to do with my family once a weekend, right? Put the music on. Everyone has a role. It is such food for your soul. Like it’s so much fun and connection. You’re really getting your hands dirty. My mission is really I want to educate the next generation about the world and be global citizens through food.