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La Dorita Cooks’ eKitchen Multimedia Learning Center

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The Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises in Philadelphia, PA
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Children preparing a meal at La Dorita Cooks for a pop-up family dinner. Photo Credit: Nanci Goldberg
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Teach them young. Photo Credit: Nanci Goldberg
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Children ages 8-18 years old cook on induction cook tops at La Dorita Cooks. Photo Credit: Nanci Goldberg
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La Dorita Cooks aims to create Pittsburgh’s first solar-powered eKitchen Multimedia Learning Center that will support a complete local system for selling and marketing foods while simultaneously providing much needed cooking-culture educational programming and job training for local youth to work in the food industry.  Connecting food and technology to promote inclusive economic development has been a successful effort in Philadelphia, PA.  We are confident that our Sharpsburg-based eKitchen will successfully support, strengthen and grow Pittsburgh’s local food economy, especially the efforts of community-based entrepreneurs. 

Over the Bridge and Under the Radar

La Dorita Cooks is cooking up a way to bring much needed awareness to the place we call home. The Borough of Sharpsburg is just over the Highland Park Bridge from the City of Pittsburgh, yet it falls under the radar when it comes to most district revitalization efforts. 

Did you know?
•      The community of Fox Chapel is the most socio-economically diverse school district in the state; •      The Sharpsburg community has a median household income of $22,828;
•      More than one fourth of the Sharpsburg households rely on food stamps and the poverty level is 22.9%;
•      44.8% of residents are single parent homes;
•      The Borough of Sharpsburg is a recognized food desert in the Pittsburgh area where hundreds of low-income residents lack access to affordable, fresh and healthy food;
•       More than 90% of these children are on or eligible for the free lunch program at their school but because the school that they attend falls just short of the eligibility requirements, County and City food programs are not available.

Our Solution: The eKitchen Multimedia Learning Center—a fully operational demonstration kitchen and smart classroom equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual technology including recording equipment for both in-person and distance learning.
The eKitchen Multimedia Learning Center

La Dorita Cooks plans to build an eKitchen Multimedia Learning Center to that is also a fully-equipped demonstration kitchen.  We envision a high-technology kitchen that would serve the dual purpose of providing a TV studio for our kitchen-share members to shoot commercials, prepare social media videos, or host cooking for food based programs, while also providing much needed culinary workforce training in the Pittsburgh area, and healthy-meal cooking-class programming that aims to introduce the Fox Chapel District's lower income children to the culture of healthy eating and cooking.  

La Dorita Cooks has partnered with Volunteers of America’s All of Us Care program to fight the childhood hunger crisis on the front line by providing skills and cooking culture educational programming that is vital to the education, safety and social development of at-risk children in both the Fox Chapel and Shaler Area School Districts. Our ultimate goal is to nurture the survival and growth of our local children in order to drive long-term behavior change.  The eKitchen would allow us to introduce our programming beyond Sharpsburg and into Pittsburgh-area schools.  Onsite cooking classes would be taped and offered to local school districts for streaming the recorded pod-casts in their own on-site cooking clubs.  

The eKitchen would not only enrich our partnership and programming with Volunteers of America’s All of Us Care after-school children’s program, but would strengthen our food programming collaboration with Urban Innovation21, our economic development objectives with Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization, and our budding farm-to-table programming with Idea Foundry. 
To ensure its sustainability, the eKitchen aims to be fully solar-powered and will also seek alternative revenue models that accommodate private and corporate receptions, private cooking classes, workshops, networking and team-building events in a variety of layouts, while offering startup companies low-cost access and solutions to create social media videos, commercials, online cookbooks, etc.   The eKitchen would further attract attention and increased foot traffic to the Sharpsburg area, that until recently has been in the outskirts of redevelopment. 

About La Dorita Cooks

La Dorita Cooks is a nonprofit, resource-based home for Pittsburgh's start-up, early-stage food makers, and mobile food vendors.  Our Kitchen Share Incubator Program is an exclusive co-working space for food that aims to break down the barriers to entry into the highly regulated food industry. We provide low-cost access to fully equipped and licensed commercial kitchen space and professional grade equipment in Sharpsburg, PA, an underserved river town municipality in the Pittsburgh area. Our space fills a need for Pittsburgh's burgeoning artisan and good-food community. It's a space to help small businesses thrive, but also one where people can get their feet wet when deciding if making food full time is for them. Whether a food maker is just starting out or looking to expand & grow his or her food business, La Dorita Cooks provides a service that is economically superior to building or leasing one's own commercial facility.

La Dorita Cooks is starting a broader conversation about Pittsburgh’s underrepresented food start-up landscape and how we must all work together to help break down the entry barriers to our area’s Innovation Economy. Our ultimate goal is to nurture and accelerate the survival and growth of our Kitchen Share Incubator Program members and cultivate an empowered community that has access to high-quality resources, jobs and business opportunities.  


Nov 29 2016

Organization Organization Type



Healthy Food

Product Name

eKitchen Multimedia Learning Center

Product Stage


Contact this team about Funding, Collaboration or other methods of support. Contact Team



Karen Fornari

12 months ago

Every aspect of this project is well-thought out and truly amazing. The positive impact of the various initiatives for Sharpsburg is immeasurable.

Lre Payne

12 months ago

La Dorita is definitely a good community neighbour. Legacy Cafe, LLC Leeretta Payne

Alfred Caminos

12 months ago

Great Idea!!! Wishing you luck in helping to better shape the surrounding Pittsburgh community!!!

Heather Dekker

12 months ago

Wow, this is a wonderful program with a real impact for the community and our children's lives and their futures.

Heather Dekker

12 months ago

Wow, this is a fantastic program!

Cathy Cohen

11 months ago

I love this program!

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