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“Cooking & Kids” with Vlada Vladic emphasizes the importance of family meals

David Boylan

Vlada Vladic
Cooking & Kids host Vlada Vladic – Photo Courtesy Cooking & Kids

When Chris Cochran from Solutions Farms gives me a tip on a topic for the column or a guest for the show and says “this woman is doing really good things” I know it’s worth looking into. So when he passed along a brief introduction to Vlada Vladic and her Cooking & Kids show, besides thinking “what a great name” I had to check it out. Having grown up as the youngest of 6 very opinionated kids, I remember family dinners being boisterous, communal affairs and everyone had their role in the cleanup. My moms meals were created around a budget and feeding a crowd but served their purpose and were always satisfying. When I looked into Vlada’s show, and discovered the premise was built around rebuilding and healing families by teaching traditional cooking and life skills, things that can tend to be lacking in todays busy families, I wanted to learn more.

Vlada’s Seeds of Life, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, has created a cooking show called Cooking and Kids, which is aired on public access channels in Southern California. The goal of Cooking and Kids is to promote healthy, home-cooked recipes and to inspire families to get back in the kitchen and learn to cook. In addition to healthy recipes, the show will explore related topics such as the importance of community, gardening, nutrition, physical activity and healthy life choices. I had a conversation with Vlada recently to learn more.

LTP
Tell me about your background, where did you grow up and what are some of your earliest memories of food and family meals?

Vlada
I grew up on a large farm in Serbia / Republic of Srpska / with parents and two other siblings. Our extended family also included grandmother and grandfather who lived with us full time. Both were a huge influence on my character and my way of life today. Our family grew all our food with exception to coffee, some spices and tropical fruits. To us this was the way of life.

LTP
Was there a dish that your mom or dad prepared that stands out as a favorite?

Vlada
What I recall the most is not one specific dish, rather special events which transform our home and life into a festivity of friends and food. I still treasure memories of these gathering with family, friends and neighbors. However if you ask my mom, she would say I loved her meatballs. They were made with homegrown meat, spices from her harden, homegrown eggs and breadcrumbs from her homemade bread.

LTP
Did those meals form the foundation for Cooking & Kids?

Vlada
In many ways, meals shared with family and friends, along with emotions related to such lifestyle, were a big part of "Cooking and Kids" foundation.

LTP
What brought you to the US and how did you land in Southern California?

Vlada
I grew up believing America was representative of "good" in the world. To me America was the beacon of hope and endless possibilities, a place where dreamers took their dreams and turned them into reality, I was one of those dreamers so no other country would do.

LTP
How did Vlada’s Seeds of Life and Cooking & Kids begin?

Vlada
Both, "Cooking and Kids" and "Vlada's Seeds of Life" were born in desire to give back to country that gave me so much. We all need something to believe in, I believed in this country and today want to use my means and talents to help keep it strong for future generations of dreamers.

LTP
What is the premise of the show?

Vlada
Strong, happy and healthy families and communities from where we will raise exceptional individuals who in return will continue to lead our county on path of good for all humanity.

LTP
Tell me about some of the high profile exposure with the show you have had in the past

Vlada
Besides airing in Southern California public access TV stations, our show is now airing on East Coast as well. Next step is to make this program available to all pubic access TV stations in America, making it available to families who otherwise can't afford cable television and don't have access to quality family programs. Further we are currently in discussion with KVCR, PBS in San Bernardino in effort to bring this program to PBS as well. KVCR approved the content, however additional funds are needed to bring production quality to their technical standards. I was approached by producers of Master Chef, "F word" cooking show and "Home and Family / Hallmark" but decided not to appear due to conflict of interest with Cooking and Kids program. I was also a winner of the Food Networks national Thanksgiving Family Feast Cook-Off in 2010 and
recognized as one of the “Ten Outstanding Moms Who Contributed the Most to Improve Health in Their Communities” by Blue Shield of California in 2012.

LTP
The show is seen all over Southern California, where can folks in North County San Diego view it?

Vlada
Public access Del Mar TV and KOCT in Oceanside.

LTP
What’s next for Cooking & Kids?

Vlada
Our goal is to air our family program on a national level via PBS and help inspire American families to once again, gather around family table for a quality family time and a healthy homemade meal. Those who share our passion and vision and wish to support us can donate via our web-site www.vladav.com or mail their tax-deductible contribution to: Vlada's Seeds of Life 41725 Avenida Ortega Temecula, CA 92592

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