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Purpose Prize Fellow 2010
Nachtigal uses the power of preparing and eating healthy food to empower new immigrants to become active, healthy members in their adopted communities.
Through The Kitchen Door International Inc., created by Daniel Nachtigal and his late wife, Liesel Flashenberg (shown in photo, right), helps recent immigrants and low-income families in the Washington, D.C., area find jobs, acclimate to new cultures and communities, lead healthy lifestyles and gain confidence – all by teaching them how to cook healthy meals.
Working in partnership with social service, education, faith-based, public health and youth development organizations, Through The Kitchen Door provides bilingual cooking training to small groups of adults and teens at local churches, schools and public kitchens.
Using healthy, easy-to-prepare, culturally respectful, inexpensive and flavorful recipes, the training equips students with tools to make healthy life choices for themselves and their families. Students also discover life lessons inherent in cooking, such as making the best with what you have and working in teams.
“One of the first groups of Hispanic immigrant mothers we trained, who had not been at all active in their children’s school, soon took over the PTA and credited our training with giving them the courage to do it,” explained Flashenberg before she passed away in the summer of 2010.
Nachtigal and Flashenberg’s organization has led to more than 3,000 people receiving training and the start of an advanced, paid, cooking course for those who want professional culinary opportunities. Nachtigal plans to carry on his wife’s work by replicating the programs nationally and internationally.