We caught up with Emilia Giraldo this week, the HS World Languages Spanish teacher, who was recently featured on TV Okey’s Latino’s Kitchen, a show where guests are invited to cook delicious Latin American dishes! She has been serving the school for ten years now and enjoys cooking and learning dishes from different countries. With hosts Chef Celebrity Nik Michael and Malaysian artiste Fify Azmi, Emilia spoke on behalf of the Colombian Embassy and shared her native country’s cultural knowledge and food. The show airs on TV Okey (Astro channel 146 or online at rtmklik.rtm.gov.my) every Monday through Wednesday at 11.30 a.m. Don’t miss out on the spectacle of food!
Here is her story.
How did RTM (Malaysia’s national public broadcaster) and the Colombian embassy approach you into being a part of this cooking show in the first place?
RTM (Malaysia’s national public broadcaster) was interested in sharing some recipes from Latin America and contacted the Colombian embassy in KL. The Colombian embassy asked me to participate, and I agreed!
Doing Latino’s Kitchen was fun! I was asked to cook with Nick, a Malaysian chef, and teach him how to cook this dish. He was interested in discovering Colombian cuisine, so as we cooked, he asked me questions. He was a great host. You can watch the highlight trailer here.
Tell us more about Colombian cuisine.
Colombian cuisine is very varied. We enjoy a great variety of tropical fruits. We have five regions, and each region has its typical dish based on the food found in each regional climate. Because maize has been our staple food for centuries in Latin America, we use it to make different products like arepas and almojábanas, which replace bread. We have the Pacific and Caribbean oceans that provide us with various seafood delicacies. We also enjoy products from local agriculture that come from the Andes Mountains. In the Oriental Plains and Amazon regions, our dishes come from cattle farming, river fishing, and agricultural products, which are always fresh.
What’s your favorite food (from your home country)? Tell us what it is and why you like it.
It isn’t easy to choose just one dish since they vary so much as you travel from one region. I am from Bogotá, the capital city, and our traditional soup is called “ajiaco.” It’s one of those dishes that reminds me of home and family. I don’t cook it often as you cannot find one of its main ingredients in Malaysia called “guascas.” Guascas is a special herb that gives the ajiaco its characteristic flavor.
Tell us about who you are and what you do here as a teacher at ISKL!
I joined ISKL in 2011 as an HS Spanish teacher, and I’ve been thrilled to be here. I have grown professionally and have always felt great support from the beautiful community. I have a son and a daughter, and they both graduated from ISKL. I enjoy cooking and learning dishes from different countries.
As a teacher here, I have taught all levels of Spanish in HS, from Level 1 to Spanish B. On a regular day, I teach about 2-3 classes, meet students for additional help, join other teachers in meetings about how to support students or plan our lessons, and sponsor our Earth Club.
Something exciting about this year has been working in MS as well. It has been an exciting experience, and I have enjoyed the energy and spontaneity of our MS students.
Do you know a student, faculty, staff, or alumni with a story to tell? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions here.