The Cooking Academy Project


thank you for visiting! If you are reading this, I probably contacted you online to ask for a donation or sponsorship for


that me and my organization, Colors Association, will start in my beautiful city of Brașov, in Transylvania. The Cooking Academy will include classes for kids, adults and seniors, a library, an online platform/app, organizing various educational events on topics of healthy living & cooking, an urban garden and a small cafeteria. We will also train volunteers to cook for vulnerable seniors.

The total budget for the building, logistics and operational costs to start is 2.5 million euros for a two years project.

But first, let me tell you a short story:

When I reached my 35th birthday, my body crashed, the result of many years of stress and bad eating. I come from a family with good principles regarding eating, sleeping and everything that has to do with maintaining a healthy life. Still, I focused on work and at some point my body said ‘if you are not going to stop, I will’. While recovering, I had to learn again how to cook at home, eat regular meals, exercise better and maintain a work-life balance – is still a work in progress. Some years later, while taking more time for reflection, I started this blog, Disaster in the Kitchen, to challenge me, my friends and the public in cooking at home, even if we are, well, big or small disasters. (I can burn a perfect veggie lasagna!).

While I am dealing with my own issues, there is an epidemic of obesity around me. Children in my country, as everywhere in the EU or other developed countries are at risk and society is not doing enough to educate and protect them. There is a deficit in skills on how to read labels and how to cook nutritional food. In the same time, the change in climate will put a stress on the current lifestyle, and people here don’t seem to know how to deal with it. And don’t let me start telling you about all the extra challenges brought to all of us from the war in our neighbor country, Ukraine!!!

So, here is the plan:

We will build an educational center, a Cooking Academy, in order to educate the people in Brașov about healthy eating. We will run classes for children, adults and seniors on different topics, from how to cook nutritional recipes to how to shop. We will start a library and offer access to everybody who wants to get creative in the kitchen or try new food. We will organize workshops and various events, to promote veggies, recycling and sustainable life and maintain a small cafeteria to cater in-house at our events. We will start an urban garden, to educate about improving our green space in the city. We will also train volunteers to cook for vulnerable seniors and partner with other local NGO’s and public institutions. And we will use Disaster in the Kitchen blog and an online platform/app to inform and educate in Romanian and English on our topics of interest (this will facilitate our access also to the diaspora and everybody online, interested in the subject).

The budget will cover the costs for building the center, all the logistics, materials and the operational costs for the first two years.

Why us? Because we have been working in nonformal education for more than 20 years (a part spent in the Red Cross) and we have the knowledge, the skills and determination to get to the results; we are also proficient in project management and local bureaucracy. We have a Chef in our team and we have spend a pandemic reading cooking books (also making dough from scratch), while preparing our organization’s strategic plan for the next ten years. Moreover, we know how to build and run a field kitchen (I’ve never thought this skill would come in handy…). And, most important, we have failed several times, in life and kitchen, so we are not afraid to fail again, then start all over, better and wiser. We also worked offline with big numbers of beneficiaries, even if we are a small organization.

Important: There are no similar projects in Brașov.

DOWNLOAD the presentation

Four pages short summary – if you want to show it to your CFO or the partner in charge of the piggy bank

10 pages project proposal – let us know if you use a specific template for a formal project proposal, so we can fill it in

2 folders EU style project, where you repeat the same things a hundred times – is still a work in progress

Q & A’s

We answered for you in advanced, because we know the time is precious.

  1. Are you going to run with my money?

Nope, we are not going to run with your money, or the pots, or the basil in the garden.

2. Why me?

Because you have the money and the interest in the topic. And you seem ok (which in our case translates as ‘long term partner, that shares our vision and principles, focus on the results and doesn’t micromanage’).

3. Why not get local money or EU funds? Why not start smaller?

We will definitely apply to local and EU funds for specific activities. Unfortunately, for the moment, we couldn’t find ethical sources on this topic, that would cover all the project. About smaller activities, this is as small as possible, while having a long term impact; plus we already tried some events, but in order to get a real change and not only some nice photos for donors, we need a proper building and good logistics, and a team involved longer than a year (which is maximum financed on projects in this part of the planet).

4. Can you really do it?

Oh, yesss, can’t hardly wait. 🙂 We also have a phase two of this project, that will include sustaining projects in the rural area, doing/building summer camps in the countryside and culinary animation.

5. Are you crazy (from eating too much of that burned lasagna)?

Nope. And we are also vaccinated.

What we can offer you, besides great educational activities, beautiful photos and our forever gratitude is your name on the building and a dish of your own inspiration. Plus, when you visit us, we will cook for you a homemade traditional 5 course Romanian Sunday meal, like my grandma used to make on special occasions (don’t worry, the Chef is going to destroy the beautiful food, not me, so you will be safe!).

We will also provide a project report, including financial data and results.

Before deciding, please feel free to check Colors Association online. On our main website, you can find information from our activities and projects since 2008. On the Romanian version, we also have the blog (use the translator) and the annual reports. On facebook, you can find our photos, that we are very proud of.

Please read and/or try my recipes from Disaster in the Kitchen, it will help you better understand our principles – you can find all the photos on instagram. The Romanian version is updated to my latest attempts of burning and destroying some really good food. 🙂 You can also find my CV on linkedin.

For more information, contact us on email: and whatsapp: +40-745-052151, person of contact: Claudia Popa (if necessary, please consider the Bucharest time zone).


We do not expect you to give us the money without properly checking us online and having a conversation first; you might ask for our legal documents or more details regarding the project. Therefore, let’s talk!