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Educational media startup Encantos is teaming with chef and cookbook author Aliya LeeKong to develop preschool brand Issa’s Edible Adventures.
The food-centric endeavor joins bilingual preschool brand Canticos and cultural brand Tiny Travelers. It will include books, apps, animated series, consumer products and subscription services.
“At Encantos, we always want kids and families to be inspired by our characters, stories and brands,” said president and creative chief Susie Jaramillo. “Issa’s Edible Adventures has all the ingredients we love: a multi-talented, passionate creator, and adorable lead character, and a universal message that everyone can connect with about food and family.”
LeeKong, the chief culinary officer at tech food platform RealEats, developed Edible Adventures to teach kids and families about culture through food, as well as to instruct on the science of nutrition. The character of Issa, a half-black, half-Indian 7-year-old girl, was inspired by LeeKong’s daughters with the goal of showcasing more diversity, in particular multicultural characters, in family entertainment programming.
The chef, who has worked at Jean-Georges and Per Se, is the author of cookbook Exotic Table: Flavors, Inspiration, and Recipes from Around the World — to Your Kitchen, which was influenced by her background as the child of Tanzanian and Indo-Pakistani parents. “My parents spoke different languages, so I was never quite sure to which side of my family a particular dish or word belonged, but everything about food was celebratory and joyful in my home,” said LeeKong in a statement. “The idea that cultures can blend with one another to create amazing food is one that is instinctive to me.”
Added Encantos CEO Steven Wolfe Pereira, “Aliya LeeKong is a visionary culinary talent who’s comfortable being a creative chef as well as a creative storyteller.”
Encantos, a B Corp that focuses on family education content, raised $2 million in seed funding in January led by Kapor Capital.
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