The Green Lettuce Project

I love food. There is no doubt about that! I also love teaching. So, when I found out that there were UBC students studying local restaurants for a 4th year History course, it caught my attention!

Eating Global Vancouver is a project that ten UBC students got involved in. Under the guidance of Dr. Henry Yu, the INSTRCC team – (Initiative for Student Teaching and Research in Chinese Canadian Studies) set out to study contemporary and historical Chinese Canadian migration and how this migration has changed Vancouver. Their angle – food. I interviewed Andrew Dhillon from the Eating Global Vancouver team, and he told me how they sought migrants here in Vancouver so they could tell their stories before they were lost. They interviewed Peter Chang from Green Lettuce, a local Indian/Chinese fusion restaurant on 1949 Kingsway and made a short film .

The Green Lettuce Project
gives us a glimpse into the story behind Peter Chang. He immigrated from China to Calcutta, immersed himself in the culture and the food, and then came to Vancouver with this unique brand of food. The GLP is a study of modern history themes as well as the study of Vancouver as a Global City.

When I sat down to interview Andrew, I thought I’d ask a lot of culture/food questions and get a lot of culture/food answers. But perhaps what was most interesting for me (as an ex-teacher), was the enthusiasm and respect that Andrew had for Dr. Yu. Dr. Yu’s approach is obviously different and unique and it has really turned the students on to learning, not just schooling. He has an excellent rapport with the students and he pushes student-based learning, not just lectures and exams. The students take an active role in what they learn and start with themes and do projects. Dr. Yu’s personality makes everyone want to continue the projects. Some students even came back after graduation to participate in Part 2 and 3 of Eating Global Vancouver. That shows how profoundly Dr. Yu affected these students. When I asked Andrew about the future and what he hopes this project can achieve, he answered that he hopes this project can bring reform to the department so there are more professors that do student-based learning. I love it when a teacher can have such a positive effect on students. That is what learning is all about.

Stay tuned for a follow up – Part 2, The Jiang Mo Jib Project. I love that we live in such a diverse city like Vancouver. We have such a variety of cultures, food, and ethnicities – it never gets boring! Maybe I’ll sign up for one of Dr. Yu’s classes. Hey – if I can study restaurants at university, perhaps even I can get my PhD!!


2 Responses to “The Green Lettuce Project”

  1. Posted on October 18th, 2006

    Learning, schmerning….what are they making for dinner? Kidding, kidding. Andrea, this is a great post. I await Part 2 with the same desire reserved for your chinese chicken.


  2. Posted on November 16th, 2006

    Hi Andrea–Thanks for the post! I know first-hand that this is a great project–I’m Dr. Yu’s wife and biggest fan. On a related note, I’m also teaching a writing workshop with the Chinese Canadian Historical Society called “Food and Family,” so if you’re interested in knowing more, email me.

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