Measure with your heart: COVID and TikTok launched this Providence mother's cooking career
The pandemic shutdown compelled Omi Hopper to head to the kitchen with her camera. If she recorded herself cooking, she just might keep her Puerto Rican cooking traditions alive, she thought.
What else was she going to do? COVID had closed down her busy makeup studio and her day job at Sephora.
With a husband and four sons, she was knee-deep in food anyway.
"All I was doing was cooking," she said good naturedly. "I started on TikTok and figured I could do one-minute videos."
What she created clearly fed the soul of others. Her videos went viral, getting 10,000 and 12,000 views.
Omi Hopper, @CookingConOmi Providence, Rhode Island
Cooking delicious food runs in Omi Hopper’s veins. “The women in my family, Las Garcia, are all amazing cooks,” she says. From Las Garcia, she learned to make rice and beans, a staple in any Puerto Rican household. But as a kid, she was only allowed to mash the garlic using themortero. Luckily, today she’s the boss of her own kitchen, and she has a few thousand followers to prove it. On Instagram and TikTok, as @cookingconomi, she shares nostalgic, simple, and familial dishes with a modern twist. Her goal is to keep her Taino, African and Spanish cultural influences alive, all while spreading love and joy. “I always say, ‘En tu cocina, tu mandas.’” She shared her recipe for the traditionalcoquito de dulce de leche, best shared with family and friends.