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Meet James Pike of Learn Through Gaming & Sigma Tau Gamma (STG) Burger Team

Today we’d like to introduce you to James Pike.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Minecraft Education!
About eight years ago, I was teaching 3rd grade at a small Catholic school in South LA when I noticed that I could use the blocks in Minecraft to create math problems. My students and I start off trying the come up with a Minecraft math model that would work to represent Common Core standards. My students that year had so much fun and finished the year working on 5th grade standards, it was incredible! Since then, I have gotten deeper into the game and have used it to start teaching new subjects like city planning, game design, film. I have developed and taught Minecraft classes across the LA area and I am now launching an online summer camp called Learn Through Gaming. What I like most about our summer camp is that it is not just a “tech camp” and we offer a wide range of activities such as cooking, art, and exercise. You can check us out at Learnthroughgaming.net.

STG Burger Team
Also about eight years ago, the LA Times had a Battle of the Burgers contest where people around the world would submit their cheeseburger recipes and the five best would be published in the newspaper. My two best friends and I decided to make a few of these burgers. We had so much fun cooking together, we set a goal to be one of the winners of the next year’s contest….I am happy to say we met our goal! https://www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-dd-battle-of-the-burgers-2013-finalists-stg-save-the-gravy-burger-20130617-story.html
Since then we have come up with quite a few specialty burgers competed in liver burger cooking competitions, and I am proud to say that we will having our first Pop-Up Burger Joint at 3 Big Sisters’ BBQ in Compton! We hope to be selling burgers on the 4th of July…(however COVID might delay us)

Has it been a smooth road?
Some of the struggles in teaching class with Minecraft is not so much teaching the students but teaching the parents and other teachers. Many of them are not into gaming and do not understand my students’ in-depth answers as they explain their things like programming. Also, some people don’t really understand what kind of thinking that takes place while a person plays a game like Minecraft and just sees their kid glued to a screen. The way I overcame this was to have a base of people who get it and working on finding the right communities to work with. This isn’t for everyone but for the communities it works for it really works well.

When it comes to cheeseburgers, it is a different kind of challenge. I went to school and was trained in education not the culinary arts. Cooking has always been a hobby for me and we went enter cooking competitions we go up against professional chiefs and you can see the difference when you watch us cook. However, you cannot taste the difference when you eat! Also, not being in the food industry it was hard for us to find a home for our burgers, however I am happy to say after many years of looking I think we have found a perfect fit at 3 Big Sisters and we are so excited to bring our burgers to Compton!

Please tell us about Learn Through Gaming & Sigma Tau Gamma (STG) Burger Team.
Learn Through Gaming has been a very small online tutoring platform where we find the educational value of already popular games and use them to teach a verity of subjects. Our mission was to help families get the most of game time. After the COVID-19 shutdown we realized that our experience in Distance Learning could help a lot of families. So we decided to create the Learn Through Summer online camp and offer more than just teach classes. What sets us apart from the gaming classes is the verity of classes we offer, we have classes in art, gardening, movement, storytelling, dance, and cooking. I am proud that we have stepped up during this crazy time to fill and need for families and kids. Kids need camp 🙂 https://www.learnthroughgaming.net/

The STG Burger Team specializes in the cheeseburger arts. One of the best things about a burger is that a delicious $20 gourmet burger can be just as satisfying as a $7 meal at In and Out. Therefore, we understand that a burger can be both a high-class meal and a good old fashion comfort food that warms the soul. This simple truth about burgers leads our recipes and how design and think about our burgers. We have a simple California Burger with a secret sauce that will blow your away, a burger themed off stadium ballpark nachos with a homemade nacho cheese sauce. And of course our award-winning Save The Gravy Burger! What I am most proud of as a burger team is how far we have come considering that we are not professional chefs, we are just a couple of old fraternity brothers who still like to get together, be creative and make amazing cheeseburgers.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I can’t think of a better place to open a barbecue restaurant than Compton California. This is because our clientele understands and knows the finer details what great barbecue is, what it should look, taste, and feel like. You can hide average BBQ in west LA or downtown. But in order to know you have a great product, first you need to cook it with love and then serve it to a community that holds your cooking to a higher standard.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

On the Burger Team Photo Ted Markowski (on the right), Jayson Carvalho (center)

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