Describe your organization.
Our comprehensive culinary program teaches food-service fundamentals in a supportive, hands-on environment.
Through Worth Our Weight apprentices acquire marketable skills in food preparation, professional level cooking, catering, and small business management. Apprentices also learn the soft skills of teamwork and professionalism. We hold our apprentices to a high standard of excellence and often this is the first time such standards have been asked of them. The apprentices have faced major challenges in their lives, including commitment to the foster care system, difficulties with the law, homelessness and significant family disruption.
Here at WOW! they find a home for their vocational aspirations. They work to create better lives for themselves and their families. And by extension, their work contributes to the development of healthy communities. In addition to day to day activities apprentices take culinary field trips to conferences, culinary competitions and other culinary educational programs. These trips expose the apprentices to the world outside of their range of experiences. By taking them out of their familiar environment, we seek to change their view of the world and expand their sense of what is possible for them.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My first love affair was with food. When I was 3 I discovered a fig that had fallen on the ground in our back yard. It was a burst of flavor that I didn’t know existed and from that moment on I was catapulted into the every day search for the most delicious thing that I could eat.
My mother was a great cook, trying out new recipes every week. Once she made a cake that I loved and I wanted 2 pieces. She wouldn’t let me have it, so I asked her to teach me how to make it. And I did for the next Sunday dinner, thinking that if I made it I would surely be allowed to have 2 pieces. That didn’t work but it did earn me the spot of making the Sunday dessert every week. I was six years old.
Food is my passion and young people being introduced to good food and locally grown, farm fresh food is an extension of that passion.
What is your role in the organization?
I am the founder of Worth Our Weight LTD and its executive director
What achievement are you most proud of?
My ability to connect with, support, train and encourage young people in their journey toward adulthood.
What is your biggest challenge today?
What is the next major project either under way or on the horizon?
We are beginning a farm at Paradise Ridge Winery. It is a big undertaking but I am thrilled about it.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?
The food industry is rapidly changing. Some days I feel like an old woman, but I am very proud of the young chefs and how they are creating in the industry.
Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Walter Byck
Current reading: Notorious RBG- Ruth Bader Ginsberg; Chef by Jaspreet Singh
Most want to meet: President Obama
Stress relievers: Cooking, walking Spring Lake
Favorite hobbies: Baking, Reading, Light Hikes in Yosemite, Listening to the young people at Worth Our Weight talk about food
FOUNDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
WORTH OUR WEIGHT LTD
AWARD CATEGORY: EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP
RESIDENCE: SANTA ROSA
PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: CHEF EDUCATOR
STAFF: 5 AND TONS OF VOLUNTEERS