In Their Own Words

After decades as a chef, restaurant owner and artist in Chicago, I relocated to northern California to raise my daughter and to be nearer to family. As a consultant chef and longtime buyer for Taste Catering, I deepened my commitment to local, sustainable foods through relationships with local growers and artisanal food producers. These relationships also allowed me to join area producers and artisans in building community and economic sustainability. I helped U.S. artisanal cheeses reach many a table, first by procuring and presenting them for Taste events, then for satellite businesses such as Press Club Wine Bar. I began to sell cheeses for Cream and the Crop Cheese Selections and then Tomales Bay Foods. My deepest interest in cheeses is the ripening life of a cheese, so currently I perform affinage with Tomales Farmstead Creamery.

My work at OAEC:

As Kitchen Manager, I guide the creation of healthy, beautiful and seasonal meals for our guests, community and staff.  I do this through partnership with our garden and orchards, supporting our local food producers in procurement, supporting my wonderful kitchen team and caring for our facility.

My background:

I have over 40 years in kitchens as a chef, restaurant owner, caterer, and purchasing agent.  I also have been part of a creamery team for the last 4 years. That is, of course, focused on great cheese, but also animal welfare and sustainable farming practices.

Why my work matters:

By nourishing the people doing critical and important work for our land and its people, I feel I have better role in the process than if I were simply selling meals in a restaurant.  I am proud to be part of this effort, and hope our kitchen inspires the message our food system is our most powerful tool for health, stability and cultural richness.

My passions:

I started making paintings as a teen and went on to study painting in college. I also had the opportunity to cast bronze, produce pottery, and learn photography. Art is both a passion and a necessity for me both as a maker and observer.  Travel, though I’m unable to do it often as I would like, is a great passion of mine which offers great beauty, cultural enrichment and connectivity.

What gives me hope:

Children give me hope and also teach me to remain open, playful, and inquisitive.

The best advice I ever received was:

From my dear Andy Arnott, who left us far too young.  “You can only affect the room you are in” is my mantra for being present, for avoiding overwhelm, and to realize that many small actions can make big change.