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Chef Network Bios

Give us your time and your expertise, and we will help you change the world.

Learn more about World Central Kitchen’s Chef Network.


José's Front Line


Aarón Sánchez

Aarón Sánchez

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Making people happy. Being able to share aspects of my culture through food. Being a mentor while still learning every day.

What is your current obsession?
Foods from the Yucatán. I’m loving the different types of Recado and exotic fruits.

Who is your hero?
I don’t know if I would call them my heroes, but some people who I greatly admire are… Chef: Paul Prudhomme. Actor: Morgan Freeman. Musician: Willie Nelson. Political Figure: Emiliano Zapata Salazar. Philanthropist: Bill Ayers the Executive Director and Co-Founder of WhyHunger.

Why I want to help?
I think it’s unfathomable and sad that there are a billion people living in hunger around the world considering the amount of food we produce and the knowledge we have to grow and harvest food in innovative ways. Anything I can do to help change that I’m all in. And I believe in José and his mission!



Andrew Zimmern

Andrew Zimmern

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Working with food is the great global cultural equalizer and best way to share ourselves with each other. Breaking bread, literally, can allow us to see the humanity in each other, to see ourselves in our companions and to have conversations about our shared principles instead of our differences. We may have different skin color, language, religion and politics but we can delight over a bowl of soup and see our histories in it. Being a chef puts me in the middle of those ideas.

What is your current obsession?
Trying to encourage entrepreneurs to dive into the food circle of businesses and conversely to teach people that small business in the food space can heal our planet. Energy and food solutions to everyday problems are where I am focusing a lot these days.

Who is your hero?
Jama the Fisherman. I met him in Madagascar. He lives in a palm hut that blows away once a month, he fishes 20 miles out in the Straits of Mozambique, he trades fish for necessities, he is completely selfless, he doesn’t have possessions, he works tirelessly every day to feed his large family…And, he’s the happiest man I know.

Why I want to help?
There is so much need in the world. Eating and living decently has become a class privilege. I live in the greatest civilization in the history of the world and 1 in 5 kids go to bed hungry. And that’s in our country! We are a global society, and there is a world of hurt out there… and if not us, if we all don’t help, then who does?



Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain

What is the best thing about being a chef?
You have a basic skill. A useful one. You can feed yourself and others. Also, you are part of a thing, of a subculture. It’s like being in the mafia, only less dangerous and slightly more legal.

What is your current obsession?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I train nearly every day now.

Who is your hero?
I have a lot of people whose work or whose actions I admire. I think it’s dangerous to call anyone your “hero” because we are all human, and chances are, we all have a dark side. None of us are perfect. But I admire the work of George Orwell, the travels of Graham Greene, the filmmaking of Wong Kar-wai and John Huston. The essays of Joan Didion and Montaigne. I wish I could play bass like Bootsy Collins.

Why I want to help?
Because I’ve seen too much in my travels close at hand to NOT want to help.



Carla Hall

Carla Hall

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Seeing the potential in raw ingredients and being able to make something from what seems like very little. Creating food.

What is your current obsession?
Sour cherries. Loving sour cherries!

Who is your hero?
Jacques Pepin. He has been in the business a long time and he still has a passion for it and a desire to learn.

Why I want to help?
I think that everyone should know how to cook. I like to inspire everyone to get back into the kitchen, especially young people because they are the future.



Erik Bruner-Yang

Erik Bruner-Yang

What is the best thing about being a chef?
I love the work ethic required, the attention to detail, and trying to make people happy every day.

What is your current obsession?
World Cup soccer and connecting people through food.

Who is your hero?
My wife and all her strengths, and all the land activists in Cambodia fighting every day for survival.

Why I want to help?
It is our social responsibility to use the platforms we are given in life to help others.



Mario Batali

Mario Batali

What is the best thing about being a chef?
We create every day and for the most part, help make people really happy on a daily basis as well.

What is your current obsession?
This week I am obsessed with tart cherries (montmorency variety). They are everywhere I look and on every bite of food I eat. This will last about 3 weeks and then a new obsession will happen. Last month, it was Lake Michigan walleye, next month it may be the University of Michigan. My son Benno starts college in September and I will obsess about everything from football games, to health insurance and even the weather in Ann Arbor. This may last a while. I am also always obsessed with all crustaceans, mollusks, cephalopods, and urchins.

Who is your hero?
In the word of music, Tom Waits, in the world of cooking, Marco Pierre White, in the world of science, Michael Pollan, but above all, my two boys, Benno and Leo are my heroes.

Why I want to help?



Spike Mendelsohn

Spike Mendelsohn

What is the best thing about being a chef?
The best part about being a chef is seeing people come together. Our society gathers around food. Eating brings families, friends, coworkers and strangers together. It fosters community, conversation and it is a joy to see that in my restaurants every day.

What is your current obsession?
I’m currently obsessed with food that is a little more rustic. It’s approachable to everyone and can be found all over the world. I love the idea of creating food that is down to earth and relatable to people of all walks of life.

Who is your hero?
My sister Micheline. She co-owns Béarnaise, a French bistro with me. She balances the demanding restaurant life with her family and kicks ass.

Why I want to help?
Chefs can help change the world. Food is power. As chefs, we need to work together to feed the world and make nutritious food more accessible and delicious.



Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio

What is the best thing about being a chef?
More coming soon...

What is your current obsession?
More coming soon...

Who is your hero?
More coming soon...

Why I want to help?
More coming soon...



Victor Albisu

Victor Albisu

What is the best thing about being a chef?
I enjoy creating unique experiences and being part of a community of great chefs.

What is your current obsession?
Always obsessed with the grill.

Who is your hero?
My grandfather

Why I want to help?
Before I became a chef, I studied and worked in international development. Ever since I left that as my career, I wanted to help and fulfill that original dream that I began in college.

Photo credit Greg Powers


Committed Crew


Adam Mali

Adam Mali

Location
San Francisco, CA

Current Affiliation
Mandarin Oriental San Francisco / Executive Chef

What is the best thing about being a chef?
I have the privilege to make the connection between people eating the food, and where it came from.

What is your current obsession?
Cooking fish perfectly.

Who is your hero?
Jacques Pépin, Pierre Gagnaire.

Why I want to help?
I want to make people aware of hunger, and help build a community that will enable people to get the food they need.



Alain Lemaire

Alain Lemaire

Location
Hollywood, FL

Current Affiliation
Sensor Delights Catering/ Executive Chef, Toques Blanches, Haitian Culinary Alliance, Chefs Roll

What is the best thing about being a chef?
I get huge satisfaction knowing that I have made the difference in someone's life just with a meal. It is extremely amazing the difference one bite can make.

What is your current obsession?
My current obsession aside from cooking is making a difference in my country and showing a better image of her.

Who is your hero?
My mom is my hero. No matter how hard it is, she is there to support me.

Why I want to help?
I grew up in a country where opportunities, education and resources were limited. I have been fortunate enough to be on the right side of the fence, explore more than what I would've ever dreamt about. Now, I want to give back to those who are less fortunate and I believe that this is my purpose in life.



Ali Francois

Ali Francois

Location
Miami, FL

Current Affiliation
Executive Chef and Business Owner, Chef BoyAli, Inc., Independent Contractor Chef RLI, LLC

What is the best thing about being a chef?
One of the best things about being a chef is that you constantly get to create from scratch and I love to create! I love working with my hands, making new things, and also learning new techniques to better myself as a chef.

What is your current obsession?
My current obsession other than food is sports. I love to play and watch a lot of sports. Music is another obsession that I have because just like food, it gives me the ability to create something from scratch and make something amazing.

Who is your hero?
My hero is the first chef I’ve ever known which is my father. I didn’t grow up wanting to be a chef; I kind of just fell into it. I grew up pursuing music because that was my first passion. As I got older the music industry was not an industry that I liked that much because of a lot of shady business involved with it so I started looking into doing something different which still allowed me to create, and cooking was that thing. Unfortunately, my father passed away before I made the decision to become a chef but I feel that it’s he who guides me spiritually throughout my culinary career so that’s why he’s my hero.

Why I want to help?
I want to help because I believe in paying it forward. I’ve achieved a lot of success in a short amount of time in my culinary career and I owe a lot of that to the help and tutelage that I got from my friend and mentor Chef Richard Ingraham. He brought me in when I was very wet behind the ears and has helped me grow as a chef even to this day. I want to be able to help those who want to learn because I got help and I want to pay it forward to whomever it is that wants it. Again, I’d love to be a part of this organization because I believe a difference can be made.



Allison Sosna

Allison Sosna

Location
New York, NY

Current Affiliation
MicroGreens & Allison Sosna Group/ Founder and President

What is the best thing about being a chef?
You change lives. You get people to stop and smell the roses (and, food of course). The “glamour” of the profession allows us to have the platform to make an impact on people that will change their lives. I know this because I spent 4 months in Italy being the person on the other end; the person being overtaken by people who respect food and made me stop and appreciate what I was putting in my body and with whom I was doing it with. I feed the people’s souls. It’s powerful and honorable to have the impact of making people stop and smile with other people.

What is your current obsession?
My current obsession with food is coconut flour. (I’m working with a paleo meal service company). In my non-food life I am obsessed with house music and electronica. I just got a synthesizer. So obsessed. Music is just like food; you can bring anyone together over it.

Who is your hero?
Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Gabrielle Hamilton, Sheryl Sandberg, and my parents… just to name a few.

Why I want to help?
I’ve been using my chef skills to make an impact on communities since 2009 when I joined D.C. Central Kitchen as a chef. I served and educated children in schools and the community by using food as a tool. That service and education led me to form my own non-profit, MicroGreens. I wanted to make an impact on poverty and obesity. I wanted to focus only on food stamps and ensuring children got the education needed to shop on a budget and cook healthy . I want to help at World Central Kitchen for the same reasons I have been serving communities in the chef role for the last 6 years: to educate and make communities healthier.



Anand Shantam

Anand Shantam

Location
Washington DC

Current Affiliation
DC Central Kitchen/ Culinary Instructor

What is the best thing about being a chef?
A culinary instructor is the best thing about being a chef these days.

What is your current obsession?
Getting healthier,and becoming a better culinary instructor!

Who is your hero?
My Mother is my hero!

Why I want to help?
One of the chefs in your network sent a picture of the students he was teaching in Haiti to our staff at DC Central Kitchen. The look on their faces spoke a thousand words to me. I would love to be a part of that! It's so great to have students eager to learn!



Andrew Benson

Andrew Benson

Location
New York, NY

Current Affiliation
Harlem’s Children’s Zone and chefabconsulting / Executive Chef and Food Director

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Exploring the seasonal flavors and seeing a smile on a child’s face after dining in our kitchens.

What is your current obsession?
School food has been my obsession for a long time and will continue.

Who is your hero?
My mother and wife.

Why I want to help?
I believe very strongly in refocusing the way our country/world views food. It is extremely important to educate and teach our youth about eating correctly.



Andrew Fontaine

Andrew Fontaine

Location
Yountville, CA

Current Affiliation
Bardessono / Executive Sous Chef

What is the best thing about being a chef?
The best part of being a chef is the ability to make lasting memories. Whether it is a special occasion, part of a vacation, or an impromptu date night, food is always a staple and has the power to stay in your mind forever.

What is your current obsession?
I am currently obsessed getting outside and smoking everything! Cheese, meat, fruit, crème fraiche, you name it.

Who is your hero?
My hero is Nelson Mandela, his willingness to sacrifice for the betterment of others and to try to unite and bring them out of times pain and turmoil is truly inspiring.

Why I want to help?
I want to help simply because help is needed. If I have the ability to help change the world or just help one community in need, I would make every effort to do so in the best way I know how.



Anne-Gaelle Laplanche

Anne-Gaelle Laplanche

Location
Columbia, MD

Current Affiliation
Campus Kitchen (University of Maryland Eastern Shore): Past President and Alumni International Association of Culinary Professionals: Member Culinary Historians of Washington D C: Member International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association: Member

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Being able to feed and connect with people.

What is your current obsession?
Caribbean food history and culture

Who is your hero?
My mother

Why I want to help?
I am a compassionate, creative, community- oriented and motivated person who communicates easily with team members and proves to have good management and leadership skills. I graduated from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and received a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management. In addition to my educational background, I gained experience in management, training, high-end customer service, leadership, and financial planning.
I believe that the education and skills acquired throughout the years will be an important asset to Haiti and I would love the opportunity to be able to give back. Being part of the Chef Network will give me that opportunity.



Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith

Location
Vancouver, WA

Current Affiliation
Maryswoods /Executive Sous Chef

What is the best thing about being a chef?
The best part about being a chef for me is the creative process. I love developing menus and recipes and the look on someones face when they enjoy your food.

What is your current obsession?
Sustainable agriculture, bees, music, and playing with my son.

Who is your hero?
My Dad, he gave me a love for people, a love for music, a love for nature, and taught me to always be honest.

Why I want to help?
I feel that everyone deserves access to nutritious and delicious food, and I want to do my part to help feed people.



Casey Patten

Casey Patten

Location
Washington DC

Current Affiliation
Taylor Gourmet/Founder - CEO

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Making people happy through food. Continuing to learn daily while leading my awesome team

What is your current obsession?
Miso and golf.

Who is your hero?
My Grandfather

Why I want to help?
Its important to share, teach, coach and help others. Nothing is better than giving someone an opportunity that can change their life.



Cheryl Raeside

Cheryl Raeside

Location
Fort Worth, TX

Current Affiliation
Simply Scrumptious/Pastry Chef

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Feeding the hearts and souls.

What is your current obsession?
Chocolate.

Who is your hero?
Julia Child.

Why I want to help?
I want to give back.



Christopher A. WIllis

Christopher A. WIllis

Location
Washington, DC

Current Affiliation
Grist Mill DC and Hilton Garden Inn Downtown D.C. Executive Chef

What is the best thing about being a chef?
I am able to create anything I desire and have customers leave satisfied knowing that they are eating your food and came to your place to spend their hard-earned money for you to cook for them. Best part is that I love what I do.

What is your current obsession?
I am very OCD so I have a lot of obsessions, but I like things in a specific spot and that spot never changes.. Organization. A more personal obsession right now is my yard to be kept clean and trimmed.

Who is your hero?
Jesus Christ, then my Father (Jon Willis), he is my best friend and I only wish I can be a better father then he is.

Why I want to help?
I believe that as people of the world we need to give, teach, help and stop being so stuck on the things we have as we can’t take it to heaven.



Christopher Viaud

Christopher Viaud

Location
Boston, MA

Current Affiliation
Deuxave / Jr. Sous Chef

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Number one would have to be having been blessed with the talent of being able to prepare and cook food! Next is having the freedom to be creative, play and experiment with food by coming up with new styles and techniques. Also, working with a tight knit family, it helps to make the long days not seem so long. Most people do not get to experience the bonds that come along with fellow employees seeing as they don't spend 12-15 hours a day with them.

What is your current obsession?
Chef written cookbooks and food literature -Volt ink, Eleven Madison Park, The French Laundry, Third Plate, and Yes Chef!, being my favorites so far.
And, learning more about cooking Haitian food.

Who is your hero?
First, my mom and dad who have supported me in all that I have done and continue to do so in my culinary journey. And of course, my fiance who is a much stronger person than I am and who puts up with the stress that comes along with being in a relationship with a Chef.

Why I want to help?
God has blessed me with the talent of being able to cook and I would like to find ways that I can give back to those in need by sharing my food knowledge and cooking skills. I believe that working with other chefs who are committed to a cause such as this one, can really make an impact and begin the process to get more people involved. Upon hearing about this organization, I now find hope in myself that I can find ways to help to make a change that will benefit those who need of help the most. Teaching how to cook can be easy, but understanding how to do it while being sustainable is a future challenge.



Daniel Traster

Daniel Traster

Location
Washington, DC

Current Affiliation
Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show/Culinary Director, Culinary Consultant, Author of Welcome to Culinary School: A Culinary Student Survival Guide; Foundations of Cost Control; Foundations of Menu Planning.

What is the best thing about being a chef?
My daughter often complains, after hearing me talk with anyone who visits our home, that "it's all about the food." Of course, she says this with the sarcastic eye-roll omnipresent among all self-respecting eight-year-olds. While I do love the intense sensory stimulation and the adrenaline rush that professional cooking demands, it isn't all about the food for me. Food is merely a catalyst toward a much higher purpose. A sublime dining experience facilitates social interaction, whether between friends or acquaintances, lovers or strangers. Eating invites intimacy. It brings people closer together. A superb meal may be the topic of conversation momentarily, but the real activity taking place in a restaurant is the building of relationships. I absolutely love that I get to play some small role in that dance between human beings.

What is your current obsession?
Haiti. Seriously. I went down to Haiti in December to train teachers in World Central Kitchen's culinary program. The country and its people are captivating and inspiring. They have so little, but their hope and optimism is palpable. I now find myself scouring the internet for news on Haiti and keeping in touch with the folks I met down there. It is extremely exciting and humbling to be able to contribute to the rebuilding of a nation.

Who is your hero?
The late Charlie Trotter. I met Charlie in 2001 when he cooked at a culinary school where I was the dean of culinary arts. Not only was he gifted in the culinary arts, but he was also so kind and generous to my students and to his community in Chicago. He regularly brought poor, Chicago schoolchildren into his restaurant to experience fine dining, free of charge. His generosity showed that good food and service should not be the sole privilege of the well-to-do. He made those children feel comfortable and welcome in an environment they might otherwise feel impossibly out of their reach. If that isn't a critical step toward breaking down the walls that divide the haves and have-nots in our society, I don't know what is.

Why I want to help?
I have always been driven by the desire to make the world a better place, to make a lasting difference in my lifetime. The most valuable resources available to me in that mission are my knowledge and skill in the culinary arts and education. World Central Kitchen provides me the opportunity to use my expertise in a way that has a huge impact in a community that not only needs help, but is grateful to receive it.



Daniela Hurtado-Castro

Daniela Hurtado-Castro

Location
Washington, DC

Current Affiliation
DC Central Kitchen/ Culinary Job Training Program Chef Instructor

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Getting the opportunity to make people happy through food, being able to create and recreate something new every time I cook.

What is your current obsession?
Pushing the students at the Culinary Job Training Program, that is my obsession! Pushing them to their limit every time they are in the kitchen to give me their best.

Who is your hero?
My beloved father, Pacho Hurtado.

Why I want to help?
The main reason I want to help is because I love to see people smiling because they have accomplished what they have being looking for. Now working at DCCK is letting me help people through teaching and my culinary experience. It is just like a blessing to me, seeing the students graduate with a job, a promising future and the most important thing -feeling proud of themselves-makes me want to keep doing the same thing over and over again.



David Destinoble

David Destinoble

Location
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Current Affiliation
WACS,ACF,HCA,USPCA,PCC / Executive Private Chef

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Everything!!

What is your current obsession?
Cooking day and night.

Who is your hero?
My mother, Marie Y. Destinoble.

Why I want to help?
Because without someone else helping me, I have no idea of where or what I would of become. Helping others and sharing my knowledge is as important to me as “drinking water”.



Diego Fernandez

Diego Fernandez

Location
Hyattsville, MD

Current Affiliation
College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center / Executive Chef

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Being a Chef is not just about cooking. A cook is just one of the many “hats” you wear. A Chef is a leader, a mentor, a coach, a counselor, a creator, a chemist, a firefighter, a teacher, a therapist and a businessperson. We become experts at multitasking and we juggle all those hats at the same time. I enjoy the camaraderie, the loyalty and the fun (and headaches) that I have in the kitchen. Let’s face it, whenever you are entertaining at home, where do people always gather and want to be? In the kitchen! Food brings people together, it is a common language and a basic need we all have. I use food as my way of making an impact in someone’s life, whether it’s with a member of my team, my family or a guest. It is what brings the most joy and sense of purpose for what I do.

What is your current obsession?
I have a few. 1) Since it’s summertime, it’s all about grilling. From vegetables and fruits, to octopus, meats and pizza… you name it. 2) Asian food. I’m really trying to learn more about the ingredients and traditional cooking of Vietnamese and Thai cuisines. 3) Recreating my family’s childhood recipes and using my family’s kitchen tools, from cooking with my grandmother’s 50 years old aluminum pots, using my dad’s knives and serving platters, to setting the table at home with my maternal grandmother’s linen tablecloth (which was a wedding gift from 90 years ago). Keeping the traditions and heritage of my family as I build my own is very important to me.

Who is your hero?
I don’t have a Hero but I do have a lot of people who admire and respect. No one famous or someone sporting a “celebrity” status, just people who come to my life or I cross paths with for any reason. I enjoy learning about people’s personal journeys, where they come from, their motivations and where they are heading. It helps me understand myself better and brings me a new perspective of looking at the world.

Why I want to help?
In my 20 years of experience as a chef and having the opportunity to live in different countries, I always strive to make a difference for the people I work with and the community I’m living in. This includes helping improve the skills of my junior chefs and witnessing their growth by them achieving higher positions to better themselves and their families, hosting charity dinners in Guatemala to help the less fortunate, helping develop local farms in St. Kitts so they can meet their needs, and most recently, helping improve the food served in the school cafeterias for an entire school district in Kansas. I believe World Central Kitchen helps chefs help others in a more global way and I want to be part of it.



Dimitri Lilavois

Dimitri Lilavois

Location
Port au Prince, Haiti

Current Affiliation
Executive Chef/Partner /Smokey's Bar and Grill

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Besides the opportunity to be creative with ingredients and work with wonderful cooks, the best thing about being a chef, to me, is feeding another person. I like to think that I have touched a part of your soul somehow with a nice meal.

What is your current obsession?
I am currently obsessed with using traditional local Haitian ingredients and modern techniques to create new products and dishes.

Who is your hero?
My parents

Why I want to help?
Food security and hunger are issues that I'm very passionate about. As a chef, I want to use my skills and knowledge to make a difference wherever I can. I want to work with local food producers to create sustainable and durable access to fresh and locally grown products for everyone.



Emmanuel Delcour

Emmanuel Delcour

Location
Los Angeles, CA

Current Affiliation
James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour/ Organic Private Chef

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Having the luxury to work with versatile products from around the world and being able to compose and create at all times.

What is your current obsession?
Umami flavor and macarons.

Who is your hero?
Anthony Bourdain and Masaharu Morimoto.

Why I want to help?
As a Chef I have the privilege to work with the best food in the world, and at the same time so many people need food just to survive, so I want to be here for the ones in need.



Fernando Garcia Escoriahula

Fernando Garcia Escoriahula

Location
Caracas, DC

Current Affiliation
Executive Chef/Owner FERNY Catering

What is the best thing about being a chef?
I love to eat and I really love to prepare good food. Being a chef means sacrifice, hard work, hours standing but it also means being part of the life of others, and cooking for special occasions. It’s a way of life.

What is your current obsession?
In the kitchen, I really like to taste new foods and new flavors. I always want to try new things.

Who is your hero?
I think my hero is my mother, she had cancer. When I was like 9 years old when the doctors told her she had a terrible metastatic tumor and they gave her just 6 months of life. She said NO and tried every possible treatment. She lived 6 years with her disease and she never stopped fighting and living.

Why I want to help?
I am from Venezuela and we have a lot of problems. I think that programs like WCK can make a difference because you are teaching others and giving them an opportunity to work and you are also teaching them how to feed others. I sent this email to my partner Yenny Moreno. She is also a chef and she has more experience than I do. She is interested in the program and together we are running a catering company. We have work for many associations that help kids with health problems cooking in festivals or in events for the kids.



Frederik De Pue

Frederik De Pue

Location
Washington, DC

Current Affiliation
Executive Chef/Owner MENU/MBK and Table

What is the best thing about being a chef?
To be able to showcase our passion towards clients and being able to create freely.

What is your current obsession?
Planting herbs and vegetables in my garden with my children and seeing their excitement when eating homegrown ingredients.

Who is your hero?
My grandfather

Why I want to help?
I have been looking to find a cause where I can help and educate people about food, and how to prepare and keep a sanitized environment.



Gary Klinefelter

Gary Klinefelter

Location
Hollywood, FL

Current Affiliation
The Buccaneer Resort St Croix USVI and Virgin Islands Chefs and Cooks Association/ Certified Executive Chef / Food and Beverage Director

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Being able to create dining experiences every day. Using food as the medium to bring families and friends together to foster relationships. Also, to use food to connect with my multicultural staff. Food is a universal language that we all speak and love. Using it to connect with one another has created this amazing bond.

What is your current obsession?
Since it is summertime now, I am obsessed with grilling and smoking. From vegetables, meats and seafood, to fruits.

Who is your hero?
My father who is a four time cancer survivor.

Why I want to help?
I want to help because I believe in paying it forward. In my 20 plus years of experience as a chef, I have been using my skills to impact and change lives in the communities that I have lived in. I always strive to make a difference by coaching and mentoring junior chefs and helping them to achieve their goals to better themselves and their families. Being able to use the talents that God gave me to help others across the globe is very rewarding to me.



German Thom Santiago

German Thom Santiago

Location

Current Affiliation
The Chophouse / Executive Chef, Consultant, Instructor

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Bringing life to the world.....

What is your current obsession?
The Kitchen

Who is your hero?
Anyone who enjoys good food and brings people together to eat....

Why I want to help?
It is my calling.....my duty and my muse.....



Gregg A. Malsbary

Gregg A. Malsbary

Location
Washington, DC

Current Affiliation
malsbary + associates, culinary consultancy, president

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Energizing communities through culinary education, training and job placement.

What is your current obsession?
Working with social service organizations that strive to alleviate poverty, hunger and homelessness.

Who is your hero?
Mom & dad for the incredible support over the years.

Why I want to help?
To promote fresh ideas, fresh food and fresh opportunities.



Guillermo Pernot

Guillermo Pernot

Location
Philadelphia, PA

Current Affiliation
Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar Chef-Partner

What is the best thing about being a chef?
The best thing about being a chef, I think, is the ability to create, not only with food and flavors, but also to create with your team every day. Teaching the team to work together, and the importance of everybody’s role in the kitchen.

What is your current obsession?
My current obsession, culinary-wise, is not anything new. After my travels to Cuba over the last several years, I’ve learned to love to cook over open flame and especially with charcoal. It gives a certain flavor to cooked meat or vegetables that you cannot get any other way.

Who is your hero?
I would have to say, I have two heroes in my life, my wife, Lucia and her sister, Maria Rosa. Both have inspired my cooking, and also my interest in exploring Cuban cuisine and culture. Because of them I have been lucky enough to travel to Cuba multiple times and really learn what is happening on the island. It was a privilege to travel with Lucia to her homeland, and see it through her eyes. I wish we could have been able to share that with our children, and I hope to do so one day. Maria Rosa, an accomplished scholar and professor at Yale, recently lost her battle with cancer. She, along with my wife, escaped Cuba when Castro came to power. She inspired me to continue pursuing Cuban cuisine and gave great insights into my many travels to Havana.

Why I want to help?
I want to help because I think it is important to share, and not only to feed people’s stomachs, but to share the knowledge, and feed people’s minds on how to prepare a meal and feed their family. The tools and skills we can share across the globe can help many.



Harper McClure

Harper McClure

Location
Washington, D.C.

Current Affiliation
Chef de Cuisine, Brothers and Sisters (Foriegn National Hospitality)

What is the best thing about being a chef?
The chance to learn, teach, create and influence all in a days work.

What is your current obsession?
Adding Asian Cuisine into my repertoire.

Who is your hero?
Michel Bras.....or my Father

Why I want to help?
I want to be there to bring basic necessities into someone's life. Too much of what we do everyday is focused on indulgence, excess, and waste.



James Couch

James Couch

Location
Harrisonburg, VA

Current Affiliation
Early Catering, Sous Chef Chef Jaycee, Private Chef

What is the best thing about being a chef?
The best thing about being a chef is putting a smile on someone’s face by using your passion, for the love of food.

What is your current obsession?
My current obsession would be success. I work very hard for that one day when I can finally say, “I made it”.

Who is your hero?
My hero would be Martin Luther King Jr. because he stood up for what he believed and made a difference.

Why I want to help?
I would love to help, because I feel like there are a lot of problems in the world that I can’t help or control but this one I can make a difference.



Jasen Fontaine

Jasen Fontaine

Location
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Current Affiliation
Executive Chef, Marriott

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Being able to create food with your hands that has the ability to touch a persons senses.

What is your current obsession?
Teaching young culinary professionals how to grow and care for food.

Who is your hero?
Jamie Oliver

Why I want to help?
It is important to help others. Being able to work with people and pass on the craft I have learned myself is a responsibility I feel daily. I think that teaching culinary from seed to plate is one of the greatest tasks we have as professional chefs.



Joe Raffa

Joe Raffa

Location
Washington, DC

Current Affiliation
Executive Chef/JOSÉ ANDRÉS THINKFOODGROUP

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Being able to work with a group of talented and committed professionals, all focused on a goal they are passionate about. Passion is what makes this industry so dynamic and fun!

What is your current obsession?
I’ve had a long time love of knives and caring for them. They’re essential tools, extensions of us as chefs and sometimes works of art.

Who is your hero?
I have a lot of heroes. My mother, my wife, my boss and all the people I get to spend my days with who get things done no matter what.

Why I want to help?
Look into the eyes of an orphan in Haiti and you’ll know.



Johann Knell Lavaggi

Johann Knell Lavaggi

Location
San Luis, Peru and Havana, Cuba

Current Affiliation
Don Rosalino Restaurant, Corporate Chef

What is the best thing about being a chef?
The best thing of being a chef is that If you love to cook so much that you want to make it your profession, consider becoming a chef. The path isn’t easy – it involves long hours, physical labor, and heavy competition – but the reward is the opportunity to design creative dishes, run a kitchen, or even manage a restaurant.

What is your current obsession?
My obsession is to open my own business in the future or maybe to open a school, but it will depend on why I would want to do it.

Who is your hero?
My hero is my mother because when dad ran out, it was just two of us. When the **** hit the fan, she kept her cool and continued to move forward and did what was best for us. She is the light of my life and will always be my hero.

Why I want to help?
I want to help people because I feel good doing it. Not everything is about you. Some people can’t take things anymore and need that extra shoulder to lean on. It gives you a sense of pride and makes you feel happy that you were able to change something in a good way.



Joseph Oliver Govender

Joseph Oliver Govender

Location
Capetown, SA

Current Affiliation
South African Chefs Association/ Executive Chef

What is the best thing about being a chef?
The joy it brings to the heart when a signature dish is well received by our guests, and also seeing a young chef you've trained and mentored start building accolades.

What is your current obsession?
Research on culinary networks and broadening my development to educate younger chefs

Who is your hero?
Paul Bocuse

Why I want to help?
My country has a sad past and I would love to develop unprivileged individuals to become Chefs and change the poverty mindset



K.N. Vinod

K.N. Vinod

Location
Washington, DC

Current Affiliation
Indique/Indique Heights and Bombay Bistro (Rockville) Chef/Restaurateur/Co-owner

What is the best thing about being a chef?
The best thing about being a Chef is that you are able to make people happy by feeding them. As the saying goes, the best way to a man’s heart is through the stomach, I feel as a chef you are able to make so many people happy by feeding them good food. I am of the firm opinions that if you are passionate about what you are doing or if you put some love into your cooking, no matter what you cook, how you cook, it is going to taste good!

What is your current obsession?
Culinary travels abroad – Love to travel for food! Learning different cuisines from various parts of the world as I travel. Recently have started leading culinary tours to India; showing the diversity and the vast variety of the cuisine from region to region.

Who is your hero?
I have two heroes. One is my father, and the other is my Chef/guru Chef Roger Moncourt, who taught me French cooking in India. Chef Roger Moncourt had a profound affect on my culinary skills. I feel that he is still guiding me with the insight and intricacies of cooking that he imparted. Both my heroes have passed away but they instilled in me some strong values that I will never forget.

Why I want to help?
I want to help because that is one of the traits that I picked up from my father; who came from very humble beginnings and always wanted to help people in need. I was able to go to college because of a scholarship and always wanted to somehow give it back to the community. That is the reason I choose to volunteer for institutions like DCCK, Martha’s Table etc. over the years and have been teaching classes at the DCCK. Overall, I may be able to contribute to this great institution in a lot of ways, apart from being a Chef with international experience, I am quite active on the social media front – blogging, twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr etc. Photography is another passion apart from cooking.



Mahendraraj Verma

Mahendraraj Verma

Location
New Delhi, India

Current Affiliation
Plaza Premium Lounge / Head of Kitchen Operations

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Just like a doctor who takes pride in his patients, a chef takes pride in his food and all the ingredients involved in it. The crackling spices reminds me of the homa, an offering ritual, the aromatic herbs of a spiritual garden, the sound tingling bells made by a spoon , the dishes with names of religious chants. A chef has the privilege of working in such a place which is as good as a holy temple, "A TEMPLE OF FOOD".

What is your current obsession?
My current obsession at the moment is training. I wish to share my knowledge with my colleaguesm and my team because I fel sharing is caring.

Who is your hero?
My Dad

Why I want to help?
I am a very religious person by nature, and I have a very strong sense of conscious which won't allow me to do wrong. Not helping would be against my own self and my religious beliefs. Helping won't allow me lose something, so would love to help.



Marianne Ali

Marianne Ali

Location
Washington, DC

Current Affiliation
DC Central Kitchen Director of Culinary Training

What is the best thing about being a chef?
FOOD! Glorious Food! It reaffirms human kinship and nurtures the soul! It is an expression of my creativity that enables me to share with others!

What is your current obsession?
Empowerment! The ability to be a guiding light, a gentle nudge, a bridge that re-directs and helps people to find their center!

Who is your hero?
Robert Egger! A man who went shopping in the junkyard of society and found a bountiful treasure!

Why I want to help?
Quite simple, it feeds my soul! There was a very dark time in my life, where I was broken and at rock bottom. I know what it feels like to start from scratch with no ingredients. I was given a second chance at life by people who wanted to make a difference in their own lives as well as their community. I was resurrected. Giving back is my lifeblood!



Michael Innes

Michael Innes

Location
Mataró, Spain

Current Affiliation

What is the best thing about being a chef?
The best thing about being a chef is the camaraderie in a well-run kitchen.

What is your current obsession?
My current obsession is Indian cuisine.

Who is your hero?
Jimmy Stewart, Legend and Gentleman

Why I want to help?
I would like to help because three years ago while traveling, I helped out in a couple of charity organizations and it was something that I really enjoyed doing. I felt that everyone got a lot out of it, and as I am out of work at the moment, it is something I feel I could really dedicate myself to doing.



Nicolas Bash

Nicolas Bash

Location
San Francisco, CA

Current Affiliation
US Healthful Food Council, SF Cooking School/ Advocate, Assistant Teacher

What is the best thing about being a chef?
The people. The culinary world has attracted some of the most energetic, caring, and creative minds.

What is your current obsession?
Native American Cuisine

Who is your hero?
Charles Phan

Why I want to help?
I am obsessed with solving our food crisis. Monoculture, poor eating habits, poor health, sustainability, starvation, malnutrition, resource depletion, education, and poverty are all connected in food and I want to help!



Nicole Shirley

Nicole Shirley

Location
Herdon, VA

Current Affiliation
Adjunct Faculty Instructor/ School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Stratford University (Alexandria Campus)

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Sharing my love and passion for baking. Celebrations are always surrounded by desserts. They make people feel good and happy no matter their circumstances.

What is your current obsession?
Chocolate and chocolate work

Who is your hero?
Jacqui Sinclair and her Meatless Monday Initiative in Jamaica

Why I want to help?
I feel so blessed in my life and feel the need to give back to society and be a blessing to others. I want people to know that they can take a love for cooking or baking and make it into a career.



Peter Parsons

Peter Parsons

Location
Montreal, Quebec

Current Affiliation
Primo e Secondo Chef in Residence

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Two things. First, I grew up in a food-oriented family. We never ate processed foods. We prepared, cooked and ate as a family. We grew our own vegetables and picked and preserved our modest fall harvest. Growing up in southern Ontario’s fruit belt gave us access to a wealth of farm grown fruits and vegetables which we enjoyed at the height of their season, as well as, during the cold Canadian months where we could pull preserved or frozen items out of storage to use as needed. Being raised by my grandparents instilled “old world” values regarding an appreciation and respect for food items as they presented themselves seasonally, as well as, the value of the simple craft of cookery. My siblings and I were taught to bake and cook at an early age. These early experiences and memories still drive me today with a desire to express and share part of myself with others when communing with food in the kitchen or over the dinner table.Second, is the creative process itself. I’m still inspired by the act of taking seemingly individual items and bringing them together to create a completely different thing. Collectively, it is greater than the sum of its parts.

What is your current obsession?
Currently, it’s not anything food -related. I am the father to a teenage girl and a 7 year-old boy. My obsession lately is spending time with my kid and family. Specifically, creating memories. I have fond memories of traveling and gatherings with family and extended family. I’m set on making these memories with my wife and children much to their enjoyment (and perhaps, a little to their annoyance as well).

Who is your hero?
My hero is the one who shows up every day. The one who is present and engaged in his/her life. The everyday man/woman who puts in time doing what’s necessary for those around them regardless of their personal struggles or problems. That person who sets a goal or dream and pursues it to want ever ends, to me that person is fearless.

Why I want to help?
The reason I want to help is similar to what I mentioned previously. To create memories that I can share with loved ones and to be engaged in my own life along a set of personal values. Lately, because of a desire to feel of use, or of service, to someone or something larger than myself? I would like to be involved with people or an organization that is doing exactly that. I suspect most people inhabit a small corner of their world and call this their life and live along lines that are, to one degree or another, expected of them. I don’t want to be like most people.



Ramandeep Anand

Ramandeep Anand

Location
New Dehli, India

Current Affiliation
Hilton / Executive Sous Chef

What is the best thing about being a chef?
The favorite part of being a chef? My favorite part is probably pleasing the guest and making people happy. Reaching them, touching them, and basically giving them an experience. It can be an experience like at Fleur de Lys, which is upscale, where you’re totally pampered. It can be an experience at the Burger Bar also, with people coming in for 30 or 45 minutes, but still they eat like the best burger. As a chef, over all these years and I’ve been doing it for so long, I’m still excited, even more excited today. If I reach that, if I achieve that, that’s the coolest part of being a chef.

What is your current obsession?
To achieve all my goals in time.

Who is your hero?
My grandpa.

Why I want to help?
There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as the expectation of something tomorrow. To succeed in the hospitality industry, as well as a new opportunity to break away from the cycle of crime and poverty, and as such, my attitude has changed so much. I want to use the hospitality industry as a platform to help the world become a better place for the future.



Rick Billings

Rick Billings

Location
Washington, DC

Current Affiliation
Think Food Group Pastry Chef

What is the best thing about being a chef?
The people I work with and having a job that challenges me daily.

What is your current obsession?
Knives

Who is your hero?
My dad

Why I want to help?
The opportunity to help those in need, and travel to somewhere that I might not have gone before.



Rock Harper

Rock Harper

Location
Washington, DC

Current Affiliation
Culinary Instructor at DC Central Kitchen

What is the best thing about being a chef?
My wife used to model. Take away my cooking and I’m certain she would have never looked my way.

What is your current obsession?
Smoke. Curing, flavoring, cooking – I am intrigued by smoke.

Who is your hero?
Carole Harper – my mother

Why I want to help?
Because I want to be a part of positive change for the world and I can’t think of easier way to do so than through my art and passion.



Ron Duprat

Ron Duprat

Location
Montauk, NY

Current Affiliation
Food and Beverage Director/Executive Chef for Sugar Bay Resort and Spa

What is the best thing about being a chef?
For me, it is about the loving, caring and seeing the excitement on people faces eating and enjoying your food, My Culinary Teammates, my stoves, knife work, and all my kitchen gadgets. The therapeutic moment of the kitchen at the highest- level. Gordon Ramsay of a busy service. Sampling good food every day. Farm to Table. Empowerment of local farmers.

What is your current obsession?
Teaching the next generation. Promoting Haitian cuisine and the Haitian experience from devastation to a gastronomic destination. Helping Haitian farmers to get the opportunity they deserve and for them to be recognized. Work with Louise Lorraine Voltaire on the Multicultural Health Fair in Haiti 2015.

Who is your hero?
Chef Patrick Clark and Chef Jefferson Evans

Why I want to help?
There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as the expectation of something tomorrow. To succeed in the hospitality industry, as well as a new opportunity to break away from the cycle of crime and poverty, and as such, my attitude has changed so much. I want to use the hospitality industry as a platform to help the world become a better place for the future.



Saif Rahman

Saif Rahman

Location
Raleigh, NC

Current Affiliation
Gramercy Catering Chef/Owner

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Being a Chef is more like being on a journey. An adventure where we work to eat, travel and create luxurious food from around globe. People give us their time and in return, we give them a memorable moment. As chefs, we are emotion creators; we create emotion in people’s heart through food, service, or just a smile. Being passionate about creating food with amazing techniques, ingredients, and flavors to make a wow factor moment is the greatest feeling for a chef. Being able to lead a team who believes in their leader, doing amazing community work, inspiring and being inspired by an ingredient or a person. Making family and friends proud.

What is your current obsession?
My current obsession is learning how to play acoustic guitar.

Who is your hero?
Mahatma Gandhi. He was a selfless man who dedicated his life for others. He reminded us that it was everyone’s privileged to give. He said we should thank the poor for giving us the opportunity to undo some of our karma.

Why I want to help?
I want to help simply because there are people who are in need of basic things to survive and knowing the fact that I can help change the future.



Sean Wheaton

Sean Wheaton

Location
Washington, DC

Current Affiliation
José Andrés Thinkfoodgroup / R&D Chef

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Just one thing? I get to play with my food. My job is the perfect meld of cook, teacher, and coach. Being part of the R&D team is a constant flow of projects, learning experiences, and teaching cooks not only skills and recipes, but new ways to think about food.

What is your current obsession?
At the moment I’m obsessing about my garden. It’s almost spring in DC and the small part of my small yard that actually gets sun requires a lot of planning to get the most out of it. Even if the squirrels get more of the tomatoes than I do, I enjoy watching it grow.

Who is your hero?
My grandmother. She taught me how to cook, how to make the most of what life gives you, and the value of sharing food and experiences with friends and family.

Why I want to help?
I was raised to share when I could, to host, help and care for people. My family's home had a constant parade of guests from all over the world and with each guest a memorable meal. No one in my family had a career in restaurants but at any gathering you would find aunts, uncles and cousins alike gathered in the kitchen and spilled out on the patio, each making a dish, laughing, or quietly commiserating. There were family reunions in Georgia with people sitting around in a circle in the yard telling stories and hand churning ten different flavors of ice cream. Food was always a focal point of sharing and caring for those around us, a way to say "I love you" and "thank you" as well.

I have made a career of putting my feelings on a plate. What’s next? How do I reach beyond those just in front of me and help build a sense of community? The only way I know how. I will cook, I will teach, and, in turn I will learn and then pass that learning along again.



Tamesha Warren

Tamesha Warren

Location
St. Peter, Barbados

Current Affiliation
13/59 Restaurant

What is the best thing about being a chef?
The ability to take raw ingredients and make them "come alive" with their various aromas and flavors. I love cooking for people and, food like music is a common denominator that brings people together.

What is your current obsession?
We are what we eat! I'm currently obsessed with the ability to go outside into my garden and pick eat and cook, or buying local. Amazing flavors.

Who is your hero?
More to come…

Why I want to help?
I believe everyone should know how to cook whether at a fine dining level, or home cooking. Knowing the importance of food and understanding the basics are vital. After making some changes to my eating habits, I want to show people you can eat healthy and, it be flavorful and fun!



Terrell Danley

Terrell Danley

Location
Washington, D.C.

Current Affiliation
Culinary Arts Instructor, D.C. Central Kitchen

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Sharing the LOVE! Either through consumption, or education.

What is your current obsession?
D.C. Central Kitchen. Everyday I get to do the two things that I love most:

1) Cooking
2) Teaching

I am completely ""actualized."

Who is your hero?
My father.

Why I want to help?
I want to help because I can.
There is an adage which states, ". . . Those who CAN'T, teach."
I believe that those who CAN, have a divine obligation to teach. So, here I am.



Tim Ma

Tim Ma

Location
Washington, D.C.

Current Affiliation
Tim Ma Restaurant Group

What is the best thing about being a chef?
One of the best things about being a chef is sharing your craft with other, being able to help the next generation of chefs as well as being able to be part of the community.

What is your current obsession?
My current obsession is learning more about my own heritage. My parents escaped mainland China during the communist take over. They migrated to Taiwan and eventually made it to Arkansas. I've been lucky to have had a strong family foundation and though I'm Chinese American I don't think I know enough of my heritage. I spend hours talking to my parents about food, culture, recipes, methods, cuisine techniques and implement it into my own style of cooking at my restaurants.

Who is your hero?
My hero is my wife. She has overcome so much. She grew up in a third world country with the rest of her family in very tough conditions. Yet, she is the dreamer out of the two of us and so very optimistic. There is nothing that stands in her way and for that she is my hero.

Why I want to help?
As a child of immigrants parents we struggled financially when I was young as did my wife. We would be honored to be able to give back and pay it forward.



Tommy Le

Tommy Le

Location
Washington, DC

Current Affiliation
Compass Group, Bon Appetite Management Company, United States Army National Guard / Cook

What is the best thing about being a chef?
The ability to put smiles on people’s faces when they just had an awesome meal. Nothing can change a person’s morale better than a nice hot nestling inside their stomach.

What is your current obsession?
It would be video recording comedy skits with my buddies. Everyone needs laughter in their lives and it is a great way to retain old memories where I can look back with my friends as we get older and laugh at how ridiculous we were.

Who is your hero?
My father. He taught me everything I needed to learn in life. Coming to America as a poor fisherman in Vietnam, he taught me that even with only 100 dollars in his pocket, you can become successful as long as you enjoy what you do and work hard on improving yourself and others around you.

Why I want to help?
Let’s face it, everyone needs food to survive and a great dish would even put a smile on the Grinch’s face. Also, I would love to teach people that the culinary profession isn’t just about food, but about the art of it. Everything that comes from the Chef’s hands and is put on the plate shows the Chef‘s creativity and personality.



Tony Marciante

Tony Marciante

Location
Bethesda, MD

Current Affiliation
Chef Tony’s Fresh Seafood Restaurant/Chef Owner

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Building a community around food and people is what gets me jazzed. Seeing people connect, relate and share cultures…really it’s probably what got me into this business in the first place. Plus most people like Chefs; we’re just a little cooler perhaps.

What is your current obsession?
Honestly, marketing my business and realizing that the better I do, I can impact more people with my food and restaurant knowledge. I want to be global with my mission… improving start-up restaurateurs’ success rate.

Who is your hero?
Honestly, marketing my business and realizing that the better I do, I can impact more people with my food and restaurant knowledge. I want to be global with my mission… improving start-up restaurateurs’ success rate.

Why I want to help?
We have so much global waste of food, and people who don’t know what to do with their food assets. A good friend is from West Africa and his stories of waste and misinformation, lack of information as it relates to his people…there is a lot of opportunity. I want to help as I can…



Yenny Moreno Sulbaran

Yenny Moreno Sulbaran

Location
Caracas, DC

Current Affiliation
Executive Chef/Owner FERNY Catering

What is the best thing about being a chef?
To combine flavors and scents to create memories that cannot be forgotten.

What is your current obsession?
To achieve all my goals in time.

Who is your hero?
My hero is my mother; she had a lot of limitations. She raised 6 kids; giving them morals and values. Thanks to that, we are all professionals and good people.

Why I want to help?
I want to help by giving my little grain of sand by way of teaching others all my knowledge so they can prosper and be happy. I would really like to live this experience with my partner Fernando.



Yolanda Banks

Yolanda Banks

Location
Dallas, TX

Current Affiliation
Director of Food & Nutrition, Prime Prep Academy

What is the best thing about being a chef?
Nurturing the soul through food. What could be more rewarding than that?

What is your current obsession?
I teach people how to cook healthy, but I’m obsessed with not being obsessed about what I eat. Moderation over deprivation! I’m so over all these people with their food intolerances; the majority of which are self-diagnosed. If people stopped eating processed foods they’d all be fine!

Who is your hero?
My grandmother, because she was a trailblazer. She made a huge impact not only in the lives of her loved ones, but also throughout her community. Michelle Obama.

Why I want to help?
It’s so important for me to use the gifts God gave me. Growing up as a child of a single mom, I know what it’s like to struggle. I think it’s so important to be able to overcome your circumstances and not be a product of your environment. To be able to share my story with others and have a positive impact on their lives through healthy food and nutrition is such a blessing.