Food has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember.
My family has an extensive history with healthy food and understanding the important role that food plays in our daily lives. My Mom and my Aunt had their own macrobiotic cafe before I was around and their passion for food has deeply influenced me from the time I could first peer over the stove.
I was raised on four and a half acres with over eighteen gardens brimming with organic vegetables, edible flowers and medicinal herbs. I understood from a young age the importance of fresh ingredients and the flavor profiles of a broad spectrum of plants and herbs.
At age eleven, I started my own organic, vegan dog biscuit baking business in my local community named "Dancin' Dog". I had my products placed in a handful of local stores and was expanding before I decided to focus elsewhere (baseball cards!).
In college I studied broadcast-journalism and once again experienced success in a new field. My time in broadcast journalism led me to many amazing places, people and stories. However, I realized that I missed my connection to nature and decided to study global sustainability at UCLA.
Through my studies at UCLA, I was connected with a local farm in Irvine, California called Alegría Farms (alegriafresh.com). It was here that I was able to get my hands back into the soil and reconnect with my food source. This experience -coupled with my switch to a fully plant-based diet- inspired me to take my culinary skills to a new level. A year later, I hosted my first popup dinner.
After a couple years of events, pop ups and retreats, I entered the restaurant world as the Head Chef & Kitchen Manager at Baker Creek Restaurant in Southern Missouri. Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., supplies gardeners and farms all over the world with their 1,800+ varieties of heirloom seeds. Their onsite vegan restaurant utilized many of these varieties throughout the year to inspire restaurant guests to be more creative and bold with their food.
From there I moved to Traverse City, Michigan to be the Executive Chef for Goodwill Industries Food Programs. Unique to this area, Goodwill has a food rescue program that collect food from local farms, grocery stores and chains that would otherwise be thrown out and turn that into meals for various at risk populations in the community. This was an opportunity to see another side of the food industry, and understand the depth of the food waste issue.
And now I am back to Planted Cuisine and working on the future of food. I am filled with energy and optimism for a healthy food future. I started Planted Cuisine to change the food industry. My motivation comes from a place of wanting to create positive change and see the transformation of local communities.
While my approach and work is always grounded in compassion and consciousness, I am here to be bold and relentless in the pursuit of a regenerative food future.