Born in Canada into a household with a German mother and Spanish father, the smells of sauerkraut and paella were commonplace.  My curiosity for unusual food combinations was further piqued once my older sister took over the stoves and started experimenting with Asian and Mexican flavors.

Once it became my turn to start cooking at the age of 12, I was hooked.  Whether I was adding frozen veggies to my 2 minute noodles, making toasted waffle sandwiches or putting hot dogs in my Kraft Dinner (who knew that Mac’n’Cheese would have such a revival 30 years later), food culture had cemented itself in my life as a permanent fixture.

Naturally the planting of such seeds so early in my life lead me to a career as a chef and I spent many years working and eating my way around the planet.  Fortunately, I have abandoned the processed junk and now specialize in vegetarian cuisine and cooking with whole foods.

When I was approached by CERES to be a trainer for the Food Producer Incubator Program, I embraced the chance.  As a child of migrant parents, I understand first hand some of the challenges that new arrivals face in terms of employment barriers.  The aim of this program is for students to meet and work with hospitality professionals who train and mentor; learn hospitality and business skills; and create a food product to sell and test at the CERES market.  I am hopeful that the opportunities to network with industry insiders will create confidence and pathways to employment for the students.

In addition to being a hospitality trainer at CERES, I’m a sous chef for ASRC Catering, a social enterprise run by the Asylum Seeker Resource Center.