Mindy has been in the field of education for more than 20 years, teaching, writing curriculum design, and serving as a principal. She loves working with kids and they love working with her. She came up with the idea of an educational cooking camp when she observed how much children in the Temple Israel Religious School enjoyed cooking. When she offered up explanations about a food's origins and the customs behind preparing the food, she watched the children's engagement grow.
"Cooking and eating takes on a different meaning when you understand the back story," said Mindy. "Learning a little bit about a country, then preparing that country's food truly enriches the cooking lesson, and makes the eating experience that much more delicious!"
Sonja’s skills and talents are many and diverse. The majority of her finance and human resource experiences has been in the medical field where she worked for Center for Breast Health, Health Care Compliance Association and Evangelical Community Hospital as a manager, customer service representative and analytical problem solver. With a BS in Business Administration, she also worked in Human Resources as a Compensation Specialist. In a past life (wink) Sonja attended culinary school and worked as a chef for many years. Off hours Sonja spends her time hiking, baking and spending time with a large family. She considers herself a people person and is excited to work with the staff and chef educators at Cooking Round the World!
Ariel is a mom with a variety of talents and interests. She has always been fascinated by different cultures and their different cuisines. As a young girl, she was introduced to many different types of food, tasting and cooking Ethiopian, Hungarian, Japanese, Israeli, and Italian dishes.
Chelsea grew up down in the central valley, north of Bakersfield. Growing up in the central valley she had the great privilege of experiencing being able to walk out to orchards and pick vine ripe grapes, the best tasting oranges, and lemons. She moved to the bay area 5 yrs ago to further her education. She enjoys a faster paced life style and all the different cultures not to mention all the new food ! She has always had a passion for food , growing up in the kitchen watching and learning from her grandmothers, great grand mother, grandfather, mother and cousins. She enjoys the outdoors and nature. If everyone smiled a little more the world would be a brighter place.
Jonna is a Martinez ca native born into a family of butchers and caterers. She is a former equestrienne and athlete but even after all the glitz and glam of horse showing, tournaments and exhibitions, her heart remained true to the family's roots! She has a great passion for food, children and instruction!
Meredith's journey with expanding her palette began in her mid-twenties. I was 22 years old the first time I tried an avocado! I truly believe it's never too late to try new things and I have seen how food has a way of opening doors and expanding other aspects of enjoying life. I love trying new foods and flavor combinations that I never thought would work together. I first started traveling abroad to Europe and then to South East Asia where I visited some amazing countries and made wonderful friendships. Most recently, I have been exploring the United States and learning about the unique lands and cultures that surround me.
Born in Richmond Virginia in a large, multi-cultural southern family, Stefen was taught at a very young age by her elders how to eat from seeds cultivated by nature and nourished by love. To carry on this tradition she spreads her passion and education about food, health and wellness through parents and their children. She is an avid yoga enthusiast who spends her self-care time exploring farmers markets, journaling new recipes, and talking her way into Chef Kitchens on her global travels. In 2010, she became an official Navy wife and moved to San Diego, CA with her husband and their four children. While obtaining her Certification as an Integrative Nutrition Coach, she has worked in many community organizations, including the San Diego Unified School district, to educate children about food and health awareness. She has led multiple groups on home cooking techniques and recipe refinement. As well as, been a keynote speaker at various workshops and events that support her mission of “educating families through the power of home cooking.” Home is where the heart is and Stefen is thrilled to call Cooking Round the World her new home.
Erin is a Bay Area native. She has traveled abroad to several different countries and domestically to dozens of states. Her grandparents made sure she was “cultured” and had the opportunity to experience different ethnicities, food, and ways of living. From an early age she was encouraged to “find her way around the kitchen”. Her culinary curiosity grew along with her Home Chef skills. After college she became a teacher. She found a teaching home at Bright Horizons in San Francisco, where she taught at various centers over a 5year period. Since then she has embraced her passion for food and decided to jump into the kitchen so to speak. Here at Cooking Round the World She gets to have the best of both worlds!
Stephanie is a retired Child-Care Provider. She has two daughters a husband and a kitten. She loves cooking and children. She is excited to hop back in the work place and begin her new adventure with Cooking Round the World.
Rose is a student at UCLA Undergrad, studying ceramics and specializing in sculpture and glaze. She says handling clay is a lot like cooking and she loves to cook. She is excited to be here in the Bay area and to further her cooking experience with Cooking Round the World.
Justin was born and raised in New Jersey, he started cooking at the age of 5. Cooking became his happy place he began cooking every night and found this is where his passion was. He attended the Culinary Institute of America. Justin says it was his middle school Culinary Arts teacher that mentored him and why he in the field today. He is excited to be working with Cooking Round the World and hopes to inspire the next generation of young chefs.
Nicole was a Home Daycare Provider for 16 years. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Arts and Humanities. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership. Nicole is the Co-owner of Nix Kitchen Creations. She enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her family.
Matthias Leue is a fine art landscape photographer and travel story writer. He grew up moving several times back and forth between the United States and his native Germany. Born in Köln, Germany, he also lived in Philadelphia, Frankfurt, Germany, on the Monterey Peninsula, and various places in the San Francisco Bay Area. He enjoys cooking for family and friends and has taught both his sons how to cook when they were young - one of whom is now a professional chef, the other is a culinary innovator. He always gets giddy when his youngest son comes to visit and sharpens his kitchen knives, and when his oldest son comes to make the best omelettes ever. He has a cat who comprehends three languages - the third language however being limited to the word pescado, which seems to suffice for Mr. trilingual.
Olivia was born in Massachusetts where she grew up close to family and friends who introduced her to many types of foods and traditions. Her mother often cooked fresh foods for her and her siblings. Living by the ocean and farms, there was inspiration to make dishes using seafood and fresh vegetables. Olivia is also an artist, so she loves colorful foods with thoughtful and playful plating. Traveling a lot growing up opened Olivia’s palette and world to new cultures and cuisines. She has been to India, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and other places that add to her life experiences.
Tamika is a private and upcoming Chef with her own small business. Tamika has worked with children all over the city such as Berkley, Richmond and San Francisco. Tamika loves Cooking and is very passionate about food. She is happy to join the Cooking Round the World Family and can’t wait to get in the kitchen.
Originally from the East Coast, Stacey was taught about the importance of nourishing the body with food early on. Being taught these values as a child, Stacey grew up to become a health enthusiast, personal trainer and nutritional consultant. She is known for making healthy food taste indulgent, and loves showing educating everyone about the different kinds of food. From Kangaroo in Australia to Durian in Malaysia, she has traveled all over the world, and loves to sample flavors and traditions of new countries. Stacey is excited to be apart of Cooking Round the World and be able to share her knowledge of cooking and culture!
Kali has been a teacher at It Takes A Village Child Care for over 10years, although the establishment has closed she still works hand in hand with the children. Kali has a catering business that she has ran for over 10 years. Since continuing her education in Early Childhood Development and Social Behavioral Science she has put her catering business on the back burner. She is excited to be working with children while incorporating her passion for food.
Cooking for friends and family has always been one of Mary’s favorite pastimes. Exploring new cultures comes in as a close second. Being able to share these two with kids through cooking classes is a dream come true. Watching kids experience an exotic flavor in a food they have prepared themselves for the first time never gets old!
Jean loves children and is interested in doing more purposeful work. Teaching children different cultures and stories all while exploring the country in the kitchen is a life changing experience that she can’t wait to extent to the children. She has a passion for teaching Kimchi.
Michelle started cooking at the age of 7 and fell in love with it. She waited tables for 3yrs and in this time she always found herself in the kitchen. Deciding to become a chef she attended California Culinary Academy and has been in the kitchen sharing her love of food ever since. Michelle loves kids and can’t wait to hop in the kitchen and start this new journey with Cooking Round the World.
Valeska grew up in Spain, in a farming community where her family ate what was harvested! Going to the store to purchase food was unheard of. She’s a Spanish Language Teacher educator. Her passion is to teach cooking and encourage children to explore, discover and experience culinary cuisine from around the world to make their world bigger, varied and enjoyable. When not in the kitchen, you can find Valeska in her garden or traveling!
Laura was born and raised in Los Angeles and grew up cooking with her grandmother and aunt. Laura moved to San Francisco 13 years ago to attend art school and majored in Community Arts with a focus in art education and painting and drawing. Laura has been working as a teaching artist for the past 10 years. Laura loves to be creative and work with students to develop their personal creative process. She is excited to join our team here at Cooking Round the World.
Heather was born in Washington, D.C., the capital of our nation’s melting pot. Her major love for food began with the best birthday present her childhood self could desire: an edible garden! She loves to explore the cycle of food from farm to table and is a huge advocate for experiential education. Now pursuing a degree in Environmental Sustainability, she previously took gap years learning the land and growing many different foods in many different climates. Some past projects include volunteering to counsel summer camps at orphanages, and establishing community gardens in Nicaragua and Haiti- also designing permaculture on the Big Island of Hawaii while facilitating family friendly eco workshops. When she isn’t busy in the books, the garden, or the kitchen, you’ll probably find her in a yoga pose or enjoying some the sea breeze. Her love for bringing the community together shines through in all of her work.
Karly is a native Californian who grew up in Pacific Palisades and now resides in Cardiff by the Sea. Among many hobbies, Karly enjoys working out, playing pickle ball, walking with her dog Tanner, and skiing at Mammoth Mountain. Her passion for food and cooking/baking began at a young age as she prepared meals and desserts for her family. Karly continues this passion today, preparing meals for select clients and her husband almost every day of the week. Together with her associates degree in child development and her experience owning a preschool and baking business, Karly hopes to share her experiences and enlighten young minds in the world of food and cooking!