Cook. Explore. Celebrate.


Vanessa Silva, Founder & Director

Vanessa’s involvement with food started early, in her grandmother’s kitchen back in Brazil, making aioli and shaping gnocchi by hand. Vanessa went on to get a degree in Food Engineering and later on a Masters in Holistic Nutrition. Vanessa’s passion for food and nutrition stems from the core beliefs that it bridges us as individuals to community and environment, that it is a gift and medicine, and that it can be a rooting element to our health. These beliefs - and the joy that comes with them - are her motivation to share her work with students, friends and family.

Eliza Martin, Head Chef & Director of Culinary Education

Eliza has worked in restaurants for over 10 years, her culinary adventures igniting in New York City. There, she studied at the Institute of Culinary Education and worked at the Rachael Ray Show, Saveur Magazine, and multiple high-end catering companies and restaurants. Sponsored by the James Beard Foundation, she was brought to Chicago to serve as their first of many Women in Culinary Leadership. She worked in Indian and Creole restaurants, then, longing to educate, launched her own catering company and aqua ponic farming company. Her love of education has carried her to where she is today - working as a children's culinary educator!

Jessie Welsh, Director of Events & Culinary Educator

From her own birthday parties to family celebrations, Jessie grew up loving to plan events. After completing her B.S. in Business at UC Berkeley, she followed her passion for transforming big ideas into reality to LinkedIn where she planned corporate, training, and social impact events. Concurrently, she found ways to exercise her passion for working with youth from serving as an advocate for youth in foster care to guiding youth kayaking trips across the Bay. Today, she’s ecstatic to have found such a purpose-driven team that enables her to blend these two worlds - event planning and youth empowerment.

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