Grads at Work Stories
Lauren Linkemyer Founder of Kinderwood Farms
Lauren learned by working at the age of 19 that she enjoyed hosting parties and making food for others. So she thought it would be fun to take a beginning culinary class. Her interest in cooking eventually became a passion, and she decided to become a full-time student in the program.
While Lauren knew she enjoyed making food, a few different speciality classes in the program ended up standing out and teaching her the most. She really loved the classes about sauce, wine, and most of all, catering.
The catering class inspired me to start a catering company. I liked making a food and hosting the party afterward. I enjoy nourishing people with good food and good service.
After graduating from the program in 2010, Lauren started a catering company (Kinderwood Catering). She takes part in a lot of volunteer and fundraising parties with the catering company, but her passion for food has recently grown into a completely new hobby in her life.
Lauren took a chicken-keeping class in the summer of 2015 and bought 16 chickens as a result, creating a farm of sustainable, organically grown products. Today, she's runs the farm with her partner, Mac, taking care of chickens, turkeys, rabbits, and goats.
Lauren says the CAHM program at Cabrillo ignited all of her food-related passions today.
Between the success stories, the teachers and their passion for good food and good service - it was such a huge inspiration. We're doing catering events when the time allows, lots of volunteer events, and showing people the farm whenever possible.
To this day, Lauren still returns to Cabrillo's CAHM program to learn, as she recently went back to take a class focused on cutting meat and sausage. She says this inspired her process for sustainable meat, cheese, and eggs.
The teachers care about what they're teaching. The passion is there, in encouraging and inspiring students to keep learning, growing, and searching for new and better ways to be a chef. Even if you mostly volunteer and host parties, it's still a way to be inspired.
Fanny González, District Manager, Republic National Distributing Company
"The Cabrillo College Wine Program has given me the tools that I needed to be successful in the wine industry. After my second wine class, I became a tasting room host for Wrights Station Winery up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and eventually, I became the lead host for Scheid Vineyards Tasting Room (Carmel By The Sea)."
"I've earned a certificate in wine studies which has helped me achieve my current position as district manager for Republic National Distributing Company where I lead a team in charge of wine and spirit sales for chain stores. "
Josh Martin Executive Chef, UCSC
Josh knew he had a passion for food and cooking from a young age. Growing up, he would make soups, pastas, burritos, and more for his family. He started working in restaurants at age 17 as a dishwasher and quickly moved up through the ranks. After seven years working in the industry he followed his passion by deciding to apply to a culinary program.
Josh looked at several different programs, but eventually decided to stay local and apply for Cabrillo's Food Services Management training program. He said what stood out to him the most during the program was the high caliber of instructors, the use of classic French techniques, and an advanced quality of Culinary curriculum.
You get what you put into things. I was able to take apply myself, really take it seriously, and I got a lot out of it.
After the program, Josh immersed himself in kitchen culture by working under well-known local chefs such as Robert Morris (Blacks Beach Cafe) and Karl Staub (Sanderlings). He also took on several exciting management opportunities outside of the kitchen – a Restaurant Catering Coordinator, Food and Beverage Director, and more before returning to his passion as a chef. Today he is the Executive Chef at UC Santa Cruz, overseeing culinary production with a talented team of campus chefs serving about 28,000 transactions per day.
Josh said the most important parts of Cabrillo's program were making lasting friendships, having valuable networking opportunities, and learning culinary techniques and theory.
It's a launching pad. Many chefs are using more modern techniques, but you'll see the classical European and French techniques in this program. Learning about the history of global foods is one of the things I enjoyed most – I still use classic techniques to this day.
Patti Le Day Owner of Chocolate Visions
Born and raised in San Francisco, Patti was passionate about baking since the age of 11. She began her career in the food service until an injury stopped her from continuing in the field. However, Patti's love for food was reborn when a friend took her to a chocolate class in Cabrillo's CAHM program. After some time, she signed up for the program as a full-time student.
Whether it's cutting strawberries, washing dishes, or taking out the garbage, you do everything at Cabrillo. So when we go out, we know a little bit more than students in other programs.
Patti began working in the candy shop Chocolate Visions after graduating in 2013. After about two and a half years, she bought the shop. Although she is currently the sole employee of the shop, she is creating a business plan and planning to hire students from the Cabrillo CAHM program.
Patti says the program changed her completely from her days as a young baker.
I was doing this before the Food Network became popular. I thought if I had a shop, it'd be a cute little cake shop with celebration desserts. Well, I took the artisan class and it blew my mind. Something happened, and it was all about the confections after that. Truffles, fudge. Everything is about the candy. I am so excited about making this stuff, and trying new recipes – I love this stuff.
According to Patti, she loved feeling a part of a larger community during her time in the Cabrillo program. But the best part of the program was working with passionate professors.
What the students accomplish matter to the professors. They care about the students. They don't just care about the students in the class, but the student body as a whole, and making a difference in your life. They care about the everything about you.