ABOUT

STAFF

TED SMITH

Founder and President

Ted's extensive background in the restaurant business - combined with his early experience growing up on a fruit and vegetable farm in Michigan - serve as a solid foundation for his commitment to teaching kids to create healthy meals in an era of fast-food, childhood obesity and poor physical conditioning. Personal achievements, entrepreneurial skills, business leadership, mentoring and educational ventures have marked each step of his career and community contributions. Ted was on the boards of the Chicago and Illinois Restaurant Association (10 years as Chairman, Governmental Affairs Committee), Illinois Employers Association, Chicago chapters of the Young Presidents Organization and the World's Presidents Organization amongst others.

LARA RAJNINGER

Executive Director

Lara is an experienced nonprofit professional with a Masters in Nonprofit Administration and over twenty years of experience in the political, economic, legal and social environments of nonprofit organizations, ranging from community centers to museums to social justice organizations. She founded a nonprofit organization that taught low-income public high school students the importance of community service and leadership skills. In addition, she taught special education at the local elementary school. At KCL, she develops programs, collaborates with other organizations and forms partnerships, and oversees fundraising campaigns, marketing and communications.

ROSALIE ARCADI

Program Director

Rosalie has been actively involved in the Bay Area food scene for over 20 years; creating and directing galas and special events, kid’s cooking classes, corporate team building, celebrity chef dinners and other scrumptious occasions. As an educator, Rosalie brings her passion and knowledge of healthy cooking and nutrition into our classrooms. She strongly believes that these activities inspire and empowers students with knowledge, independence and responsibility for how and what they eat. Rosalie Arcadi has a BA from the State University of New York and earned her California Teaching Credential at Sonoma State University.

MANDY DOWNING

Instructor

Mandy is a passionate home cook who has promoted the benefits of healthy eating to kids and their families for years. She strongly believes kids' understanding of nutrition and healthy cooking empowers them to stimulate healthful eating habits at home. She contributed weekly recipe submissions to her school district newsletter to encourage healthy cooking habits for years. Mandy is honored to be an instructor for Kids Cooking for Life where she can continue to spread her knowledge within our community. 

KATE JOHNSON

Instructor 

Kate’s passion is to support others through nutrition, health and wellness while highlighting the importance of physical activity. Her experience ranges from teaching cooking to working with children and adults with disabilities. Kate stresses the positive effects of a healthy diet for growing bodies and strives to introduce new foods (and tastes and textures) to KCL's students.. 

KATHY MALANEY

Volunteer Instructor


Kathy’s work experience centered in the healthcare arena, ranging from large corporations to a nonprofit medical center. Recently retired, she has been a volunteer for other organizations that prepared organic healthy meals for those undergoing serious medical treatments. Kathy is a lifelong home chef and enjoys feeding her family and friends with fresh, wholesome food.  She believes that the Junior Chefs of Kids Cooking For Life bring great energy and interest in cooking and eating well but need some guidance!

BETH NILES

Instructor

Beth’s culinary adventures started in high school as an apprentice cheesemonger. Since then she has worked in various epicurean endeavors from restaurants, catering, winemaking and cheesemaking studies. She has raised three enthusiastic home cooks and is excited to continue applying her knowledge of plants, herbs and nutrition gained from many decades working in alternative health modalities. 

AHAVAH OBLAK

Grantwriting Consultant

After finishing her second masters degree from the University of Oregon in 2012, Ahavah began work in the nonprofit world as an event planner, executive director, grant writer and development director for organizations including WellMama, Holt International and Institutional Stove Solutions. In addition, she lived overseas for 10 years and is a teacher, organic gardener, herbalist and mother of four. She brings a strong background in grant writing, development work and a love of preparing and eating healthy foods to Kids Cooking for Life.  

VIVIAN RICHARDSON

Lead Instructor 

Instructor Vivian Richardson has extensive experience as both a cook and a teacher.  She has a certificate for secondary education (middle and high school) and a license for early childhood education (preschool).  She started and ran a prominent catering company in San Francisco for years, serving thousands of guests. Teaching kids about nutrition and how to cook healthy food for their bodies is the culmination of her skills.  Vivian adds that working with Kids Cooking For Life is a pleasure and a privilege. 

LORENZO RIOS

Instructor 

Lorenzo has been in the food service industry for decades. He is a graduate of L'Acadmie de Cuisine in Washington DC where he studied under Chef Gerard Pangaud, Jose Andres, Daniel Boulud and others. He has also taught at L'Academie as well as being a personal chef.  In addition, he has owned many businesses including a bed & breakfast and has also worked for Whole Foods Market. Lorenzo is currently the store director for Real Food Company in San Francisco.  He brings his love of cooking to KCL and hopes to share it with his students.

JUDITH SMITH

Instructor 

Judy is a former Special Education teacher with a passion for nutrition and for helping those who are trying to live independently. She believes that cooking with students in special education classes can be an opportunity to increase independence and simultaneously an opportunity to learn how to choose and make healthy food choices. Further, mastering these skills can help to facilitate transition from school to life in the "real world" and skills are best learned by doing. Judy currently teaches in the Special Day class at San Rafael High School.

JENNIFER VIGO

Instructor 

Jennifer  Vigo has been a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist for more than 25 years. She enjoys educating people of all ages how to nourish their bodies for life.  Her work has evolved through many settings and kitchens, including teaching and counseling in hospitals, schools, athletic clubs and private homes.   Her cooking skills focus on recipe development and nutrient content.  Jennifer has raised 3 daughters who follow in her passion for the wellness of our environment and personal health.  They raised bees, chickens and culinary gardens at home and in their community.  She is looking forward to cooking alongside of the energetic and diverse kids in the KCL program this year.  

SAERI YUK

Volunteer Instructor

Saeri has 20 years of experience in strategic development with start-up companies. With an economics degree from Wellesley College, she offered corporate strategies to a major retail bank and a publicly listed investment fund, where she managed a portfolio of young companies ready for strong growth.  She was a founding member of an early online city guide in the 90’s and led national marketing campaigns for an international media company. Aside from her dedication to healthy eating and home cooked meals with her family, her other passion is to utilize her private sector vigor in small to medium size non-profit companies who are ready to take their organization to another level.

LAUREN METZROTH

Volunteer

After retiring from a career in both the corporate and academic arenas, Lauren has turned her efforts towards a variety of community volunteer work.  She is an avid home chef who loves cooking healthy meals for family and friends and recently joined KCL as a teaching assistant.  She welcomes the opportunity to help educate young children about the benefits of preparing and eating “real” food and is excited about helping to further KCL’s mission as she is passionate about the need for children to develop healthy eating and exercise habits from an early age.  

CECE SILVER

Volunteer

Cooking has been one of Cece’s prime interest from her high school days. She spent 15 years as an Event Planner and assistant in food preparation for four catering companies located in Marin, Walnut Creek and Scottsdale, Arizona.  She enjoys baking and has taught classes in baking to youngsters 10 to16 years old.  She and her husband have traveled extensively and have enjoyed taking cooking classes in many countries around the world. 

KAT BRAEMAN

Advisor

After a career as a lawyer and a judge, Kat Braeman moved to the Bay area and is enthusiastic about Kids Cooking for Life and empowering children.  She encouraged her daughter to cook at age twelve when she became a vegetarian. Kat served on the national board of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Her interests include healthcare and she has designed several innovative programs. Kat is a leader in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin and has been active in professional and civic groups.

BIANCA KRAMER

Advisor

For over 15 years, Bianca has worked closely with founders and senior management to execute and manage the operational aspects of complex projects in the fashion, retail, non-profit and high-tech industries. She provides clients with information and insight that helps them make better business decisions and course correct if necessary. In 2011, she co-founded Hold for Jane, a B2B SasS start-up for luxury retailers.

She is an Executive Member of Fashion Group International and Founding Director of Kids Cooking for Life. 

AARON REAVEN

Advisor

At the Santa Rosa campus of New College of California, Aaron studied ecological literacy in public education with an emphasis on food related issues. He served as a nutrition, cooking, garden and environmental educator for nine years at Dover Elementary School, West Contra Costa Unified School District. There he taught the cooking and gardening program and also food-oriented courses for gifted and talented (GATE) students. Aaron has been a lead instructor with Kids Cooking for Life since its inception in June 2009 when he taught their very first summer camp.

FRAN SCHER

Advisor

Professor Emeritus, Economics, Montclair State University, Montclair,New Jersey.

JENNIFER SILVA

Advisor

Jennifer Silva is an experienced CEO and entrepreneur with a strong background in product development, digital marketing, ecommerce and marketplaces. She has served as the CEO for several successful businesses and founder of an online marketplace for parents to find summer camps and activities for their children. Jennifer is advising and coordinating the incorporation process as Kids Cooking For Life becomes an independent 501c3 organization.  She is a big believer in the mission of Kids Cooking For Life, and would like all kids to learn how to cook healthy food. 

TED SMITH

Founder and President

Ted's extensive background in the restaurant business - combined with his early experience growing up on a fruit and vegetable farm in Michigan - serve as a solid foundation for his commitment to teaching kids to create healthy meals in an era of fast-food, childhood obesity and poor physical conditioning. Personal achievements, entrepreneurial skills, business leadership, mentoring and educational ventures have marked each step of his career and community contributions. Ted was on the boards of the Chicago and Illinois Restaurant Association (10 years as Chairman, Governmental Affairs Committee), Illinois Employers Association, Chicago chapters of the Young Presidents Organization and the World's Presidents Organization amongst others.

LARA RAJNINGER

Executive Director

Lara is an experienced nonprofit professional with a Masters in Nonprofit Administration and over twenty years of experience in the political, economic, legal and social environments of nonprofit organizations, ranging from community centers to museums to social justice organizations. She founded a nonprofit organization that taught low-income public high school students the importance of community service and leadership skills. In addition, she taught special education at the local elementary school. At KCL, she develops programs, collaborates with other organizations and forms partnerships, and oversees fundraising campaigns, marketing and communications.

ROSALIE ARCADI

Program Director

Rosalie has been actively involved in the Bay Area food scene for over 20 years; creating and directing galas and special events, kid’s cooking classes, corporate team building, celebrity chef dinners and other scrumptious occasions. As an educator, Rosalie brings her passion and knowledge of healthy cooking and nutrition into our classrooms. She strongly believes that these activities inspire and empowers students with knowledge, independence and responsibility for how and what they eat. Rosalie Arcadi has a BA from the State University of New York and earned her California Teaching Credential at Sonoma State University.

MANDY DOWNING

Instructor

Mandy is a passionate home cook who has promoted the benefits of healthy eating to kids and their families for years. She strongly believes kids' understanding of nutrition and healthy cooking empowers them to stimulate healthful eating habits at home. She contributed weekly recipe submissions to her school district newsletter to encourage healthy cooking habits for years. Mandy is honored to be an instructor for Kids Cooking for Life where she can continue to spread her knowledge within our community. 

KATE JOHNSON

Instructor 

Kate’s passion is to support others through nutrition, health and wellness while highlighting the importance of physical activity. Her experience ranges from teaching cooking to working with children and adults with disabilities. Kate stresses the positive effects of a healthy diet for growing bodies and strives to introduce new foods (and tastes and textures) to KCL's students.. 

KATHY MALANEY

Volunteer Instructor


Kathy’s work experience centered in the healthcare arena, ranging from large corporations to a nonprofit medical center. Recently retired, she has been a volunteer for other organizations that prepared organic healthy meals for those undergoing serious medical treatments. Kathy is a lifelong home chef and enjoys feeding her family and friends with fresh, wholesome food.  She believes that the Junior Chefs of Kids Cooking For Life bring great energy and interest in cooking and eating well but need some guidance!

BETH NILES

Instructor

Beth’s culinary adventures started in high school as an apprentice cheesemonger. Since then she has worked in various epicurean endeavors from restaurants, catering, winemaking and cheesemaking studies. She has raised three enthusiastic home cooks and is excited to continue applying her knowledge of plants, herbs and nutrition gained from many decades working in alternative health modalities. 

AHAVAH OBLAK

Grantwriting Consultant

After finishing her second masters degree from the University of Oregon in 2012, Ahavah began work in the nonprofit world as an event planner, executive director, grant writer and development director for organizations including WellMama, Holt International and Institutional Stove Solutions. In addition, she lived overseas for 10 years and is a teacher, organic gardener, herbalist and mother of four. She brings a strong background in grant writing, development work and a love of preparing and eating healthy foods to Kids Cooking for Life.  

VIVIAN RICHARDSON

Lead Instructor 

Instructor Vivian Richardson has extensive experience as both a cook and a teacher.  She has a certificate for secondary education (middle and high school) and a license for early childhood education (preschool).  She started and ran a prominent catering company in San Francisco for years, serving thousands of guests. Teaching kids about nutrition and how to cook healthy food for their bodies is the culmination of her skills.  Vivian adds that working with Kids Cooking For Life is a pleasure and a privilege. 

LORENZO RIOS

Instructor 

Lorenzo has been in the food service industry for decades. He is a graduate of L'Acadmie de Cuisine in Washington DC where he studied under Chef Gerard Pangaud, Jose Andres, Daniel Boulud and others. He has also taught at L'Academie as well as being a personal chef.  In addition, he has owned many businesses including a bed & breakfast and has also worked for Whole Foods Market. Lorenzo is currently the store director for Real Food Company in San Francisco.  He brings his love of cooking to KCL and hopes to share it with his students.

JUDITH SMITH

Instructor 

Judy is a former Special Education teacher with a passion for nutrition and for helping those who are trying to live independently. She believes that cooking with students in special education classes can be an opportunity to increase independence and simultaneously an opportunity to learn how to choose and make healthy food choices. Further, mastering these skills can help to facilitate transition from school to life in the "real world" and skills are best learned by doing. Judy currently teaches in the Special Day class at San Rafael High School.

JENNIFER VIGO

Instructor 

Jennifer  Vigo has been a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist for more than 25 years. She enjoys educating people of all ages how to nourish their bodies for life.  Her work has evolved through many settings and kitchens, including teaching and counseling in hospitals, schools, athletic clubs and private homes.   Her cooking skills focus on recipe development and nutrient content.  Jennifer has raised 3 daughters who follow in her passion for the wellness of our environment and personal health.  They raised bees, chickens and culinary gardens at home and in their community.  She is looking forward to cooking alongside of the energetic and diverse kids in the KCL program this year.  

SAERI YUK

Volunteer Instructor

Saeri has 20 years of experience in strategic development with start-up companies. With an economics degree from Wellesley College, she offered corporate strategies to a major retail bank and a publicly listed investment fund, where she managed a portfolio of young companies ready for strong growth.  She was a founding member of an early online city guide in the 90’s and led national marketing campaigns for an international media company. Aside from her dedication to healthy eating and home cooked meals with her family, her other passion is to utilize her private sector vigor in small to medium size non-profit companies who are ready to take their organization to another level.

LAUREN METZROTH

Volunteer

After retiring from a career in both the corporate and academic arenas, Lauren has turned her efforts towards a variety of community volunteer work.  She is an avid home chef who loves cooking healthy meals for family and friends and recently joined KCL as a teaching assistant.  She welcomes the opportunity to help educate young children about the benefits of preparing and eating “real” food and is excited about helping to further KCL’s mission as she is passionate about the need for children to develop healthy eating and exercise habits from an early age.  

CECE SILVER

Volunteer

Cooking has been one of Cece’s prime interest from her high school days. She spent 15 years as an Event Planner and assistant in food preparation for four catering companies located in Marin, Walnut Creek and Scottsdale, Arizona.  She enjoys baking and has taught classes in baking to youngsters 10 to16 years old.  She and her husband have traveled extensively and have enjoyed taking cooking classes in many countries around the world. 

KAT BRAEMAN

Advisor

After a career as a lawyer and a judge, Kat Braeman moved to the Bay area and is enthusiastic about Kids Cooking for Life and empowering children.  She encouraged her daughter to cook at age twelve when she became a vegetarian. Kat served on the national board of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Her interests include healthcare and she has designed several innovative programs. Kat is a leader in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin and has been active in professional and civic groups.

BIANCA KRAMER

Advisor

For over 15 years, Bianca has worked closely with founders and senior management to execute and manage the operational aspects of complex projects in the fashion, retail, non-profit and high-tech industries. She provides clients with information and insight that helps them make better business decisions and course correct if necessary. In 2011, she co-founded Hold for Jane, a B2B SasS start-up for luxury retailers.

She is an Executive Member of Fashion Group International and Founding Director of Kids Cooking for Life. 

AARON REAVEN

Advisor

At the Santa Rosa campus of New College of California, Aaron studied ecological literacy in public education with an emphasis on food related issues. He served as a nutrition, cooking, garden and environmental educator for nine years at Dover Elementary School, West Contra Costa Unified School District. There he taught the cooking and gardening program and also food-oriented courses for gifted and talented (GATE) students. Aaron has been a lead instructor with Kids Cooking for Life since its inception in June 2009 when he taught their very first summer camp.

FRAN SCHER

Advisor

Professor Emeritus, Economics, Montclair State University, Montclair,New Jersey.

JENNIFER SILVA

Advisor

Jennifer Silva is an experienced CEO and entrepreneur with a strong background in product development, digital marketing, ecommerce and marketplaces. She has served as the CEO for several successful businesses and founder of an online marketplace for parents to find summer camps and activities for their children. Jennifer is advising and coordinating the incorporation process as Kids Cooking For Life becomes an independent 501c3 organization.  She is a big believer in the mission of Kids Cooking For Life, and would like all kids to learn how to cook healthy food. 

CONTACT US

P.O. Box 94

Larkspur, CA 94977

 

1-415-637-1414

info@kidscookingforlife.org

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Photos courtesy of

Tom Rohrer Photography

Kids Cooking for Life is a fiscally sponsored project of MarinLink, a California nonprofit corporation exempt from federal tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service #20-0879422.

© 2019 Kids Cooking for Life.