STAFF

SAERI YUK

President

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.

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 Kids Cooking for Life, she develops programs, collaborates with other organizations and forms partnerships, and oversees fundraising campaigns, marketing and communications.

BETH NILES

Instructor & Education Committee Chair

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. 

CECILE CHACONAS

Instructor

Cecile is a physical therapist and healthy living advocate with a passion for helping others be the healthiest they can be. While she has worked mainly with adults in her career, she is delighted to have the chance to work with children and has raised two of her own who love cooking! She is excited to be on board to help deliver meal kits and teach kids how to prepare them.  When not at work, you may find her cooking, gardening, hiking, traveling, or hanging out with friends and family.

DANA HAYSE

Instructor & KCL Health Specialist 

Dana is passionate about empowering people to lead healthy lives through good nutrition and physical activity.  She is a former Associate Professor of Epidemiology at UCSF with a background in osteoporosis, heart disease, successful aging, and obesity research.  As an epidemiologist studying chronic disease, Dana recognized the extensive impact that our food choices have on our health.  She continues her work as a nutrition educator, working with kids of all ages from under resourced communities, sharing her love of cooking and healthy eating, the power of healthy food choices, and demonstrating that healthy food tastes good! You can find Dana in her kitchen or out running and hiking and biking the trails of the Bay Area, with her husband and three daughters, all of whom love to cook. Dana has a degree in Human Biology from Stanford University, a Masters in Epidemiology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley.  She has a certificate in Integrative Health from the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine.  

JENNIFER VIGO

Instructor & KCL Nutritionist

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 Kids Cooking for Life program this year.  

LAUREN BRYSON

Instructor & KCL Nutritionist

With a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Lewis & Clark College and a professional background in the non-profit sector, Lauren’s underlying mission in life has always been to help people. Lauren has a Nutrition Consultant Certification from Bauman College and leads a holistic lifestyle. She discovered the world of holistic healing during her own personal health crisis and has first hand experience with healing imbalances within the body using nutrition and lifestyle practices. Laurens goal as a KCL teacher is to educate and empower kids how to cook using real food in an authentic and fun way. You can find her hiking, traveling or cooking on the weekends with family and friends. 

LAUREN METZROTH

Recipe Specialist

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 Kids Cooking for Life 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 Kids Cooking for Life’s mission as she is passionate about the need for children to develop healthy eating and exercise habits from an early age.  

ROSALIE ARCADI

Instructor

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.

TOMMY VARGAS

Instructor

Tommy was fortunate to be born into a Mexican family that loves to cook and eat, where all family traditions were centered around a great meal and their best times were and still are in the kitchen. He entered the restaurant business straight out of junior college and worked his way up, from a prep cook cleaning squid to head chef. Tommy was greatly influenced by extensive travels throughout the various culinary  rich regions of Mexico and France and he enjoyed spending hours in the open markets marveling at all the different ingredients consumed by different cultures.  He believes that food bridges the gap between races, ethnicities, languages, political parties and anything else that tends to divide us.  Tommy teaches our junior chefs that good food, made with care, love and  passion makes for an incredibly delicious and rich shared experience.

VIVIAN RICHARDSON

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. 

HANNAH YURKE

Communications Manager

Ronnie Sharpe

Design and IT Manager  

Ronnie is a seasoned technology and marketing consultant with over twenty years of experience working with global corporations. She now devotes her time and skills to helping small businesses and non-profit organizations focused primarily on animals, children, mental health, cancer charities, community and the arts. She is the marketing director for the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, the creative force behind Ronnie’s Awesome List, and sits on the board of a variety of Bay Area non-profits. She taught gardening at the local elementary school and ran a 4H program further driving her deep passion to support the Kids Cooking for Life mission.