People helping people.
That's what Haley House is all about. Fostering relationships. Connecting. Sharing. Backgrounds and hierarchy melt away. We are all one. Moving toward a common goal. Mutual respect for all.
Haley House Bakery Café
What is your role at Haley House?
I was the start-up chef at Haley House and stayed in that role for 3 years. A year into this, a police officer named Donut began bringing 7th graders into the cafe after we closed. We agreed we would teach them how to cook in the context of learning about prejudice. We ask them - "Can you really say you hate onions? Have you taken in enough information yet to be sure of that judgement? Have you tasted caramelized onions?" And they begin to learn that their prejudices are awfully shaky. Then, eventually, I was teaching more and more until I was able to hand the chef job to someone else while I taught while writing a cookbook. It was then that Kelly Lake, Diana Limbach and I officially founded "Take Back the Kitchen" at Haley House. A part of Haley House that educates kids and adults on healthy eating and the food system. We teach over 250 kids and adults a year. I am still doing this now, with a gifted teacher, Laura Zientek.
What brought you to Haley House?
In a large nutshell, I was baking seasonal muffins in my apartment for a local coffee shop in Jamaica Plain, Ma. I had to stop so I could open a pizzeria. So the owner recommended I teach the muffins to a bakery called Haley House. And I did. The bakery was then in the South End soup kitchen, a wholesale bakery that trained people in transition. The head baker was quite knowledgeable so I asked him if they could make our new pizzeria’s pizza dough. He said yes and they have been supplying our pizzeria pizza dough week in and week out for ten years now. After 3 years of running the pizzeria, I grew bored and I tried to steal Christian Willauer, Haley House's bakery director, to open a new café with me. She told me that Haley House planned on opening a café in Dudley and although this was in a very risky depressed area she thought it could succeed, and after a couple of hours, she convinced me to come on board as chef. I had been taking the orange line for years and could see the sharp divide between Boston's black and white populations, and I was interested in fuzzing the line a bit.
Favorite dish at HHBC, Soup Kitchen or Noonday Farm?
The daily soups that are put out by the cooks at the cafe. I'm so impressed with how they come up with new soups all the time, with the agility of a chef who has far more training then they do. Also, the slaw with ginger dressing - my recipe of course!
Favorite downtime activity?
Shooting stuffed mice across the floor for my two cats, Flynn and Charlie. Also, watching documentaries and yoga.
Favorite or most memorable HH moment?
When Governor Patrick called me on my cell phone to tell me that my Green Gazpacho "rocked" and waited for me to list all of the ingredients before he would let me go.