Our Team

  • Yixi Ou

    Yixi Ou

    Generously Sponsored By:  IN NEED OF SPONSORSHIP
    Age, at time of Internship: 18
    CT Intern: Fall 2022
    Restaurant Host: Little Bee Baking, Chef Stacie
    Intern Story: When Yixi emigrated from China at age 14, her limited knowledge of English made it difficult to connect with others and feel confident speaking up. The one place Yixi trusted herself was the kitchen, where she prepared family dinners and immersed herself in foreign cultures through food.

    Yixi decided to apply her passion for food to start a health club at school and create community. Soon after, she resolved to pursue a college degree in nutrition. Eager to practice English in a professional setting and earn steady income for school expenses, Yixi applied to Sprouts Chef Training.

    Yixi would be thrilled to have your help funding her Chef Training internship at Little Bee Baking in San Francisco. Your donation helps Yixi forge a brighter career for herself.

  • Laura ReichardtAccountant
  • Maricel Mojares-MooreFundraising + Legal
  • Katherine GarlinghouseCommunications
  • Omar HarounFundraising + Scaling
  • Shenda GuCo-Founder + IT
  • Kate RogersStrategy + Operations
  • Melissa CookProgramming and Events Coordinator
  • Dino Smith

    Dino Smith

    Generously Sponsored By: JPMorgan Chase & Co.
    Age, at time of Internship: 18
    CT Intern: Summer 2022
    Restaurant Host: A16 – Rockridge, Chef de Cuisine Noah
    Wraparound Program: James Baldwin Academy – Seneca
    Intern Story: Dino’s passion for cooking started with a fascination for self-sufficiency and adventure. As a kid, Dino went on fishing trips with their father and learned how to cook with their grandmother and mother. These moments on the water and in the kitchen kept Dino grounded as their grandmother battled dementia and their mother struggled with substance abuse. And when Dino experienced bullying at school, cooking became a safe haven; Dino spent hours baking pastries, testing out new flavor profiles, and even creating their own barbeque sauces. 

    Eager to learn more and become financially independent, Dino applied to Sprouts’ Chef Training Program. With Sprouts A16 mentor chef, Dino will explore a career in the culinary arts. We can’t wait to see Dino leverage their passion and creativity to create happiness and financial autonomy.

    TESTIMONIALS

    • “The main reason I chose this internship was not only my passion for cooking but because of my mother. My mother passed away in January and while she struggled with addiction, which had made her give up on practically everything, the one thing she never stopped caring about was opening her own restaurant someday…working in the Chopbar and building bonds with everyone in that kitchen over the last month has made me feel closer to my mom than I ever have.”

      Chantel Brewster
      2021 Chef Training Intern at Chopbar
    • “I am proud to be a cook. I’m proud to have a job that pays medical and dental for my family. I’m proud to pay for my daughter’s Montessori school and school supplies, for our home. I’m proud every time I see my food sent out to a guest – or get a compliment from a diner. I’m proud to know my craft so well, to satisfy human’s most basic needs… I wanted to thank all of you for giving others the same chance I had to dedicate my life to something noble.”

      Chris Hey
      2013 Chef Training Intern at Locanda
    • “I remember after my first shift and the talk I had with Chef Thomas. In my opinion, I feel I learned more about both food and life lessons. I honestly feel that my favorite part of this program was just being able to be surrounded by supportive people who actually cared. ”

      Leslia Lapota
      2016 Chef Training Intern at One Market Restaurant
    • “Chef Spike along with everyone else in PlayT were very kind and accepting, teaching me that a kitchen environment is like a family.”

      Riawna Pope
      2017 Chef Training Intern at PlayT 
    • “Each day I learned new things that would only help me grow as a chef, as a person. Pican and Sprouts has made my life open to many different opportunities.”

      Bobby Pennington
      2018 Chef Training Intern at Pican
    • “Sprouts helped me get into the restaurant industry. At my internships, I started by being the pasta extruder all the way up to the hot line. I worked with lots of great people whom are still friends today. I wouldn’t be the chef I am today without them.”

      Chris Hey
      2013 Chef Training Intern at Locanda
    • “I was 8 years old and I was stealing cars with my friends, seeing a lot of things I shouldn’t have been seeing at my age. I really needed somebody to believe in me because this was really my only way out. I’m a young black male, and I’m trying to make it. I’ve been through a lot…and I’m trying to make it right.”

      Mikey Quintana
      Chef Training intern at 25Lusk
  • Raul Rodriguez-Diaz

    Raul Rodriguez-Diaz

    Generously Sponsored By: Sysco Natural
    Age, at time of Internship: 20
    CT Intern: Summer 2022
    Restaurant Host: Cocina del Corazon, Chef Enrique
    Wraparound Program: James Baldwin Academy – Seneca
    Intern Story:

    For as long as he can remember, Raul has loved cooking. He spent hours in the kitchen making meals with his family and learned new techniques from Gordon Ramsey’s cooking shows. While he struggled to find his place and passion at school, he always felt at home in the kitchen. 

    When he applied to Sprouts, Raul joked that he was, “no Chef Boyardee,” but expressed a strong desire to become a chef one day. Raul is starting his journey to a culinary career with the Cocina del Corazon crew where he is not only building out technical skills, but learning the entrepreneurial angle of starting a restaurant.  

    After his Sprouts Chef Training internship, he plans to attend culinary school at Laney College and create a community restaurant. 

    TESTIMONIALS

    • “The main reason I chose this internship was not only my passion for cooking but because of my mother. My mother passed away in January and while she struggled with addiction, which had made her give up on practically everything, the one thing she never stopped caring about was opening her own restaurant someday…working in the Chopbar and building bonds with everyone in that kitchen over the last month has made me feel closer to my mom than I ever have.”

      Chantel Brewster
      2021 Chef Training Intern at Chopbar
    • “I am proud to be a cook. I’m proud to have a job that pays medical and dental for my family. I’m proud to pay for my daughter’s Montessori school and school supplies, for our home. I’m proud every time I see my food sent out to a guest – or get a compliment from a diner. I’m proud to know my craft so well, to satisfy human’s most basic needs… I wanted to thank all of you for giving others the same chance I had to dedicate my life to something noble.”

      Chris Hey
      2013 Chef Training Intern at Locanda
    • “I remember after my first shift and the talk I had with Chef Thomas. In my opinion, I feel I learned more about both food and life lessons. I honestly feel that my favorite part of this program was just being able to be surrounded by supportive people who actually cared. ”

      Leslia Lapota
      2016 Chef Training Intern at One Market Restaurant
    • “Chef Spike along with everyone else in PlayT were very kind and accepting, teaching me that a kitchen environment is like a family.”

      Riawna Pope
      2017 Chef Training Intern at PlayT 
    • “Each day I learned new things that would only help me grow as a chef, as a person. Pican and Sprouts has made my life open to many different opportunities.”

      Bobby Pennington
      2018 Chef Training Intern at Pican
    • “Sprouts helped me get into the restaurant industry. At my internships, I started by being the pasta extruder all the way up to the hot line. I worked with lots of great people whom are still friends today. I wouldn’t be the chef I am today without them.”

      Chris Hey
      2013 Chef Training Intern at Locanda
    • “I was 8 years old and I was stealing cars with my friends, seeing a lot of things I shouldn’t have been seeing at my age. I really needed somebody to believe in me because this was really my only way out. I’m a young black male, and I’m trying to make it. I’ve been through a lot…and I’m trying to make it right.”

      Mikey Quintana
      Chef Training intern at 25Lusk