Our Team

  • 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
  • 2022 Summer Intern Profiles – Coming Soon!

    Stay tuned for stories!

    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
  • Johanna Maria Martinez Palacios

    Johanna Maria Martinez Palacios

    Generously Sponsored By: Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Law
    Age, at time of Internship: 15
    CT Intern: Summer 2022
    Restaurant Host: alaMar, Chef Juan
    Wraparound Program: OUSD
    Intern Story: Johanna’s passion for cooking started with helping their grandmother bake and decorate wedding cakes. This combination of food, art, and love helped Johanna overcome the loss of their father. It helped Johanna stay strong when they faced bullying at school.

    Johanna was so inspired by the work and the feeling of accomplishment, they started working at a pastry shop. The work was so fulfilling that Johanna applied to Sprouts’ Chef Training Program to formalize their training and pursue a long-term career in the culinary arts.

    Both Johanna and their alaMar chef mentor are excited to see where Johanna’s passion and talent will lead them.

    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
  • Vicky Gutierrez-Ramirez

    Vicky Gutierrez-Ramirez

    Generously Sponsored By: IN NEED OF SPONSORSHIP
    Age, at time of Internship: 16
    CT Intern: Summer 2022
    Restaurant Host: Sobre Mesa, Chef Ronnie
    Wraparound Program: OUSD
    Intern Story: For Vicky, cooking represents family. Vicky remembers waiting impatiently for their grandfather to come home to cook with them and the excitement when their uncle asked for help creating a new recipe. 

    These memories nourished Vicky when their mother started suffering from cardiac arrests and their uncle (who was a father figure to Vicky) passed away. Cooking was a steadying exercise that kept them going. 

    At their host restaurant Sobre Mesa, Vicky plans to develop this passion for cooking into a sustainable career. Vicky seeks a community sponsor so that she can start her chef training internship and develop advanced culinary skills. With the skill she’ll gain during her professional internship, Vicky plans to attend culinary school and open a family restaurant to continue the tradition of love, family, and food.

    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
  • Sandra Montejo

    Sandra Montejo

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    Generously Sponsored By: Whole Foods Market
    Age, at time of Internship: 16
    CT Intern: Summer 2022
    Restaurant Host: Osito, Chef Seth
    Wraparound Program: SFUSD
    Intern Story: Growing up in an immigrant family, Sandra felt disconnected from her relatives in El Salvador and lacked basic support. Lodging and income were challenging to secure, and Sandra’s family overcame countless obstacles to make ends meet. 

    Despite the difficulties, Sandra always stayed positive and curious. Although she had limited resources, she learned how to cook and bring joy to her family. Sandra dreams of having a career that allows her to comfortably feed and support her loved ones. She is confident that Sprouts’ Chef Training program will allow her to combine her love for cooking and need for financial autonomy. 

    We can’t wait to see Sandra become a financially independent woman and culinary artist under the guidance of her mentor chef and culinary family at Osito SF.

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    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
  • Keisha WigganAccountant
  • Kathy Dao

    Kathy Dao

    Generously Sponsored By: Zungleboo
    Age, at time of Internship: 19
    CT Intern: Summer 2022
    Restaurant Host: Boulevard, Chef Dana
    Wraparound Program: Enterprise for Youth
    Intern Story:  Kathy grew up in the crime-ridden neighborhood of the Tenderloin in San Francisco. Her stark surroundings motivated her to be the best that she could be. She dove into schoolwork, held down multiple jobs, and helped support her family. No matter how busy she was, however, Kathy always made time for cooking with her mother and helping others around her.

    This love for the culinary arts and community inspired her to apply for Sprouts Chef Training program and pursue a career as a chef.  Sprouts Chef Mentor Dana of Boulevard is volunteering her time to guide Kathy in her culinary journey.

    Kathy plans to develop her skills and land a culinary job so that she can provide for her family and contribute meaningfully to her community.

    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
  • Janai Perry

    Janai Perry

    Generously Sponsored By: IN NEED OF SPONSORSHIP
    Age, at time of Internship: 17
    CIT Intern: Summer 2022
    Restaurant Host: Chopbar, Chef Lev
    Wraparound Program: Coliseum College Prep Academy (CCPA) 
    Intern’s Story: Some of Janai’s earliest memories are of her grandmother’s love-infused cooking. After being sent to a foster home, however, mealtime changed abruptly from an expression of love to an impersonal obligation.

    Struggling with the lack of community and opportunity in the foster care system, Janai dove into cooking. With the dream of owning her own restaurant and providing jobs for others in need, she worked hard to graduate early and applied to Sprouts Chef Training program.

    Today she hopes to find a community sponsor to fund her professional chef training at Sprouts and cheerlead her on as she lands her first culinary job and becomes financially independent. 

    SEEKING SPONSORSHIP: We invite you to sponsor Janai and give her the opportunity to train up and secure a future for herself. Sponsorship: 12 monthly payments of $450.

    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
  • Virginia Taylor

    Sprouts Board of Advisors

    Headshot Formatted for Web_Virginia Taylor_Board of Advisors

    Virginia Taylor