And Sage is what we needed if my vision was going to be a reality. I needed two more board members that could help me define my intent, because that is the first thing you need to do is define what you are trying to achieve. Not only did I need definition, but I also needed translation! Everyone that has met me will tell you that sometimes I get off point! (oh a butterfly!….)
I first looked to Jan Schwartz Fonger. Jan and I worked on several projects and had a riot on each one(her wit is sharper than any knife in my kitchen!). Jan actually helped me with the paperwork to start off Kitchen Sage! She was real. Not to bring in the Jewish thing, but she totally reminds me of my wicked smart sister Kathleen who converted years ago. Kathleen’s in-laws are a Seinfeld episode! I have been to 17 passovers as chef and family and it is the highlight of my year. When we do the seder, the part that strikes me to my core is this: Unless ALL of us are free, NONE of us are free. Free from ignorance, free from hunger, free from selfishness. These words have woven themselves into my fabric, ALL of us! We are one race with many cultures. Why do we take our greatest asset as a race and treat it like our greatest liability? It breaks my heart when we justify our sinister actions through our faiths. If it is one thing that I have realized since my family has such a diverse belief system that, ITS THE SAME GOD! Just different MARKETING REPS! We are all one! So with Jan it made all too perfect sense. I wanted, no needed some of that Old Jewish wisdom from a not so old lady if Kitchen Sage were to embrace ALL of Grand Rapids. I put on my Catholic Guilt look and she joined immediately!!
Ok, people are going to talk! The last choice for a board member had to be a man! I needed some testosterone other than me. I had to make sure this guy could keep up with the ladies! Also I needed a guy that had no other agenda than to make Kitchen Sage a reality. He had to be passionate about food and already tied into my neighborhood. I knew I needed David Allen. You can’t swing a frying pan without touching some non-profit that David hasn’t touched. And a golden touch it was! Thats really how David and I met and it happened to be in his kitchen which had all the markings of a chef. His passion for education, his neighborhood, and food was the trifecta for KS. The only problem, his wife(and for good reason!) David always is involved, whether its leading kids from his church, to building better neighborhoods, the guy gets around! I knew Donna was a saint, but ANOTHER project for Dave? But I also knew I could play the “I did your daughter’s wedding!” card just in case. Without hesitation David said “Yes” and in the same breath,”Donna’s gonna kill me” Don’t worry kids, David is safe and sound, Donna loves Kitchen Sage, and the sun still shines! About 2 seconds after my “lobbying” David had set up a meeting immediately with Paul Baumgartner head of GRPS Culinary, along with John Helmholt, and Ron Garmin, the Three Amigos of GRPS! Because in all reality, GRPS WAS my choice I wanted to get them on board first. I was so sick of all the negativity towards my school system, the blame was on me, how can I be a part of the solution?
New challenge:”How in the world am I gonna sell this to GRPS, are they going to take me seriously?”………