The SFPFS Blog

Member Profile: Janice Nieder

Janice Nieder Wants to See CHEFS Thrive

This 9 year SFPFS member has a passion for three things: food, travel and the CHEFS program. Janice’s work with food has ranged from owning a wholesale bakery, consulting (specialty foods, private-label products and espresso business start-ups) and conducting Food & Fitness seminars in Silicon Valley. With rewarding work as a consultant and travel writer, her primary focus is now on C.H.E.F.S.- Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Service.

Founded in 1998 by Episcopal Community Services, the program trains homeless adults for employment in food service. CHEFS is a high risk, high reward program: many participants don’t finish, but the ones that do discover the ability to create a positive life for themselves.

“As Volunteer Coordinator for the last 6 years, my job is to help plan field trips, special events, arrange for guest Chefs and Speakers to come teach a class, and assist in fund-raising. SFPFS has been extremely supportive of the CHEFS program. Many of our favorite guest lecturers are
members of the Food Society, including: Nancy Kux, Susie Foley, Lesley Stiles, Elinor Hill-Courtney, Marie
Simmons, Eric Tucker, Linda Carucci, Linda Hillel, Rodger Helwig, John Linderman, Victoria Green,Thy Tran and Siew Chin Chin”.

The program is at a critical juncture– although it has been well received by the community, CHEFS is struggling financially, so much so that its future is in jeopardy. At a time when San Francisco and other cities are committing themselves to eradicating homelessness in our communities, you might think that vocational training for homeless people would be a top priority. Sadly, it isn’t — our private sector support has drastically fallen off. Between now and June, we are challenged to raise $100,000 to keep this excellent program.

To learn more about the CHEFS program and contribute to the fund raising effort underway, contact Janice at Jnredsie@aol.com.

Native:
Born and raised in Seattle. (Weaned on Starbucks).

Education:
BFA-California College Of Arts
Masters in Special Education from Seattle University

Turning Point:
“I first got the food bug moonlighting at De Gustibus cooking school in Macy’s. I assisted luminaries such as Julia Child, Jaques Pepin, Madhur Jaffrey etc.”

Accomplishments in Food:
Opened a wholesale bakery in New York, the Blue Ribbon Kitchen.

Director of Special Projects for Warner LeRoy, owner of the Tavern on the Green, an “insane perfectionist” in his approach to food. Developed Food & Fitness & Fun program, profiled in The San Francisco Medical Journal, (June 2001).

Currently:
President of JRN Associates
“I’ve combined my love for Food and Travel by becoming a “Culinary tourism freelance journalist”, seeking out culinary “delights” in over 60 countries…so far. I have dined on silkworm grubs, bulls unmentionables, booger flavored jelly bellys and Ferran’s famous foams…and recently was invited on a press trip to Marche, Italy where we feasted on truffles morning, noon and night–MUCH more to my liking. Some of my stories have been in International Travel News, Myanmar Airlines, Sally’s Place, San Francisco Medical Society Journal, Women’s Economic Network, Species, 55-Plus, etc”.

About SFPFS :
“I can’t believe I’m almost 1/5 of the way to getting my 50 year gold watch as a member of SFPFS. My affiliation with the SFPFS has helped me numerous ways unbelievable networking contacts, making new friends who don’t think I’m nuts for driving 2 hours to eat at the best Afghan restaurant in Fremont, learning from SIGs ( I can now tell reds from whites) and always having a number to call when I have a food 411.”