Lifetime Achievement Winners

Criteria for eligibility:

  • SFPFS Member for at least 10 years – not necessarily consecutive
  • Shared with the culinary world
  • Active in community service
  • Excels in their field
  • Possesses mentor qualities
  • Dedication to the SFPFS

 Joyce Goldstein LAA 2016

Joyce Goldstein – Lifetime Achievement Award in February 2017

JOYCE GOLDSTEIN is a consultant to the restaurant and food industries. Her areas of expertise are menu design, recipe development, staff training and kitchen planning. For twelve years she was Chef/Owner of the ground-breaking Mediterranean Restaurant, SQUARE ONE, in San Francisco. Her menu presented the foods of Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa. SQUARE ONE won numerous prestigious industry awards for food, wine and service.

Prior to SQUARE ONE, Joyce was chef of the Cafe at Chez Panisse for 3 years. She was founder and director of the California Street Cooking School, San Francisco’s first international cooking school. Joyce taught kitchen design for the University of  California’s Department of Architecture.

In addition to her consulting work, Joyce was Visiting Executive Chef of the Wine Spectator Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in the Napa Valley. Joyce was voted San Francisco FOCUS magazine’s Chef of the Year in 1992. She received the James Beard Award for Best Chef in California for 1993. In 2005 she received the Lifetime Achievement award- from Women Chefs and Restaurateurs.

Joyce has written 30 cookbooks. William Morrow published The Mediterranean Kitchen in 1989 and  Back to Square One: Old World Food in a New World Kitchen, winner of both the Julia Child and James Beard Awards for Best General Cookbook of 1992. Her most recent publication, The New Mediterranean Jewish Table: OldWorld Recjpes for the Modern Home, was published in 2016.

Joyce has written for Fine Cooking, Gourmet, Wine & Spirits, and Food & Wine,  Vegetarian Times, and for the  San Francisco Chronicle. She wrote wine and food pairing columns for The Sommelier Journal. She developed recipes for Dr. Dean Ornish, U.S. Potato Board, POM Wonderful, the California Rice Council, and recipes for the delicatessen at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco and Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago. Joyce is a Founding Member of the Association of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and served on the Awards Committee for the James Beard Foundation for six years.


Flo Braker LAA 2015Flo

   Flo Braker

Presented by Lili Rollins. Now, let’s talk about this year’s award winner. This person is one of our founding members and who joined the Food Society in 1978. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting this person many years ago when I took a class from this person at the Yan Can Cooking School. Little did I know then that our paths would cross time and time again. During their membership they had held a number of board positions including president. They have also served on many committees and took the time to travel many miles to meetings to be certain that the work always got done without ever complaining that the meeting was too far away or that there was never any place to park. (I for one am really parking challenged and would much rather host a meeting than to try and park in the Oakland hills.) Between their cookbooks, classes and newspaper columns this person has more than excelled in their field, and have made countless contributions to the culinary world.

Not only has this person shared their expertise and mentored our organization, but they have shared with other Bay Area organizations as well. This person is the kind of person that is always there for you. When I’ve needed to have a judge for a contest that we were having, I always knew that I could count on this person to say yes. One member told of how this person even offered their own recipe for the member to use for a taping of Cooking At The Academy. This person even came to the studio at KQED the day of the taping. So selfless.

Have you guessed who I am talking about yet??? I’m talking about Flo Braker.

The members have honored her with comments such as: “Honestly I can’t think of anyone else more deserving.”

“Flo has been involved in Bakers Dozen and the American Institute of Wine & Food, the latter for which she and I were co-editors of the NorCal chapter newsletter. She was a responsible and dedicated collaborator and it was a real pleasure to work with her in that capacity. Flo has a special way of making work fun and she goes out of her way to take a personal interest in the people she works with.”

“She has been a mentor, educator and a member that you have always been able to count on for whatever is needed. She has taught classes, judged bake offs at our bbq and held the position of president. She definitely is a person who is to be admired and honored with this award.”

“On the occasion of Chuck Williams’ 80th birthday, Flo and Alice Medrich collaborated on developing a recipe for—and baking—the legendary Tribute Cake for the AIWF’s celebration of Chuck’s birthday at the annual AIWF conference in Boston. True to Flo’s exemplary standards, the recipe for the cake is easy to follow and yields spectacular results. It’s become a family favorite, as have many of the recipes in her two cookbooks and from “The Baker” column that she penned for many years for the San Francisco Chronicle food section.”

As you all can see, Flo is a person that is admired by all who know her.


Linda Carucci – Lifetime Achievement Award

SFPFS honored Linda Carucci with the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award for 2014 at our annual summer BBQ. Linda accepted the award with deep appreciation and humility. Linda’s long-time membership in the Society (since 1990), her acclaimed excellence in the culinary world, community service and mentor qualities all contributed to her selection. Linda now serves on the SFPFS Board as Parliamentarian, exhibiting her wisdom and dedication to the membership on an ongoing basis.

Linda was the inaugural chef director and instructor at the International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – San Francisco. She is the Author of Cooking School Secrets for Real World Cooks, honored as a finalist for a James Beard Cookbook Award and for the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Julia Child First Book Award. Linda has taught cooking classes aboard the Holland American cruise ship line and was dean at the California Culinary Academy. In addition, she has cooked in several San Francisco Bay Area restaurants and owned and operated a catering business and co-produced a series of televised cooking shows. Originally from New England, Linda now resides in Oakland, California.


Lifetime Achievement Award goes to… Joyce Jue!

The SFPFS 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Joyce Jue by Lili Rollins, last year’s Award Recipient, at the 2013 AGM in January. Joyce’s energy and commitment to SFPFS (she has been an SFPFS member since our organization’s inception in 1978 and was President 2009) has truly made our group more memorable and delicious!

Over the years Joyce has shared her valuable knowledge, time and endless support, whether it be helping fellow members or working behind the scenes at just about every BBQ. Joyce is an idea person and has always been available to lend her creative ideas and expertise to help us grow as an organization.

This was a timely award, because, we learned at the AGM that Joyce is moving to Oregon! We are delighted to send Joyce off to her next adventure with this award. We can think of no one more deserving. Thank you, Joyce, for giving so much to us all.

Lili Rollins

SFPFS 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award to Lili Rollins

by Rodger Helwig When I was asked to present the Lifetime Achievement award to Lili Rollins at our recent AGM at the California Culinary Academy, the first thing that popped into my mind was the oft-quoted line about the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. They said he was the hardest working man in show business. It made me think of Lili, and how hard she has worked over the years to support the San Francisco Professional Food Society in so many ways.

Lili has been an active member, mentor, and friend of the society since joining in 1993. She has been our membership chair, BBQ chair twice, as well as being active on various other committees. Her board positions include stints as parliamentarian, secretary, president-elect, president, and past president–pretty impressive. Lili has always been willing to step in and help out where necessary. She’s a decisive, insightful leader who always gets to the heart of the matter and moves ideas into action. She’s also an impeccable record keeper. If you need something, chances are Lili will come up with it. And, whenever you have a question about anything pertaining to SFPFS, she’s the first person you should go to. Over the years, I think I’ve attended more Tasting SIGs and meetings at her home in Alameda than anywhere else. She once hosted an event after having foot surgery. You just can’t keep her down. And what would our annual BBQs have been like for the past decade without Lili’s creativity and hard work, always with her good natured husband, Bill, pitching in. She’s also one of the few people I know who could have pulled off a great BBQ on an aircraft carrier, the USS Hornet. She calls it the most memorable event she’s ever organized, making many friends who she is still close to today.

Lili has also been very active in the Bay Area food community, serving as the director of a cooking school in Danville, Cooks n’ Books, teaching cooking classes to elementary schools, working as a caterer, and representing cooking schools abroad. Currently she now travels around the country, training instructors for the Air Force. She has also been involved in the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) and is currently on the advisory board of the Bread Project. When asked what the SFPFS has meant to her, Lili replies, “The Food Society means friendships, fun, and learning. It has been a wonderful part of making my life full and joyful.” Congratulations, Lili, on being honored with the Lifetime Achievement award. We all look forward to knowing you for many years to come.

John Linderman – Lifetime Achievement Award for 2010


2009 Lifetime Achievement Award to Mary Risley

Passion for Food & Community by John Wiest From years of experience, Mary Risley, founder and director of Tante Marie’s Cooking School in San Francisco can tell you the ingredients for a successful chef: passion, dedication and a fine-tuned palate. Risley started Tante Marie’s in 1973, teaching classes in the tiny kitchen of her San Francisco home. “I learned how to cook well in small spaces,” she laughs.

When people asked her where to attend a professional cooking school, she advised them to study in Paris. “Then I thought, why not learn to cook in San Francisco? We have an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables and fish.”

In 1979, she built a bright, airy kitchen in North Beach with space for 16 students and offered professional programs in general cooking and pastry. Her popular avocational classes continue at night and on weekends. Early guest instructors were local chefs who went on to become international celebrities, including Jeremiah Tower, Ken Hom, and Carlo Middione.

Risley was a budding chef by age 9, collecting recipes and baking her way through a book ordered from the back of a box of Baker’s Chocolate. A native of Toronto, Risley says her mother was an accomplished cook who served fresh artichokes and spinach salad – novelties in the 1950s.

But Risley didn’t turn this passion into a career until later in life. Until her 30th birthday, she worked in investment banking. One day, she realized “banking no longer fascinates me.” So she decided to pursue her food passion. In her characteristically determined way, Risley took every cooking class offered in San Francisco, then studied at London’s Cordon Bleu, La Varenne in Paris and with James Beard, Jacques Pepin, Madeleine Kamman and Lorenza de’ Medici.

Risley has been honored by many local and national organizations including “Cooking Teacher of the Year” in 1988 by Bon Appetit magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle and the James Beard Foundation.

Mary is also a writer and published cookbook author with her first book, THE TANTE MARIE’S COOKING SCHOOL COOKBOOK (Simon & Schuster, 2003).

Risley’s passion for food and cooking extends to the community. In 1987, she launched Food Runners, a volunteer organization that picks up excess food from more than 500 restaurants and other businesses and delivers it to neighborhood feeding programs throughout San Francisco. Nationally, she’s chaired fundraising efforts for Share Our Strength to support hunger relief programs as well.

A note from Mary Risley: Thank you everyone for honoring me with the Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award from the SFPFS! Although it doesn’t feel like a lifetime, it was about 30 years ago when I first started going to the first Food Society meetings–I remember the early days well. And, it has been over 30 years that I have run Tante Marie’s Cooking School as a full-time culinary school in Northbeach and over 20 years since starting Food Runners. I believe that Tante Marie’s is still doing well because of our efforts to see that everyone attending class has a good experience, and I believe that Food Runners is thriving because of the continued support of the SFPFS and individuals like you who don’t want to see food go to waste. Thank you so very much for this Award–I am truly honored! — Mary Risley, Feb. 2010


2009 Lifetime Achievement Award to Weezie Mott

by Brooke Jackson “If you don’t want to get old then don’t stop working,” I heard Weezie Mott say as she accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award during the AGM in January. Then this pint-sized, spunky gal revealed that she would be 87 on her next birthday. Wow, I thought, there must be a story here.

So I called Weezie to find out more about what makes her tick. She has been teaching cooking in her home kitchen since 1977, after Kaiser gave her the golden handshake. At Kaiser, Weezie taught medical and surgical nursing and, on the side, taught cooking to the resident nursing students. After Kaiser closed the nursing school, she went to the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in London then found her way into teaching out of her home. She told me that she started out with 6 people to a class but now consistently has 12-14 students, 4 times a week for one week every month. Many students come back and bring their friends; one woman has attended every class Weezie has taught since 1982! She has a very strong following and adds many innovative twists to keep her cooking school on the cutting edge.

In the summer she hosts cooking classes for kids, ages 8-14. She teaches them the basics of cooking 3 days per week for 3 weeks. They make chicken stock and learn how to peel, seed and chop a tomato, master basic knife skills and cook omelets. Weezie takes the kids on field trips to Chez Panisse for a tour of their kitchen and to Olson’s Cherry Farm where they help get apricots drying. In addition to all the teaching she does, she also invites guest chefs to come teach in weeklong sessions throughout the year. Some of these Weezie and her husband Howard have met during their frequent trips to Europe. She recounted one such meeting while the Motts were in northern Italy. They happened into a restaurant for dinner, got talking to the chef and his wife until 2 a.m. The next year, the couple came to Alameda, stayed at the Motts house and the chef taught a week of classes. Now, he is in the schedule for a week every year.

When asked what she likes most about teaching, Weezie replied that she really enjoys her students. She always learns a lot from them and encourages questions, even if the student thinks the question is ‘dumb.’ Sometimes she doesn’t know the answer and has to look it up then learns something new. This brings us back to her quote about getting old that Weezie Mott lives by. She feels that the more active you stay, the more involved you are in life then the happier your life will be.

Congratulations, Weezie, on your Lifetime Achievement Award.