WE ARE urbanCHEF

ABOUT US
CHEFS AND STAFF
 
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After receiving her bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago she decided to pursue her passion for food and received her AAS in Culinary Arts from The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. She trained at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Chicago as well as with A la Baker catering company. Before launching Urban Chef, Chara owned Artisan Cakes, a specialty wedding cake company. Chara has been a volunteer with Recipe for Success and served as the co-president of the Houston chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier, an international association for professional women in the culinary industry. She currently serves on the board of The Catastrophic Theatre.

President

CHARA GAFFORD

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After realizing her true dream was to be immersed in food, Jada left her job as an accountant to receive a degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley, CA. Jada's passion is helping people expand their palates by trying new ingredients. Her favorite style of cuisine is Pacific Rim which she describes as “Asian flavors and techniques mixed with the West Coast’s love of fresh produce.” However, Jada can’t forget about her Southern roots and her love for those classics as well. When she’s not teaching or cooking as a private chef, she enjoys coaching elementary and middle school kids for her sister’s step team organization. Learn more

Executive Chef

JADA CRE

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Born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, her interest in cooking and the art of sugar began at an early age of five when she was introduced to cooking by introduced by my mother.  She first studied Civil Engineering but decided that her true passion was to become a chef.  After moving to Boston she received an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts from Newbury College. After moving to Houston she founded managed a wedding cake company earning "Houston's Best Wedding Cake Business" in 2007 and 2010. For the last three years she has been traveling and the world, teaching in France and Columbia and learning about food and their cultures. She loves teaching and enjoys turning food into art.

Chef Instructor

BARBARA SUAREZ

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Christine is a 2003 graduate of the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, where, during an introductory nutrition class, she discovered her dual love for both dietetics and cooking. She worked as a baker, line cook, sous chef, and private chef as she completed her master’s degree in nutrition as well as a dietetic internship at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Since 2011, she has been integrating her training in her work as a research dietitian specializing in clinical feeding studies; a university nutrition lecturer and culinary medicine instructor; and as a child and adult cooking instructor.

She has been a team member on three service trips with the CulinaryCorps, a Washington, DC-based service organization for culinary professionals, including co-coordinating and co-leading a trip in Houston in July 2017. She enjoys making soups, stews, and bread, and loves witnessing people enhance their health, self-confidence, and every day pleasure by learning to cook. She moved to Houston in 2016 to work as an oncology-research dietitian at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Chef Instructor

CHRISTINE RANIERI

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Tom has worked in the Food and Beverage Industry as a Chef for 20 years. He received his Culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He's worked in Las Vegas, Houston, New Jersey, New York and Prague, Czech Republic.

Chef Instructor

TOM VALDIVIESO

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Jane has been working in the food industry for 26 years, with many of those years making pizzas and managing staff. She loves to bake, especially cookies.

Associate Instructor

JANE ADANOSKY

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Aurelius explored a number of different career paths before landing in the food industry.  His work includes working on a farm in Maine and landscaping for the second largest garden cemetery in the country. Since moving to Houston in 2008 he has worked as a manager, prep cook and server in restaurants, catering, hotel banquet halls, and pizza shops. He is passionate about customer service.

Facility Manager

AURELIUS PEMBROKE