Chef/Educator Joan Gallagher
Chef Joan began her career with the USDA, working at the Human Nutritional Research Center. She attended California Culinary Academy and did an internship in Alsace, France. Returning to her roots in the Bay Area, she worked in restaurants, hotels, Microsoft's corporate cafeteria, and was the catering director for NASA.
When an opportunity became available in the Berkeley Unified School District & Edible Schoolyard, she jumped at the chance. For five years, Joan ran the production kitchen for Berkeley Unified, producing 3,000 meals every day.
The highlight for her was conducting "What's on Your Plate" presentations for the Edible Schoolyard, where she was able to share her passion for preparing and savoring food with kids, and linking it to culture and curriculum. Nothing thrills her more than seeing a child's culinary world expand.
In 2011, Joan realized the time was right to take what she'd learned at Berkeley Unified and launch a lunch program for schools. The program has grown to include The Berkeley School, Black Pine Circle School and East Bay School for Boys, each of which have made the program their own, customizing it for their own unique school cultures.
When Shelter-in-place began, Chef Joan took all her remaining produce and began producing meals to distribute at ECAP (Emeryville Citizens Assistance Program, a food bank in Emeryville). With volunteers and then with her staff (via PPP) she scaled up to producing 800-1000/meals each day.
This Berkeleyside article tells more about it.