Join L.A. Kitchen

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start a kitchen





If food wastage was a country, it would be the third top emitter of CO2 emissions, coming in after the US and China.


40% of all edible food in the U.S. goes to waste, costing more than $165 billion each year.


More than 36 million tons of food waste was generated in 2011, 96% of which was thrown away into landfills or incinerators.


In Los Angeles alone, around 18 million pounds (9,000 tons) of food are disposed of every day.

L.A. Kitchen will recover or purchase millions of pounds of fresh, nutritious produce that would otherwise go to waste.


As of July 2013, the national unemployment rate was 7.4%
(11.5 million people)


As of July 2013, California's unemployment rate was 8.7%
(1,622,167 people)


As of July 2013, the unemployment rate in Los Angeles was 8.9%
(585,365 people)

L.A. Kitchen's Culinary Job Training Program will help marginalized men and women secure careers in the food service industry.
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26.2% of adults were obese.
8.8% had diabetes.
27.5% had hypertension.


25% of adults were obese.
9.8% had diabetes.
27.8% had hypertension.


24.3% of adults were obese.
8.7% had diabetes.
33% had hypertension.

L.A. Kitchen will work with nutritional experts to create a wide variety of food options aimed at mitigating many of the diseases associated with aging, and distribute them to social service agencies around Los Angeles.
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Working directly with local farmers and produce wholesale companies, we will collect fruits and vegetables that are unsalable due to cosmetic issues or lack of commercial demand. All donated and purchased food will be transformed into healthy meals, snacks, and food products by volunteers, students, and staff at our health-code approved processing hub.
Our on-staff social workers will focus on the needs of emancipated foster youth and older adults transitioning out of incarceration, and this unlikely and powerful pairing will both help reduce systemic patterns of recidivism, and reverse anticipated outcomes for foster youth with little transitional support. Throughout the 15-week training cycle, students will receive daily hands-on training from a certified culinary instructor, attend sessions on specialized techniques taught by local guest chefs, and intern with innovative industry professionals. Graduates will receive food handling certificates, job placement support, and continuing personal and professional support.
L.A. Kitchen will distribute fresh, nutritious meals, snacks and food products to social service agencies that serve Los Angeles’ most vulnerable populations, and we will prioritize support to programs that serve aging residents. The number of older adults in Los Angeles is expected to double in less than two decades, and many are expected to suffer from chronic conditions that could be reversed or prevented by a healthy lifestyle. L.A. Kitchen’s food products will also be made available to after-school programs, drug treatment centers, and programs that empower the homeless.
L.A. Kitchen will recruit Angelenos to volunteer in our commercial kitchen and processing hub, where they will help transform raw fruits and vegetables into nutritious meals and snacks. L.A. Kitchen volunteers will represent a wide cross section of our community, and we will specialize in providing intergenerational volunteers opportunities that engage both older adults and LAUSD students. Volunteers will work side-by- side with job trainee students and graduates, challenging traditional barriers that divide communities.
L.A. Kitchen will incubate Strong Food, a social enterprise that will contract with city agencies, food service businesses, and nonprofit organizations to provide high-quality meals, snacks, and food products. Strong Food will become a for-profit company that has the capacity and infrastructure to hire graduates of L.A. Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training Program and offer them an employee profit-sharing plan. Many of L.A. Kitchen’s graduates will be older adults that have little or no savings and a short time to achieve financial stability before reaching retirement. Providing a stake in Strong Food will allow us to ensure that our graduates won’t slip back into the cycle of poverty once they age out of the workforce.


  • The L.A. Kitchen Team Click on a team member to learn more.
  • José Andrés
    José AndrésBoard Chair

    José Andrés, Board Member

    Named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2012 and “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation in 2011, José Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator, passionate advocate for food and hunger issues, author, educator, television personality and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup. TFG is the team responsible for renowned dining concepts in Washington, DC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and Puerto Rico. Recently he was named Dean of the Spanish Studies program at the International Culinary Center. He is chairman emeritus of DC Central Kitchen, board member of L.A. Kitchen and the founder of World Central Kitchen. He is also culinary ambassador to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, an effort championed by Secretary Hillary Clinton. José teaches “Science and Cooking” at Harvard.
  • Robert Egger
    Robert EggerPresident & Founder

    Robert Egger, President & Founder

    Robert Egger pioneered the model of L.A. Kitchen during his 24-year tenure as the President of the DC Central Kitchen, the country’s first “community kitchen”, where food donated by hospitality businesses and farms is used to fuel a nationally recognized culinary job training program. DC Central Kitchen operates its own revenue generating business, Fresh Start Catering, as well as the Campus Kitchens Project, which coordinates programs in 33 university and high school cafeterias nationwide. In addition, Robert is the Founder and President of CForward, an advocacy organization that rallies nonprofit employees to educate candidates about the economic role that nonprofits play in every community. Robert has received numerous awards for his leadership in the nonprofit sector, and his book, Begging for Change: The Dollars and Sense of Making Nonprofits Responsive, Efficient and Rewarding For All, received the 2005 McAdam Book Award for “Best Nonprofit Management Book” by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management.

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  • Rudy Espinoza
    Rudy EspinozaBoard Member

    Rudy Espinoza, Board Member

    Rudy Espinoza is the Executive Director of Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN), a community development laboratory committed to building sustainable communities in urban areas. Rudy specializes in identifying profitable investment opportunities in low-income communities, researching the informal economy and its innovative entrepreneurs, building private/nonprofit partnerships, and training the working poor to participate in the socio-economic revitalization of their neighborhoods. Rudy has worked at Emerging Markets Inc. and the AARP Foundation where he used his skills to design and manage place-based initiatives with financial institutions, foundations and regional non-profits. Most recently he was a Senior Program Officer at Community Financial Resource Center (CFRC), a Community Development Financial Institution in South Los Angeles where he provided micro-loans and business assistance to street vendors and other informal entrepreneurs. He serves on the Human Relations Commission for the City of Los Angeles, the Advisory Board for the Los Angeles Development Fund, the Board of Directors for Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, and on the Leadership Board of the Los Angeles Food Policy Council. Rudy holds degrees in Business Administration and Urban Planning.
  • Marc Freedman
    Marc FreedmanBoard Member

    Marc Freedman, Board Member

    Marc Freedman is CEO and founder of (formerly Civic Ventures). He spearheaded the creation of Experience Corps (now AARP Experience Corps), mobilizing Americans over 55 to improve the education of low-income children, and The Purpose Prize, an annual $100,000 award for social innovators in the second half of life. He is author of The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife, which The New York Times calls “an imaginative work with the potential to affect our individual lives and our collective future.” His earlier books include Encore: Finding Work That Matters in the Second Half of Life; Prime Time: How Baby Boomers Will Revolutionize Retirement and Transform America; and The Kindness of Strangers.

    Marc is a member of The Wall Street Journal's group "The Experts," and the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including an Ashoka Senior Fellowship. Fast Company magazine selected him three years in a row as one of the nation’s leading social entrepreneurs. In 2010 The NonProfit Times picked Marc as one of the 50 most influential individuals in the nonprofit sector. That same year he and received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University. In 2012 AARP The Magazine named Marc one of "The Influentials," the 50 people over 50 "affecting your life – and your future."

    A high honors graduate of Swarthmore College, Marc has an M.B.A. from Yale University and was a Visiting Research Fellow of Kings College, University of London.
  • Heidi Genrich
    Heidi GenrichBusiness Development and Communications Manager

    Heidi Genrich - Manager, Media/Business Development

    Heidi Genrich is well versed in fundraising, events, communications, and administration as well as graphic design and social media. As L.A. Kitchen’s Media/Business Development Manager, Heidi oversees the communication of the organization's mission, vision, and impact to the public, and aids in the development of campaigns and partnerships. Previously, Heidi worked with the development staff at the CLARE Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides treatment, recovery, and prevention programs for alcoholism and substance abuse. At CLARE, she oversaw individual fundraising, database management, and special events. Heidi also worked at Causecast, an online hub nonprofit organizations, coordinating partnerships and developing multi-platform online campaigns. Heidi has a B.A. in Political Science from Vassar College.

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  • Kristen Irving
    Kristen IrvingVice President of Business Development & Communications

    Kristen Irving - Vice President, Media/Business Development

    Kristen Irving oversees L.A. Kitchen’s daily operations, and is developing high-level relationships with supporters, partners, and stakeholders. Kristen also manages L.A. Kitchen’s communications, and is building media campaigns around the launch of our programs.

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  • Cecily Jackson-Zapata
    Cecily Jackson-ZapataBoard Member

    Cecily Jackson-Zapata, Board Member

    Cecily Jackson-Zapata, Esq. concentrates her law practice in the areas of tax-exempt organizations, social enterprises and small business corporate, tax and transactional law. After developing an expertise in international and corporate tax law at Latham & Watkins and Miller & Chevalier, Cecily spent over five years in Public Counsel's Community Development Project. While at Public Counsel and later at California Resources and Training (CARAT), Cecily gained a particular expertise in representing Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), nonprofit business development and micro-enterprise organizations, and other economic development firms. She also spent over three years leading a statewide nonprofit economic development capacity building program, wherein she gained expertise in nonprofit organizational management and small business consulting. Cecily formed Sustainable Law Group, P.C. with Becki Kammerling, Esq in April 2012.

    Cecily is a director of Social Enterprise Alliance and Secretary of Phase One Foundation. She is also a member of the Union Bank Community Advisory Board and formerly served on the boards of directors of Social Enterprise Alliance - Los Angeles Chapter, Cornerstone Theater Company, Community Services Unlimited, Inc., Friends of the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women, and Girls Inc. of Los Angeles.
  • Stephen Kendall
    Stephen KendallProcurement Manager

    Stephen Kendall - Manager, Procurement

    Stephen Kendall is coordinating the development of L.A. Kitchen’s facility, and will work with regional farmers and food suppliers to recover fresh fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. Previously, he worked for three years at DC Central Kitchen (DCCK), a pioneering nonprofit social enterprise, where he oversaw all aspects of a $2 million annual food and goods budget. He worked to diversify the supply chain serving the organization’s programs and businesses, increasing the amount of locally and regionally sourced product by creating strategic partnerships with small and mid-size family farms. He also redesigned DCCK’s food recovery program, strengthening the focus on healthy products by working closely with farmers and wholesalers. Stephen holds a B.A. in English Literature & Psychology from Trinity College in Hartford, CT and a certificate in Sustainable Food Systems from the University of Vermont.

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  • Becky Locker
    Becky LockerDirector of Culinary Job Training

    Becky Locker - Director, Job Training Program

    Becky Locker is developing L.A. Kitchen's 15-week Culinary Job Training Program, specifically building training curriculum and cultivating relationships with social service agencies and foodservice establishments. She will manage a dynamic staff and create a comprehensive learning environment where students can achieve career and interpersonal growth. Becky has six years experience working with innovative culinary job training programs, foodservice providers, and poverty relief non-profits. From 2010-2012, Becky worked as DC Central Kitchen’s Workforce Development and Graduate Support Coordinator. Becky taught professional development classes, managed the internship and alumni program, and placed over 200 culinary job training students in culinary careers. Becky also helped launch a Culinary Job Training Pilot Program at Tufts University in 2006 for the Campus Kitchen’s Project. She holds a B.A. in Community Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Becky has certificates in culinary arts, foodservice, and catering and events management from the City College of San Francisco.

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  • Erik Oberholtzer
    Erik OberholtzerBoard Member

    Erik Oberholtzer, Board Member

    Erik Oberholtzer co-founded Tender Greens in 2006 in Culver City, California, a chef driven, organic, quick-casual restaurant concept with eight locations and counting. Himself a chef, Erik manages a growing team of talent along with some exciting new brands. He is the founder of the Tender Greens Sustainable Life Project, a program aimed to assist at-risk youth develop new skills and career intentions through structured culinary training and farm exposure. Co-founder of P. Balistreri Salumi Company, the first of more chef legacy companies he has helped incubate and bring to market through Tender Greens. Erik did his undergraduate degree in Psychology at Temple University in Pennsylvania and Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Nancy Ozeas
    Nancy OzeasBoard Member

    Nancy Ozeas, Board Member

    Nancy Ozeas is director of programs at the Milken Institute, where she spearheads the development of creative and timely content and the identification and recruitment of speakers for Institute events. Nancy was the catalyst for the creation of Institute’s nationwide coalition, consisting of medical and nutrition experts and business, government, entertainment and community leaders engaged in the “food movement” with the goal to advance the effort to improve public health, advance equality and human rights, and strengthen employment and economic growth.

    Earlier, Nancy held leadership positions with the Clinton-Gore administration and Office of the New York City Comptroller. As chief of staff of the Information Bureau at USIA, Nancy developed and implemented a public-private partnership model to create a technology and communications infrastructure designed to aid Kosovo war refugees. As director of strategic communications for the State Department under Madeleine Albright, she served on the interagency national security communications team, developing integrated strategies to inform a diverse domestic audience about U.S. foreign policy.

    Nancy returned to Kosovo as vice president of International Medical Corps, where she managed communications and development. Nancy also led the communications departments at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Human Rights First, and was executive director of Step Up Women's Network.
  • Flori Schutzer
    Flori SchutzerDirector of Development

    Flori Schutzer - Director of Development

    Flori Schutzer has a life-long commitment to social justice. She comes to L.A. Kitchen after serving as the Director of Development and Operations for the Global Hunger Foundation, Program Director of the Hunger Initiative at the Jewish Federation and as Development Director at the LA Regional Food Bank. She was the Chief Operating Officer of Operation USA, responding to disasters and leading delegations of pediatricians to Havana. Prior to her work in relief and development she was the Producing Manager of the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum where she helped to develop the theatre’s many educational programs and repertory theatre company. She has served on nonprofit Boards of Directors and as a talkline counselor for the National Council of Jewish Women-LA. She regularly volunteers at Jewish Family Services’ SOVA Food Pantry and at Congregation Kol Ami.

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  • Barton Seaver
    Barton SeaverBoard Member

    Barton Seaver, Board Member

    As an executive chef, Barton Seaver opened seven restaurants and earned acclaim for his food and for the environmentally conscious businesses he ran. Barton left the restaurant industry to pursue his interest in sustainable food systems and accepted a Fellowship with the Explorer Program at the National Geographic Society, where he studies the confluence of human and ecological health. He is also the Director of the Healthy and Sustainable Food Program at Harvard's School of Public Health, and the New England Aquarium first Sustainability Fellow in Residence. Barton speaks regularly on the topic of sustainable seafood, and was named by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as culinary ambassador to the American Chef Corps. Barton has also authored two award-winning cookbooks: Where There’s Smoke and For Cod and Country.

  • Arlin Wasserman
    Arlin WassermanBoard Member

    Arlin Wasserman, Board Member

    Arlin Wasserman is a partner at Changing Tastes, a consulting group dedicated to creating successful, sustainable ventures in the food and agriculture sectors. He also chairs the Sustainable Business Leadership Council for the Culinary Institute of America/Harvard "Menus of Change" initiative. Previously, Arlin served as Vice President of Sustainability for Sodexo, the world’s leading institutional food service provider, from 2007 to 2012. Arlin also has been named a fellow at the Aspen Institute and is past recipient of a Food and Society Policy Fellowship, awarded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. Arlin holds masters degrees in Natural Resource Sciences and Public Health, and has served as an advisor on agriculture, trade, and development issues to both the US Department of Agriculture and the European Union Parliament.



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