Meet the Folks...
Director of Operations
Scott has numerous national and local accolades attesting to his culinary mastery in the kitchen including 3 James Beard Nominations, Food&Wine Best New Chef, and Gourmet top 100. Through his 15 years of owning and running popular and successful restaurants, Park Kitchen and The Bent Brick, Scott’s proven himself as a strong business presence in Portland’s restaurant community.
A long-time volunteer with Portland’s homeless youth drop-in center p:ear, Scott gained critical work experience with at-risk populations, developing the patience and compassion necessary to train those who have barriers to employment. Scott has sought to connect these potential employees with Portland restaurants who are experiencing their own labor shortages; with Stone Soup, he is able to do just that.
Tier 2 Chef Trainer
Suzanne comes to stone soup with a strong palate, and a compassion for helping people. Born and raised in the south, Suzanne moved to Portland in 2012 and quickly dove into the thriving food and restaurant scene. Since then, they have spent time working in all aspects of food service - front and back of house, management, catering, and more. Working at Stone Soup allows them to use and share the skills they have cultivated, while combining their passions for learning, teaching, and creating delicious, accessible vegan and gluten-free cuisine. Suzanne strongly believes in the importance of remembering that food is one of the greatest human connectors. We all deserve access to food, and to know how to feed ourselves and others.
Tier 1 Chef Trainer
Connor is a lifelong Oregonian who has been working in local nonprofits that address hunger and social services for the last twelve years in Portland. He has a passion for meeting people where they are, sharing skills, and of course feeding folks from all walks of life, but specifically those living in poverty and experiencing houselessness. He believes that no one should be denied access to fresh, nourishing food regardless of circumstance and that there is always enough to share.
Outside work, he enjoys training his rescue puppy, camping, and watching many documentaries.
Support Services Coordinator
Emily studied theater and worked in the music business before joining the nonprofit sector, first in San Francisco and then in Portland. In 2019, she trained as a Peer Wellness Specialist and spent two years supporting older adults dealing with isolation and life changes. Building community has always been important to Emily, and she wants to help people not only find fulfilling work, but create more equitable and inclusive workplaces. In her free time Emily can be found experimenting with her waffle maker, birdwatching and roller skating.
Chef Kris has been cooking with compassion for many years. Her recent work as a Sous Chef at FareStart in Seattle was the perfect job training for her current role at Stone Soup. She brings a wide range of culinary experience and a fantastic palate, as well as patience and a dedication to helping people reach their full potential.
Photo Credit: Daniel Nuss
A PASSION FOR HELPING, A PASSION FOR FOOD...
Founders Ronit and Craig Gerard both love food, cooking and entertaining people. Through Ronit’s job as an international aid worker, they lived in eight different cities over the last 15 years. In nearly all of those cities, familiar foods and ingredients were not available, so they got creative and became incredibly resourceful, learning to make the foods they loved, from scratch. They also delved into the local food scene, picking up local ingredients and new techniques that continue to influence the dishes they love to cook and eat.
Both Craig and Ronit come from backgrounds of food service. Craig is a trained mixologist who worked in restaurants in San Francisco and Washington, DC and is an avid homebrewer. After college, Craig worked for a talent agency, producing entertainment for private parties and corporate events. Ronit was a short order cook and waitress in Sydney, Australia, and she also worked as a food-prep/cook during her time in college.
Craig and Ronit also live to help people. They both grew up with the principles of Tikkun Olam (Hebrew for, helping to repair the world), volunteering and coordinating volunteers in and around the communities they help build. While living in Washington, D.C., Craig was the Director of the Community Service Department of the DC Jewish Community Center and Ronit has a long and storied career with Peace Corps, the East Bay Conservation Corps, and USAID, all fulfilling her passion for giving back to those who are less fortunate. What better way to marry their two passions than by starting a business that ignites them both.
THE TALE OF STONE SOUP...
The story Ronit and Craig read to Shai and Micah as a bedtime story comes from an old European fable. It tells of a traveler who comes across a smooth stone just outside of a quaint village. He picks up the stone, and puts it in his pocket...
When he arrives in the town, he's very hungry, but try as he might, he cannot find anyone to share a meal with him. It seems each house only has one type of vegetable or spice. The traveler thinks for a bit, then calls everyone out of their houses, asking for a cauldron. He says he wants to make Stone Soup.
He takes the cauldron, fills it with water, and places the smooth stone carefully in the large pot. The villagers are skeptical, but curious. After a while, he tries the soup.
"Hmmm, not bad," he says, "but it could use some carrots."
The villager who had carrots runs home and then adds them to the soup. One by one, each of the villagers adds an ingredient to the pot, creating a wonderful blend everyone could be proud of. There was Enough to Spare and Share.
By the end of the evening, the villagers were playing music together, dancing, laughing, and enjoying each other's company. All of this happened because of the traveler who simply pointed out the amazing things they could make with what they already had.
Meet Our Board
Cooking, teaching and sharing food has been a central theme throughout Arielle’s career and life. With over 15 years of culinary experience, and a strong commitment to social justice, Arielle believes that food plays an essential role in bringing people together. Her background includes program development, fundraising, and volunteer management for a comprehensive after-school culinary arts non profit as well as catering, event planning, customer service, product development and sales with for profit culinary businesses.
Originally from Bronx, NY, Rodney received a BS degree in Biochemistry from Connecticut College, and then enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. He has been involved in various entrepreneurial endeavors for over 25 years. Rodney is one of the founders of the Portland Craft Beer Festival and is currently a High School Culinary Arts Instructor in the North Clackamas School District.
Lanya has worked for grassroots community agencies, well-established non-profits, and within public schools, with the goal of increasing opportunity for youth and families. She spent the past 13 years managing employment and training programs for organizations like Jewish Vocational Service and Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center. With a background in social work, Lanya's passion for workforce development is grounded in the belief that a meaningful career and a living wage can change the trajectory of people's lives.
Bruce Burger Member
Bruce has served on the board of FareStart in Seattle and its national network, Catalyst Kitchens. He has also served on the Pike Place Market PDA Council and is a board member and past president of the Washington Trails Association. Bruce lives in Seattle and was formerly a program manager for Microsoft.