Meet the Folks...
Director of Retail
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.
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.
Connor has worked in the intersection of Social services and hunger relief since 2010 in Portland. His passion is around teaching people skills to feed themselves and their communities, making sure everyone has access to nourishing food that we are so lucky to have a large supply here in our corner of the world. Connor honed his cooking chops in culinary school, wild rural kitchens, and local nonprofits, but likes feeding friends and neighbors best of all.
With Stone Soup since the day the restaurant opened in 2019, he's held a myriad of postions, including Cook, Chef Trainer, and now Program Manager. While he's not in the kitchen much these days, as Program Manager he loves that he gets to see participants from applicant to graduate, and beyond.
Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his husband and their four rescue pets, traveling to National Parks, and taking on cooking projects in locales that most people would consider overly ambitious.
Tier 1 Chef Instructor
Sam has always loved cooking and baking. She's worked in restaurants/cafes/bakeries since she was 17 and food justice has always been a passion of hers as well. Connecting people to the resources and skills to feed themselves and their communities is one of her lifelong missions.
When not inspiring participants' love of food & cooking, Sam loves listening to books, trying out new recipes, spoiling her cat, and traveling with her partner.
Tier 2 Chef Trainer
Kotie grew up cooking with their mom and knew from a very young age that they had a true love and passion for food. Kotie thrives on helping people learn how to get into the culinary world and making beautiful, healthy food.
When not at work, Kotie loves snuggling with their kitty, Lula, playing pool, hanging out with family, going to the river, hiking, camping and dancing.
Gordon has graced Portland kitchens such as Sudra, Aviv and Mother's Bistro. In addition to cooking, Gordon has dedicated much of his time to Food Justice. He loves the sense of community at Stone Soup, adding, "it really feels refreshing to be a part of a place that sets the standard on how a healthy kitchen workplace can be."
Outside of Stone Soup, Gordon helps organize a food-based mutual aid group that feeds the houseless. As well he & his partner run a videography and photography business.
Retail Soup Chef Trainer
Kyle has been in the foodservice industry for more than a decade, working at Pok Pok, Whiskey Soda Lounge, Tusk, as a commissary manager at a local market, and at Gado Gado pop-ups to name just a few!
Kyle appreciates the strong focus on community at Stone Soup. Outside of work Kyle is a music producer that goes by the stage name patchnotes. When he's not busy setting up online music shows with other artists across the country, he can be found at home hanging out with his cat named Beef or hanging out with friends around Portland.
Grants & Development Manager
Christina brings a wealth of grant writing and PNW nonprofit experience to the Stone Soup table. From her time a Meals on Wheels People, Northwest Academy, Reach Out and Read Oregon, Blanchet House and others, Christina believes in the power of food to bring people together.
When not writing for grants for Stone Soup, you can find Christina chasing her kindergartner around, followed closely by two large dogs. The family love dance parties, movie nights, crafting and eating dessert all day, every day.
Meet Our Board
Interim Executive Director
Aaron brings a varied professional experience to Stone Soup. He started with a 16-year stretch working in hospitality for Hyatt, Starwood and Provenance Hotels opening properties. Aaron then served for 8 years as Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships for Sparkloft Media. Just prior to joining Stone Soup, Aaron spent three years as Director of Development at Portland based INGO SPOON. When he’s not fixing things in his 110+ year old home, Aaron enjoys hiking and running with his wife and friends.
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.
Bo An Lu
Bo An is passionate about helping organizations solve their toughest problems and thrives on opportunities to make a positive impact. As a management consultant, Bo An brings experience spanning a broad range of industries including not-for-profits, retail, education, aged care, steel and energy. Bo An holds a BS degree in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney.
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.
Jason is a partner at the law firm Foster Garvey, P.C. He is passionate about his role as a deal-maker - creating solutions to join together great people, projects and capital. Jason has previously served on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters and Spokane Housing Ventures and was a mentor to start-up companies through Startup Spokane.
Caryl has three decades of nonprofit experience including zoos and aquariums, the arts, public broadcasting, and civic engagement. Currently, she is an Associate Consultant at Rose City Philanthropy, a firm that specializes in leading nonprofits through feasibility studies, campaign planning, and board development. A practitioner and educator, she has managed multi-million-dollar campaigns and taught nonprofit management and fundraising at Portland State University and University of Washington. Caryl is an avid Pinot Noir fan and you will often find her sharing this liquid magic in the Willamette Valley at Sokol Blosser Winery.
Shawn discovered the power of food while standing on a stool with a wooden spoon next to her southern grandmother, creating lifetime food memories marked by the creativity of depression era cooking, the flavors of Mexico and traditional soul food. Since her earliest days, she has relished hearing people’s stories through and over the food they love. First as a lawyer and then a Health & Safety leader, most recently at Nike, Shawn has dedicated her career to providing people training and tools to keep themselves safe and healthy while they work. Knowledge empowers; the core of Stone Soup’s mission.
Building community is Dianne’s passion. Food is the tool that gets her there. From store owner,
chef, event planner, land-use advocate, teacher, and board member, food is central to all she’s
done. Her work at the Portland Farmers Market propelled a low-key event into a thriving
market system. To expand access to farm-fresh food she worked to establish
the Supplemental Food Assistance Program in farmers markets in Oregon. Her board service
includes the Portland-Multnomah Food Policy Council, Oregon Farmers Markets Association,
and the Friends of French Prairie. Dianne’s spare time is filled with kayaking, gardening, and gathering friends and family around the table.
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 can use a hand up. 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.