San Rafael chef cooks for those in need during pandemic


Even though she laughs about it now, it could not have been worse timing for Dee Wagner to get started her wedding day and party planning business in 2020. It was not long prior to COVID-19 started off pushing or cancelling the occasions she’d booked.

But, daily life began taking her in an unexpected course when her pal who runs the Hillside Club in Berkeley questioned if she could cook dinner meals for some of its customers who were being being at residence. She did, word spread, and Wagner, who has cooked for most of her lifetime, started integrating a food shipping support and catering into her small business. She now also provides again by NoHungerHere, the nonprofit she begun in 2020 to bring meals to people in require, from struggling people to the Sausalito camp for men and women encountering homelessness and to San Rafael’s Service Support Space for folks experiencing homelessness.

Q How did you get into the food enterprise?

A My initially job was in tv journalism. I remaining that career, and drove across the place to San Francisco, the place I’d hardly ever been, to live with a buddy. I was a waitress and a bartender, and commenced controlling dining places and stayed on that observe. My spouse, Ed Vigil, who’s also a chef, and I managed the Olema Inn and Cafe for about five decades.

Q How did NoHungerHere start off?

A A neighbor who performs for St. Vincent de Paul Culture of Marin County termed me to say they had been in crisis mode due to the fact they experienced all these people showing up each working day and there is no food for the reason that the kitchen area is shut. “Can you make some meals and provide it down?” and I claimed, “Of training course.” I went to the San Rafael Elks, where I am a member, and requested if I could use their kitchen area to make the food stuff. They explained sure and I named my chef good friends and we started producing food. Cooking is my heart, so to be able to however cook dinner and make folks happy is this kind of a blessing.

Q How has that encounter been?

A Often, it is really hard. I consider, “Is this building any big difference at all?” I consider seriously really hard not to assume of it that way. I just have to belief that this is what I can supply and I’m heading to offer it and hope that it makes a variation.

Q When did you slide in love with cooking?

A It was by way of my grandmother. She lived at a farm in Arkansas, where by I frequently invested my summers. There was a big yard, pigs and chickens. That was just amazing. She cooked every single day. If you preferred to hold out with her, which is all I preferred to do, you had to prepare dinner. And I saved on cooking, even when I was undertaking the Tv matter.

Q When did you look at you a chef?

A I by no means seemed for chef positions simply because I felt like I under no circumstances experienced the credit score for that. I did not go to culinary college. I was incredibly intimidated, even nevertheless I experienced organic inclination, organic talent and enthusiasm. When I took a task on Angel Island as functions manager of its concessions, I observed quickly the prospective for it to be a food stuff destination. The ladies who experienced been doing work there for many years have been building clam chowder and other items from a box and I stated, “We are going to change the food stuff here, we’re likely to make fantastic meals.” There was this attractive ownership of the food items. These girls and I acquired how to make additional points from scratch, started out setting up some capabilities and we figured it out. And from that, I definitely arrived out expressing, “I am a chef.”

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