Below you’ll find short bios of the nine great women who bravely shared their insecurities around cooking as part of the project that evolved into The Kitchen Counter Cooking School. Follow the link to find a brief bio and summary of each volunteer and, when available, videos from their actual kitchen visits. Questions or media queries, drop us an email.
A 25-year-old newlywed from Tacoma. By day, she worked for a non-profit focused on providing aid to Africa. Her new husband had lost 90 pounds prior to their engagement; eighteen months later, he’d gained it all back. None of this is helping her own weight-loss initiatives.
A 22-year-old retail worker, Sabra lives in semi-rural Washington with her boyfriend, a cat and an impressive liquor collection. A pretty girl with a penchant to polis her immaculately manicured in fluorescent colors, she grew up eating boxed mac and cheese and McDonald’s. “After my parents’ divorce, it was obvious whoever took me to McDonald’s was the most was the superior parent. So I got to go on a daily basis.”
A 61-year-old psychologist lives in a modest condo in the affluent Madison Park area of Seattle with her husband. Trish’s mother hated to cook. “If we had a vegetable, it came from a can,” she said. She was tough on herself for what she perceived as a lack of cooking skills amid a circle of friends who considered themselves “foodies.”
A 32-year-old mother of a fussy three-year-old who lived in a pleasant suburban home. Japanese by heritage she purposely never learned to cook. “My mother was basically a slave to my father,” she explained. “I figured if I never learned to cook that couldn’t happen to me.” But after she lost her high-tech job, she found herself with deeply reduced income and days alone with her son. The least she could do was get dinner on the table and try feed her kid something other than fish sticks. “But as someone who has never cooked, I have no idea where to even start.”
A 27-year-old young professional living in a house in the city with three roommates, one of whom was her boyfriend. Although her mother had her make dinner on Monday nights, she never felt as if she learned. “The only thing I remember her teaching me was something called tuna curry, which was tuna fish mixed with curry powder. I really don’t even know how to make that.”
A 34-year-old stay-at-home mother of a toddler and year-old infant who lives in a working class neighborhood north of Seattle. With just one income, she’s vigilant about her grocery spending, keeping it within $700 a month for her family of four. Takeout isn’t in the budget.
A 44-year-old former lawyer who now runs a Northwest-focused travel company from her home. She’s starting to feel the side effects of a steady diet of fast food, takeout and pizzas, namely with high blood pressure and lab work that points straight to diabetes.
A 43-year-old paralegal who lives alone in a low-slung apartment complex near Sea-Tac airport. After her hours were cut due to the recession, she applied for food stamps and sold her car to help cover her living expenses. This happened at the same time her parents, who reside in an weathly gated community nearby, had hired a personal chef. She kept her dire financial straits a secret from them and everyone with whom she worked.