Founder and Chief Culinary Officer
Laurie Zerga, founder and Chief Culinary Officer of Chef-K provides culinary health education for kids ages five through eighteen, as well as adults. She has an extensive business background as a former officer of a fortune-500 company. In summer 2002, she began to combine her business knowledge with her passion for nutrition and culinary arts. She created and held her first youth culinary camp. In the last 6 years, she developed culinary programs that combine nutrition, the science of food safety, cooking instruction, table etiquette and tours of food businesses. Her primary clients are organizations that support youth and families as she develops and implements life skill programs that teach healthy eating habits. She has recently been a guest of ABC's “View from the Bay”, Grapevine Radio and has also been featured in East Bay Business Times and the Costco Connection cover article, “Mom, Inc”. Passion for family issues is a strong vein in Laurie's life. This is witnessed through 20 years of parallel time given to family, volunteering in schools and balancing a corporate career. Her menu planning and cooking for family and large groups began as a child during summers at her grandparents’ guest ranch. By age sixteen she co-chaired her first dinner for two hundred guests to raise funds for the Sebastopol Methodist Church Big Sister, Big Brother Group. She shares her knowledge and strong family values with her clientele.
Culinary Program Director
Erin started working for Chef-K in June of 2008. She is a food scientist who writes curriculum and develops recipes and nutrition information for Chef-K, in addition to assisting in classes. Erin has a B.S. in Food Science from U.C. Davis. Prior to working for Chef-K, Erin worked in product development for several food manufacturers including Nancy's Specialty Foods / H.J. Heinz Company. Erin is a foodie – a true food and nutrition enthusiast, who is thrilled to be sharing her knowledge and passions to help others with delicious and healthy eating! Erin is trained on MenuCalc software and has 10 years of experience in the food industry writing and developing recipes from kitchen to factory. Erin met Laurie through the San Francisco Professional Food Society. She is currently planning her wedding in late 2009.
Project Manager and Staff Photographer
Maria has 12 years of experience in Project Management in the financial and eCommerce industries. Born in the Philippines and raised in San Francisco, she comes from a large family where most of the men cook! Aside from being a single mother with a teenage son, Maria is also a published photographer. She has traveled extensively throughout the U.S and around the world to Africa, Italy, Spain, Mexico, England, Canada and the Philippines, with her camera, building up her photography portfolio (www.marialorico.com). Maria has worked as a project manager in the development of websites for Charles Schwab, Photo Quest Adventures and Art.com. Before Chef-K, she worked with Laurie for several years at Charles Schwab on leading edge printer technology. Maria joined Chef-K in December 2008 to project manage the restructuring of the website, to photograph Chef-K events and food.
Intern: Design & Web
Kelley is Laurie’s youngest daughter and has been assisting the Chef-K team since before it even existed. Kelley is the designer behind the Chef-K logo. During her senior year at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School she decided to make her art concentration based around food and her moms business at the time, Laurie’s Culinary Camp. When the business name changed so did the logo and they went with one of Kelley’s sketches. She took 3 art classes and 2 journalism classes while attending High School, where she learned many art techniques and how to use Adobe programs such as Photoshop and InDesign. She graduated in 2008 and is now attending Humboldt State University where she is studying graphics design as her major. She has been working as an intern updating the Chef-K website, doing design work, and learning the ropes of photography as she has contributed to many photo shoots.