Laura Nicola

Program Director, Rancho Cielo Culinary Academy

“Food has created an incredible amount of opportunity for at-risk youth in our community, and for this I am forever thankful. As an Instructor in the Rancho Cielo Culinary Academy, I have seen, first-hand, how cooking and foodservice can bring people together and make them happy. At Rancho Cielo, low-income high-school drop-outs share their passion for food and learn more about food-related vocations. In both the kitchen and the dining room, our students make friends, create bonds, learn new skills, and ultimately become productive citizens that are full of a new-found hope. Through food, they realize that they are worthy, their self-esteem increases, and their overall attitude towards life improves dramatically. This is priceless.”