Laura Nicola

Program Administrator, 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.”
“As a young child, my grandmother had a garden in our backyard and while she was cooking, she would ask me to go pick jalapenos, tomatoes, and squash. That garden made a big impression on me and my life. I believe that is where my passion for food and fellowship developed. On Sundays our family would gather at my grandparents’ home to eat and laugh. I believe that no matter what happens in life there is no better feeling than gathering around the dinner table with your family and friends.”