Why We Are Here

There is a reason why the oldest and largest chef organization in San Diego formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Part of the answer is embodied in the basic mission of all chefs – to provide sustenance that is safe and nutritious.

The first thing we are taught is not about sauces or desserts or seasoning or presentation. We are instructed how not to kill people or make them sick.

After all the television reality shows, outrageous food presentations and gastronomic alchemy, it still comes down to feeding people food that will not harm them and provides their bodies with the nutrients and energy to survive. Everything else is extra.

When the Chefs De Cuisine Association of San Diego was established in 1961, the purpose was to have an outstanding organization of chefs committed to enhancing industry standards, training future chefs and addressing the general concerns of the membership.

In 2002, the Chefs De Cuisine Association of San Diego Education Foundation was created to take an enhanced approach to those founding concepts. It had become clear that people were no longer patronizing restaurants primarily on special occasions. Increasing numbers of people were eating out every day and, often, more than once a day.

Healthy eating became a frequent buzzword. Heart disease, obesity, diabetes, hypertension all took center stage as national concerns. Questions were being asked about how food was grown and fertilized and what was in pesticides. People wanted to know how they were affected by the chemicals contained in what they ate.

The ingredients chefs utilized were not the only concern. There is a growing crisis that is now called food insecurity and really means people are going hungry in the richest, most industrialized nation in the world. And while many face starvation, recent statistics estimate that the average U.S. restaurant throws away 100,00 pounds of safe, edible food annually.

The entire food industry has taken on a much more serious tone with issues ranging from food recalls to the epidemic of childhood obesity.  With those concerns in mind, The Chefs De Cuisine Association of San Diego Education Foundation attempts to forge working partnerships based on the basic premise of providing safe and nutritious food for people to eat.

It is important and necessary that organizations such as ours continue to sponsor charitable events for victims of domestic violence, veterans, police athletic leagues and extensive, ongoing local outreach where we utilize our experience in the kitchen to help others.

Definitions of community service must expand, however to include being proactive about systemic societal issues relating to food and nutrition.

To that end, we partner with organizations bringing master gardeners to plant herb and vegetable gardens in K-12 school throughout San Diego County. Chefs and culinary students follow up by visiting schools to show youngsters how to cook what they have grown with a focus on healthy eating and combating the causes of childhood obesity.

We are a part of local efforts to retrieve edible, nutritious food items from farms, farmers markets and wholesale food suppliers. We offer skills training for culinary students who are being trained to transform rescued food items into meals for the homeless, the elderly and other populations facing food insecurity. We seek to get more local food service providers to adopt the food rescue concept and help reduce current levels of waste.

The Foundation is coordinating with the State of California, local schools and area food service providers to create culinary apprenticeships, mentorships and scholarships to increase the opportunity for diverse communities to enter the culinary industry at all levels.

A Foundation pilot program is underway for chefs and culinary students to conduct cooking classes with young people attending afterschool programs at a local recreation center to offer hands-on experience with healthy cooking concepts. One goal, as the program expands, is to share this important information with the parents who buy the groceries, plan the menus and cook the meals.

There is much to do. Building strong, viable, working partnerships with neighborhoods, businesses, educational institutions and governmental agencies is essential to the process.

The Chefs de Cuisine Association of San Diego Education Foundation welcomes your support in achieving these partnerships and in fostering a more inclusive sense of community.

We exist because, as culinary professionals, it is fundamental to our basic mission. It is because we are in the business of sustenance and survival.


Don Williamson, President

Chefs de Cuisine Association of San Diego Education Foundation


The Chefs De Cuisine
Association of San Diego Education Foundation

Mission Statement: To create and promote culinary-related educational opportunities that address industry standards and provide scholarships, mentorships and apprenticeships. The Foundation fosters collaborative efforts that impact issues such as nutrition, food rescue, childhood obesity, healthy eating, access to training and the impact of these concerns on underserved communities.

Vision Statement: To energize culinary practitioners at all levels to protect public health, increase consumer understanding, stimulate citizen involvement, foster student education and inspire a sensitive, diverse, professional workforce that is representative of and responsive to local needs.

The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. FEIN 91-2152672


Why We Are Here

The Chefs de Cuisine Association of San Diego wouldn’t be what it is without the incredible contributions of it’s dedicated members and supporters. 

Thanks to everyone who’s put their heart and their energy into this organization!

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