Why We Are Here

Chefs de Cuisine Association of San Diego

Education Foundation: 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 combinations and gastronomic alchemy, it still comes down to serving people food that does 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 general membership concerns.

In 2002, the Chefs De Cuisine Association of San Diego Education Foundation was created to take an enhanced approach to those founding concepts. People no longer patronize restaurants primarily on special occasions. Many people eat out every day and, often, more than once a day – if they are able. That increases the responsibilities facing the nation’s food service providers.

Healthy eating has become a buzzword. Heart disease, obesity, diabetes, hypertension now take center stage as national concerns. People want to know how their food is grown and raised and fertilized, what is in pesticides and how do the chemicals in their food affect their bodies.  

The ingredients chefs utilize are not the only concern. There is a crisis of food insecurity, which really means people are going hungry in the richest, most industrialized nation on earth. Statistics indicate a 40-percent food waste rate for all Americans and 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 rampant food recalls to an epidemic of childhood obesity. With those concerns in mind, The Chefs De Cuisine Association of San Diego Education Foundation forges working relationships in the effort to provide safe and nutritious food for people to eat and to foster public and industry education about nutrition and food safety.

It remains important and necessary that organizations such as Chefs de Cuisine continue to sponsor charitable events for victims of domestic violence, veterans, police athletic leagues and the other extensive, ongoing local outreach where we utilize our expertise in the kitchen each year.

It also is necessary to expand the definitions of community service 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 instilling lifelong habits related to creating well-balanced meals.

We work with local efforts to retrieve edible, nutritious food items from farms, farmers markets and wholesale food suppliers. We offer skills training to 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 join food rescue efforts 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. Another primary focus is to include culinary students in the charitable projects of the Foundation as vital experience in the kitchen and in the concept of giving.

A Foundation pilot program is underway for chefs and culinary students to conduct cooking classes for youngsters attending afterschool programs at a local recreation center. We offer hands-on experience with healthy cooking concepts and share this important information with parents and guardians who buy the groceries, plan the menus and cook the meals. The goal is to expand this prototype to other local facilities.

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

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