Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Dec 28th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Tread Lightly and Carry a Big Appetite

dining_lightfootAt Lightfoot Cafe and Catering, a celebrity chef and energetic teens bring something truly unique to your table

The banquet room was arranged typically for a fundraising dinner. We were welcomed first by a wine- tasting booth, beyond which a sea of white tablecloths set with sparkling water glasses encircled the dance floor. More tables were loaded with silent auction temptations. Upon closer inspection, I noticed subtle surprises. Pieces of twine tied herb stems to natural fiber unhemmed napkins. And there was nothing ordinary about the activity in the kitchen. For this was a presentation by Lightfoot Industries, a vocational training program for at-risk youth which will host three suppers in December at its new cafe.

Chef Jake Gondolfo, known nationally as a large and lovable finalist on Fox Channel’s Master Chef, added final touches to the meal, while Carmen Kubas demonstrated the passing of hors d'oeuvres to an energetic team of teenagers who hit the stage with trays in their hands. A bright-eyed young woman offered us thin slices of purple Peruvian potatoes with fresh cream and thyme. The cheese table held fruit, vegetables, dates, pistachios, smooth hummus with salty dried tomatoes and apple-cranberry-apricot chutney made by the students themselves.

An endless procession of platters from the kitchen bore the family-style dinner. A medley of roasted root vegetables was followed by sweet delicata squash stuffed with lima beans and greens, steaming scalloped

potatoes, roasted chicken, lamb chunks stewed in spices and finally, apple crumble.

Kubas, a Santa Cruz native, is the founder and CEO of Lightfoot Industries. With a master’s degree in education, and an extensive background in the food and beverage industry as well as working with at-risk youth, her vision for the endeavor is to provide entrepreneurial training in a sustainable restaurant program which models social, environmental, and fiscal responsibility.

In collaboration with Delta High as well as Food, What?! the program supplements accredited coursework. The students work on a farm during the freshman year and in the restaurant during the final three. Part of the for-profit proceeds fund the nonprofit program, and the students bank money throughout high school to apply to their next level of education. The young adults will have gained a strong work ethic, marketable job skills, and personal skills.

When I think of sustainable restaurant management, I envision an emphasis on local, organic and sustainable foods, and green cleaning, waste and water-use practices, which are indeed an integral part of Lightfoot's program. Kubas says the restaurant industry attracts an emerging and relatively untrained workforce, so the concept of Sustainable Management includes skills and paths to advancement. The management style includes team leadership, democratizing ideas and decisions, and empowerment within the team.

Kubas emphasized that this is not a culinary school. The aims are to teach skills that are transferable to any aspiration from a real life laboratory of accomplishment as a team in the kitchen.

While there are only three more suppers this year, Lightfoot is available to cater your holiday parties. Imagine having Chef Jake and the competent kids light up your celebration!


Lightfoot Cafe, 1209 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz (previously Backstage Lounge), 234-9482. Taking online reservations for supper Saturday, Dec. 4, Saturday, Dec, 11, and Sunday, Dec. 17. Visit lightfootind.com.

Comments (1)Add Comment
Backstage Lounge is still open for business
written by Karen Petersen, December 09, 2010
Although I reported in this article that Lightfoot Cafe occupied the restaurant that was "previously Backstage Lounge," the space next to the Rio Theatre remains Backstage Lounge, and is still available to host your special parties and holiday dinners. Backstage's owner David Jackman (also of Chocolate) is collaborating with chef Mike Martinez and Lightfoot Industries for their upcoming suppers.

My sincere apologies to David Jackman and the staff of Backstage Lounge.
Karen

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Dancing In the Rain

District Attorney Bob Lee’s death in October stunned the Santa Cruz community, but he had battled cancer fiercely—and privately—for more than a decade. Now one of his closest friends reveals the remarkable inside story

 

Our Gifts - Fiery Sacrificial Lights to One Another

Wednesday is Christmas Eve, Hanukkah ends and the Moon is in Aquarius, calling for the new world to take shape at midnight. Thursday morning, the sun, at the Tropic of Capricorn, begins moving northward. The desire currents are stilled. A great benediction of spiritual force (Capricorn’s Rays 1, 3, 7) streams into Earth. Temple bells ring out. The heavens bend low; the Earth is lifted up to the Light. Angels and Archangels chant, “On Earth, peace, goodwill to all.” As these forces stream into the Earth they assume long swirling lines of light, in the likeness of the Madonna and Child. The holy child is born. Let our hearts be “impressed” with and hold this picture, especially because Christmas may be difficult this year. Christmas Day is void of course moon (v/c moon), which means we may feel somewhat disconnected from one another. It’s difficult to connect in a v/c moon. Try anyway. Mercury joins Pluto in Capricorn. Uh oh … we don’t bring up the past containing any dark and difficult issues. We are to attempt new ways of communicating—expressing aspirations and love for one another, replacing wounding, sadness, lostness, and hurts of the past. Play soothing music, pray together, have the intention for peace, harmony and goodwill. Don’t be surprised if things feel out of control and/or arguments arise. We remember, before a new harmony emerges, chaos and crisis come first to clear the air. We are to be the harmonizers. Christmas evening is more harmonious, less difficult, more of what Christmas should be— radiations of love, sharing, kindness, compassion and care. Sunday, Feast Day of the Holy Family, is surprising. Wednesday is New Year’s Eve, the last day of 2014. Taurus moon, a stabilizing energy, ushers in the New Year. Happy New Year, everyone! Peace to everyone. Let us realize we are gifts radiating diamond light to one another. Living sacrificial flames!

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Let My People Go

There’s a lot to like in Ridley Scott’s maligned ‘Exodus’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Best Bites of 2014

A look back at the year in good taste

 

What downtown business is good for both one-stop shopping and last-minute gifts?

The Homeless Garden Project store. Because it is a community effort and has really useful and beautiful things, and allows you to connect with a lot of folks who are doing great work in Santa Cruz. Miriam Greenberg, Santa Cruz, UCSC Professor

 

Vino Tabi Winery

One of Santa Cruz’s most happening areas to go wine tasting is in the westside’s Swift Street Courtyard complex. Ever since a group of about a dozen wineries got together and formed Surf City Vintners (SCV), the place has been a hive of activity, and a wine-tasting mecca. Adding to the mix is the lively Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing beer company—making Swift Street Courtyard a perfect spot for a glass of wine or a pitcher of ale.

 

Betty’s Eat Inn

Yes, she’s a real person; no, this isn’t her