Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Apr 18th
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

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?