Meet the Team

The Wild Thyme Company's Foodie Gang

  • Dawn Carvajal

    Dawn Carvajal

    Chief Foodie | CEO

    Alta Loma, California

    "When I was 21, I went to work for the Conservation Corps in Humboldt County. We were sent on a rainy assignment for several weeks. At one point during our work, I was approached by the kitchen supervisor to learn how to cook for the corps members. I agreed, and from then on spent my time learning how to cook, with free range to be as creative as I liked. Actually, that same supervisor was the one who took me down to San Francisco from Humboldt to see the California Culinary Academy, where I attended school and fell in love with food.

    When I created Wild Thyme in 2005, I'd been a sous chef, executive chef, and corporate chef; I'd managed 11 restaurants with four different concepts within the Aloha Group, had opened up the W Hotel in San Diego, and had run the café/catering for the prestigious Salk Institute. But the most important job I held, and continue to cherish, is that of mother to Gia, my daughter. It's from my want to spend time raising her with my passion for food that I created The Wild Thyme Company. I couldn't be prouder of my two babies."

    • What I want to eat/drink right now: Tacos and mojitos.
    • The love of my life is: My daughter, Gia.
    • Favorite childhood food memory: Making ravioli and chamelle (a yummy Italian anise bread) with my Grandma Berardinelli.
    • Fill in the blank: I'm prone to spontaneous dancing.
    • Why I'm a foodie: I'm totally obsessed with all things food and how flavors come together.
  • Daisy Carvajal

    Daisy Carvajal

    Director of Operations

    The Village of Dededo, Guam

    "Climbed coconut trees. Jumped off roofs of houses. BMX'd through construction sites. Battle breakdanced on cardboard. Designed and built architectural models. Athletic fitness directed. Coached outrigger paddling. And along the way, and in between, I fell in and out of love, singing and playing the uke and piano, always finding my way back to a table of loveable eats."

    • What I want to eat/drink right now: Spicy watermelon drink from my Russian friend at the farmer's market.
    • I started cooking when: I thought dirt was the main ingredient for mud pies.
    • Fill in the blank: I'm prone to spontaneous clown faces.
    • Chew on this: Sugar cane.
    • Why I'm a foodie: Because I'm a bottomless pit.
  • Keith Lord

    Keith Lord

    Director of Culinary

    Los Angeles, California

    "I credit my French-Canadian mother as instigating my lifelong passion and love of cooking. From my earliest childhood, I loved the kitchen. In my early twenties, a friend of mine owned a restaurant and I asked him for a job. From the first day, shelling shrimp, I knew it was my calling, my path! That's what lead me to the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont.

    I draw inspiration from the artwork I create and through anything visually stimulating. From doodles on cocktail napkins to "classically defined" art (whatever that means). By treating power dinning sessions as the true contact sport it truly is. I'm motivated by driving at frenetic speeds, amazingly loud music, social media, and anything random or completely unusual. I plan my travels based on the foods, cuisines, and restaurants I want to sample and have the curry stains on my passport to back that up. I like to spend time in the kitchens of other chefs, and enjoy being extremely well caffeinated. I love any new idea, even if it seems slightly or completely insane."

    • What I want to eat/drink right now: Chicken Tikka Masala…do you have some?
    • The love of my life is: My wife, Emily.
    • I started cooking when: I was five… you know, French Canadian and hungry.
    • What I want to be when I grow up: Guitar player in the Foo Fighters.
    • Why I'm a foodie: You know that Thai place in the back of the Churchill Arms Pub in Notting Hill, London? I do, and I'll take you there.
  • Eva Perez

    Eva Perez

    CFO | The Keeper of Books

    Los Angeles, California

    "I moved from Los Angeles to San Diego to become the first in my family to earn a Bachelor's degree. At the University of California, San Diego I studied history because I love learning about people and their cultures; I also studied accounting as I love numbers and problem solving. While working with The Wild Thyme Company, I've enjoyed being able to meet new people while being an event captain. I've also satisfied my appetite for numbers in the accounting department. I absolutely love the vegetarian food we serve (as I was raised a vegetarian), the teamwork we rely on, and the sustainable practices which we consistently incorporate."

    • What I want to eat/drink right now: Lentil soup and fresh baked bread with an iced tea.
    • The love of my life is: Eddie… and Nutella.
    • Favorite city/country to eat/drink my way through: Istanbul.
    • My passion is: To learn, specifically about world history.
    • Why I'm a foodie: Where there's food, there's smiles.
  • Jeanna Clark

    Jeanna Clark

    Director of Sales & Event Planning

    Lake Tahoe, California

    "I started working in the events industry in 2000 as a shy catering assistant but upon joining The Wild Thyme Company in 2005, everything changed and I haven't looked back. Two days are never the same when working for a catering company; we get to see some of the most beautiful homes in San Diego and work at some of the top venues. We're afforded the opportunity to build relationships with our clients and know that on some days we're delivering culinary goodness to thousands of San Diegans… I love it!"

    • What I want to eat/drink right now: Green juice and a chocolate chip cookie.
    • Buzzword: Oh hot damn!
    • I'll never, ever eat/drink: Cantaloupe.
    • What I want to be when I grow up: A certified dog trainer and community garden owner.
    • Why I'm a foodie: The Wild Thyme Company is a family, slightly insane at times… but we love who we serve, what we serve, and take pride in how we serve it. That's a foodie!
  • Esther Kim

    Esther Kim

    Event Planner

    Los Angeles, California

    I was born and raised in LA, felt like experiencing a new city and decided to make the move to San Diego.  Got my first pup, Foxy, down here and can’t imagine losing her.  I’ve worked at a lot of different places and found my passion in event planning.  Lucky for me, I came across TWTC and it was the perfect place to be.  Here I can learn more about food, beautiful venues in the city and experience all aspects of the planning process from start to finish.  I am so excited to grow with TWTC and am proud to be a part of the foodie fam bam.

    • My pet is named: Foxy Cleopatra Kim
    • Favorite childhood food memory:  Momma’s spaghetti
    • Favorite city/country to eat/drink my way through: San Francisco
    • Favorite childhood yummy: Spicy Rice Cake with Kimbap
    • Why I’m a foodie: I will try anything offered to me because I was taught to never turn down food.  Plus, food brings adventure and is always a conversation starter

  • Matthew Charder

    Matthew Charder

    Catering Sales Manager

    I was born and raised in Michigan until the age of 21 when I was told “move to the west, young man!” With nothing but a wine opener, a crumber, pants and a passion for food, wine and service, I moved to San Diego. I became a father to my beautiful daughter, learned to surf and started my love affair/career with food. I learned from and continue to work alongside some of the finest chefs, sommeliers and service professionals in the world.  With over 25 years of experience, I find myself more inspired than ever by the food, beverage and event industry. The appetizers have been delicious but I am ready for the main course. I have arrived at The Wild Thyme Company. I am home at last.

    • Book I can’t live without: “Afoot and Afield in San Diego”
    • Favorite city to eat my way through: San Francisco
    • What I would like to eat right now: U8 (huge) Scallops
    • Favorite Aroma: Truffle oil and garlic
    • Why I am a Foodie: I love that the scent and taste of foods can occasionally elicit memories long forgotten and feelings seldom felt. I love that food brings people together from all walks of life.
  • Vanna Santana

    Vanna Santana

    Event Planner

    Being two and a half centuries young, I am feeling extremely accomplished in my career and the path it is taking me. Not too many people my age really figure out what they want to do for a career and I’m pretty blessed to have found it so soon in my life. That along with my ultimate passion for fashion! By the way, my dog is also a blessing to me. He’s more like a human in my eyes because I really can have a full on conversations with him. Despite the fact that he probably doesn’t understand me, he’s a great at listener.  I’m thankful to have found the Wild Thyme Foodie gang because this work family has helped me reach my potential as an Event Planner.

    • My pet is named: Tony Baloney
    • The love of my life is: Chick-fil-A has my heart
    • Buzzword: Gucci
    • What I want to be when I grow up: My Mom
    • Why I’m a foodie: I’m a sucker for some good dessert
  • Carrie Garlejo

    Carrie Garlejo

    Catering Sales Manager

    I was born and raised in San Diego and now currently reside in North County.  I have three beautiful children, I sometimes call the oldest one my husband!  I love entertaining and wine tasting with friends. 

    After high school, I attended FIDM in Orange County and studied Merchandise Marketing.  Just like most in college, I got a job as a waitress and found out quickly that hospitality is where I wanted to be.  After planning my own wedding, I fell in love with the events industry!  Since then I’ve made it my mission to ensure that my clients have the most memorable experience of their lifetime because I love what I do and I’ve finally found a place here at Wild Thyme that shares the same passion!

    • Knife, fork, or spoon? My hands!
    • I’m inspired by: Successful Women!
    • My passion is: Food & Family
    • Favorite Aroma: Roasted Garlic
    • Why I’m a foodie: The unimaginable combinations of flavors and ingredients that can turn a normal dish into an amazing one, boggles my mind.  Plus, food brings people together!
  • Jen Hawley

    Jen Hawley

    Catering Sales Manager

    Immediately after High School I moved to San Diego with my closest friends and waited tables while earning my Bachelor’s Degree & Teaching Credential at SDSU.  After teaching for a short while I realized my heart was in the Hospitality industry and I accepted a job in events/sales booking weddings, corporate events, social events, holiday parties etc…. and fell in love with it and found my passion. After ten years with a great company I was ready for both a change and a new challenge which led me to The Wild Thyme Company where I already feel right at home.  I consider myself a fun & loving person with a big heart!  My dog Gracie has my whole heart – she is the biggest cuddle bug ever and can always cheer me up!

    • My pet is named: Gracie Mae
    • Favorite childhood food memory: Making Popcorn Balls with my Grandma
    • Favorite food at 2:00am: Grilled Cheese
    • Favorite Aroma: Ocean Air
    • Why I’m a foodie: The unimaginable combinations of flavors and ingredients that can turn a normal dish into an amazing one, boggles my mind.  Plus, food brings people together!
  • Valerie Bale

    Valerie Bale

    Project Planner

    For me, it’s as if God created food as a way to let me know he loves me. Not to say other things in my life lack its importance (like my family, of course), but food is usually at the center of it all. I always had this passionate theory that food was more than just sustenance, but it wasn’t until I chose a career in catering that I could actually nurture the obsession. As it turns out, the combination of an undying commitment to the food plus the loving support of a kick-ass family makes the most ideal life one could ever ask for!

    • I am inspired by: Kids that love to cook and eat
    • Favorite food an 2am: “Son of a beanchee” (bean and cheese calzone with carne asada-I made it up!)
    • My favorite aroma: Garlic butter
    • Favorite city to eat my way through: duh, Portland.
    • Why I am a foodie: If it’s not already obvious, I am obsessed with food!
  • Elizabeth Sopha

    Elizabeth Sopha

    Venue Manager | The bash! Boutique

    I am a Michigan native with strong roots. I am very proud of where I am from and how I was raised.

    After I graduated from Central Michigan University I moved to Phoenix. I had the great experience of working at the University Phoenix Stadium – since then I have worked in various areas of sports and events. Some may call me crazy, but 14+ hour days working an NFL football game or a One Direction concert get me so excited. I loved watching people’s mesmerized faces when they walked into 1.7 million square foot stadium, not to mention the energy on an event day is like nothing I’ve ever felt before.

    My love for people and events has brought me here to San Diego and working for The Wild Thyme Company has confirmed that food is the center of all events!

    • Favorite city to eat/drink my way through: Boston, Chowda and beer for days!
    • Buzzword: Go-getter
    • Favorite childhood yummy: My dad’s stovetop popcorn
    • My passion is: People and memorable experiences
    • Why I am a foodie: Nothing excites me more than a fun, passionate and team oriented workplace. Aside from having a passion for events, I have a passion for people and life experiences. I take pride in creating and preserving relationships.
  • Pek Sze Chan

    Pek Sze Chan

    Creator of Wild Thyme Experiences

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    "Standby, Lights, Music, SHOWTIME!!! The stage was where I grew up. I started in children's fashion and then become a dance choreographer/artistic director who also built a family-owned business to one of the top three dance companies in Malaysia. I ended my career in Malaysia as a professional performer for an eight-piece live band. In the United States, I continued my journey in the hospitality industry by working for SeaWorld as a supervisor in the culinary department, and a brand ambassador of Anheuser Busch Inc. I received my hotel and event management degrees from San Diego Mesa College, where I was valedictorian of my graduating class. I've worn many hats for The Wild Thyme Company, from server to operations manager. As service is my life blood, I tenaciously believe that there's no business like food business, and whatever happens, the service must go on."

    • What I want to eat/drink right now: Sushi
    • My passion is: Dance
    • Favorite food at 2:00am: Ramen noodles topped with eggs, veggies, and onions
    • Buzzwords: Awesome and Yes Ma'am!
    • Why I'm a foodie: Because of The Wild Thyme Company's amazing food!
  • Angelica Hill

    Angelica Hill

    Staffing Administrator

    I’ve been cooking since I was eight years old. Born in Mexico and the daughter of migrant farm workers, I was raised in beautiful San Diego and have worked for over twenty years in higher education. 

    While I loved working with students and assisting them in reaching their goals, my ultimate passion/hobby/love (you know what I mean) is event planning and cooking.  I dibble-dabbled on my time off, but it was never enough.  Guess what? I’ve been adopted into my new awesome foodie family, The Wild Thyme Company, where I will live, learn and gain my passion daily all while getting paid!  Life can’t get any better than that.

    • My pets are named: Pepe & Lefue
    • The love of my life is: my grandchildre
    • I’ll never, ever eat/drink: I eat everything!
    • Buzzword: For Reals??
    • Why I am a foodie: Because I love to cook big meals…and that’s the only way to get my daughters to visit
  • Julie Weiss

    Julie Weiss

    Chef de Cuisine

    Stillwater, Minnesota

    "My culinary career began 10 years ago when I wanted a major change in my life, and change meant food! I met Dawn and was invited to join the growing Wild Thyme Company, which quickly became my foodie family. The experience has given me so much; I feel more connected to the earth through the power of food and appreciate that with our work, we interact with different types of people, cultures, and communities. I'm thankful for my Minnesota upbringing and owe a lot to my parents, who I love dearly. I adore my boyfriend, Roger. Oh, and I'm obsessed my dog, Melody Ann."

    • What I want to eat/drink right now: Venison bacon
    • I play air guitar most to: Prince
    • I'll never, ever eat/drink: Never say never
    • Fill in the blank: Minnesota Lakes make my heart melt
    • Why I'm a foodie: Because my taste buds demand more!
  • John Mazzetti

    John Mazzetti

    Head Chef

    If I am not cooking, I’m probably gaming. If I am not gaming, I’m probably eating. If I am not eating, it must be one of the 4-6 hours that I actually sleep!
    I began my culinary training at the School of Hard Knocks in New York and continue it to this day. I came to San Diego for the weather, but the beer is a nice bonus!

    • What I want to eat/drink right now: Foie Gras and Bourbon
    • The love of my life is: Bacon (and my wife)
    • Favorite city to eat my way through: Hudson Valley, New York
    • I started cooking when: I could see over the stove
    • Why I am a foodie: because it is all I know
  • John Zidarevich

    John Zidarevich

    Purchaser | Sous Chef

    After graduating with honors from culinary school, I trained throughout California and the mid-West always staying in the culinary industry. In the past 20 years, I’ve been a Chef, Director of F & B, Buyer and a District Sales Representative and every day I realized that there was always more to learn.

    • Fill in the blanks: Green Curry #10 is spicy, bacon on anything is just plain naughty.
    • The love of my life is: My wife Joni & my children (Sydni , Zach, Skylar & Zeus)
    • I’ll never, ever eat/drink: Life’s short….try it all once!
    • Chew on this: “Life is a journey not a destination”
    • Why I’m a foodie: Food is a way to show love and creativity
  • Vicky Scully

    Vicky Scully

    Pastry Chef

    I'm a badass baker born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. After a lifetime of blizzards on my birthday, I decided it was time to move to paradise – So here I am! I've been baking professionally for about 5 years, with a focus on Italian American baking with a Californian influence. If you bring me a good bagel and some coffee I'll be your best friend forever.

    • I’ll never, ever eat/drink: A plain egg. No sir. No, thank you.
    • Favorite childhood yummy: A cannoli from Ferrara's in Little Italy NYC
    • Book I can’t live without: Julia Child's Baking with Julia, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
    • Chew on this: The next time you're in OB, get a pretzel cone with espresso ice cream and chocolate sprinkles at Lighthouse Ice Cream
    • Why I’m a foodie: Italians grow up in the kitchen
  • Adolfo Rodriguez

    Adolfo Rodriguez

    Captain

    Bogota, Colombia

    "Love your neighbor, love yourself."

    • What I want to eat/drink right now: My green shake.
    • The loves of my life are: Stephany and Jennifer, my daughters.
    • Favorite childhood yummy: My mother's cooking… the best!
    • My passions are: Soccer and running.
    • Why I'm a foodie: Because it's a pleasure to do my job.
  • John O'Mara

    John O'Mara

    Captain

    Pine Valley, California

    "I started work when I was 16, working in a diner as a dishwasher. I moved up to busser, then waiter… even short order cook. I've barely stopped working since. I've driven a delivery truck, managed a call center, and shot promotional videos for a hypnotist."

    • What I want to eat/drink right now: Mexican food with a Cadillac margarita.
    • My passion is: Photography.
    • My favorite aroma is: Onions and garlic sautéing.
    • I play air guitar most to: The Black Keys.
    • Why I'm a foodie: I love working for a company that makes awesome food that I can be proud to serve. I love working with the greatest group of coworkers who always keep me going, always make me laugh, and, most of all, make me feel part of a big family.

    Staff Photos Taken By John O'Mara Photography

  • Andrew Valente

    Andrew Valente

    Captain

    I am originally from Boston, but grew up a Navy brat in Japan and Spain. I love travelling, new adventures and delicious food. The energy and excitement I gain from these experiences is something I enjoy sharing with other people.

    • What I want to eat right now: Street tacos
    • Favorite childhood memory: Skipping school to eat sushi in Japan
    • I am inspired by: My parents. Best people I know.
    • Favorite childhood yummy: Ramen
    • Why I am a foodie: I love trying new and delicious foods.

Dawn Carvajal

Dawn Carvajal

Dawn Carvajal

Chief Foodie | CEO

Alta Loma, California

"When I was 21, I went to work for the Conservation Corps in Humboldt County. We were sent on a rainy assignment for several weeks. At one point during our work, I was approached by the kitchen supervisor to learn how to cook for the corps members. I agreed, and from then on spent my time learning how to cook, with free range to be as creative as I liked. Actually, that same supervisor was the one who took me down to San Francisco from Humboldt to see the California Culinary Academy, where I attended school and fell in love with food.

When I created Wild Thyme in 2005, I'd been a sous chef, executive chef, and corporate chef; I'd managed 11 restaurants with four different concepts within the Aloha Group, had opened up the W Hotel in San Diego, and had run the café/catering for the prestigious Salk Institute. But the most important job I held, and continue to cherish, is that of mother to Gia, my daughter. It's from my want to spend time raising her with my passion for food that I created The Wild Thyme Company. I couldn't be prouder of my two babies."

  • What I want to eat/drink right now: Tacos and mojitos.
  • The love of my life is: My daughter, Gia.
  • Favorite childhood food memory: Making ravioli and chamelle (a yummy Italian anise bread) with my Grandma Berardinelli.
  • Fill in the blank: I'm prone to spontaneous dancing.
  • Why I'm a foodie: I'm totally obsessed with all things food and how flavors come together.

Daisy Carvajal

Daisy Carvajal

Daisy Carvajal

Director of Operations

The Village of Dededo, Guam

"Climbed coconut trees. Jumped off roofs of houses. BMX'd through construction sites. Battle breakdanced on cardboard. Designed and built architectural models. Athletic fitness directed. Coached outrigger paddling. And along the way, and in between, I fell in and out of love, singing and playing the uke and piano, always finding my way back to a table of loveable eats."

  • What I want to eat/drink right now: Spicy watermelon drink from my Russian friend at the farmer's market.
  • I started cooking when: I thought dirt was the main ingredient for mud pies.
  • Fill in the blank: I'm prone to spontaneous clown faces.
  • Chew on this: Sugar cane.
  • Why I'm a foodie: Because I'm a bottomless pit.

Keith Lord

Keith Lord

Keith Lord

Director of Culinary

Los Angeles, California

"I credit my French-Canadian mother as instigating my lifelong passion and love of cooking. From my earliest childhood, I loved the kitchen. In my early twenties, a friend of mine owned a restaurant and I asked him for a job. From the first day, shelling shrimp, I knew it was my calling, my path! That's what lead me to the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont.

I draw inspiration from the artwork I create and through anything visually stimulating. From doodles on cocktail napkins to "classically defined" art (whatever that means). By treating power dinning sessions as the true contact sport it truly is. I'm motivated by driving at frenetic speeds, amazingly loud music, social media, and anything random or completely unusual. I plan my travels based on the foods, cuisines, and restaurants I want to sample and have the curry stains on my passport to back that up. I like to spend time in the kitchens of other chefs, and enjoy being extremely well caffeinated. I love any new idea, even if it seems slightly or completely insane."

  • What I want to eat/drink right now: Chicken Tikka Masala…do you have some?
  • The love of my life is: My wife, Emily.
  • I started cooking when: I was five… you know, French Canadian and hungry.
  • What I want to be when I grow up: Guitar player in the Foo Fighters.
  • Why I'm a foodie: You know that Thai place in the back of the Churchill Arms Pub in Notting Hill, London? I do, and I'll take you there.

Eva Perez

Eva Perez

Eva Perez

CFO | The Keeper of Books

Los Angeles, California

"I moved from Los Angeles to San Diego to become the first in my family to earn a Bachelor's degree. At the University of California, San Diego I studied history because I love learning about people and their cultures; I also studied accounting as I love numbers and problem solving. While working with The Wild Thyme Company, I've enjoyed being able to meet new people while being an event captain. I've also satisfied my appetite for numbers in the accounting department. I absolutely love the vegetarian food we serve (as I was raised a vegetarian), the teamwork we rely on, and the sustainable practices which we consistently incorporate."

  • What I want to eat/drink right now: Lentil soup and fresh baked bread with an iced tea.
  • The love of my life is: Eddie… and Nutella.
  • Favorite city/country to eat/drink my way through: Istanbul.
  • My passion is: To learn, specifically about world history.
  • Why I'm a foodie: Where there's food, there's smiles.

Jeanna Clark

Jeanna Clark

Jeanna Clark

Director of Sales & Event Planning

Lake Tahoe, California

"I started working in the events industry in 2000 as a shy catering assistant but upon joining The Wild Thyme Company in 2005, everything changed and I haven't looked back. Two days are never the same when working for a catering company; we get to see some of the most beautiful homes in San Diego and work at some of the top venues. We're afforded the opportunity to build relationships with our clients and know that on some days we're delivering culinary goodness to thousands of San Diegans… I love it!"

  • What I want to eat/drink right now: Green juice and a chocolate chip cookie.
  • Buzzword: Oh hot damn!
  • I'll never, ever eat/drink: Cantaloupe.
  • What I want to be when I grow up: A certified dog trainer and community garden owner.
  • Why I'm a foodie: The Wild Thyme Company is a family, slightly insane at times… but we love who we serve, what we serve, and take pride in how we serve it. That's a foodie!

Esther Kim

Esther Kim

Esther Kim

Event Planner

Los Angeles, California

I was born and raised in LA, felt like experiencing a new city and decided to make the move to San Diego.  Got my first pup, Foxy, down here and can’t imagine losing her.  I’ve worked at a lot of different places and found my passion in event planning.  Lucky for me, I came across TWTC and it was the perfect place to be.  Here I can learn more about food, beautiful venues in the city and experience all aspects of the planning process from start to finish.  I am so excited to grow with TWTC and am proud to be a part of the foodie fam bam.

  • My pet is named: Foxy Cleopatra Kim
  • Favorite childhood food memory:  Momma’s spaghetti
  • Favorite city/country to eat/drink my way through: San Francisco
  • Favorite childhood yummy: Spicy Rice Cake with Kimbap
  • Why I’m a foodie: I will try anything offered to me because I was taught to never turn down food.  Plus, food brings adventure and is always a conversation starter

Matthew Charder

Matthew Charder

Matthew Charder

Catering Sales Manager

I was born and raised in Michigan until the age of 21 when I was told “move to the west, young man!” With nothing but a wine opener, a crumber, pants and a passion for food, wine and service, I moved to San Diego. I became a father to my beautiful daughter, learned to surf and started my love affair/career with food. I learned from and continue to work alongside some of the finest chefs, sommeliers and service professionals in the world.  With over 25 years of experience, I find myself more inspired than ever by the food, beverage and event industry. The appetizers have been delicious but I am ready for the main course. I have arrived at The Wild Thyme Company. I am home at last.

  • Book I can’t live without: “Afoot and Afield in San Diego”
  • Favorite city to eat my way through: San Francisco
  • What I would like to eat right now: U8 (huge) Scallops
  • Favorite Aroma: Truffle oil and garlic
  • Why I am a Foodie: I love that the scent and taste of foods can occasionally elicit memories long forgotten and feelings seldom felt. I love that food brings people together from all walks of life.

Vanna Santana

Vanna Santana

Vanna Santana

Event Planner

Being two and a half centuries young, I am feeling extremely accomplished in my career and the path it is taking me. Not too many people my age really figure out what they want to do for a career and I’m pretty blessed to have found it so soon in my life. That along with my ultimate passion for fashion! By the way, my dog is also a blessing to me. He’s more like a human in my eyes because I really can have a full on conversations with him. Despite the fact that he probably doesn’t understand me, he’s a great at listener.  I’m thankful to have found the Wild Thyme Foodie gang because this work family has helped me reach my potential as an Event Planner.

  • My pet is named: Tony Baloney
  • The love of my life is: Chick-fil-A has my heart
  • Buzzword: Gucci
  • What I want to be when I grow up: My Mom
  • Why I’m a foodie: I’m a sucker for some good dessert

Carrie Garlejo

Carrie Garlejo

Carrie Garlejo

Catering Sales Manager

I was born and raised in San Diego and now currently reside in North County.  I have three beautiful children, I sometimes call the oldest one my husband!  I love entertaining and wine tasting with friends. 

After high school, I attended FIDM in Orange County and studied Merchandise Marketing.  Just like most in college, I got a job as a waitress and found out quickly that hospitality is where I wanted to be.  After planning my own wedding, I fell in love with the events industry!  Since then I’ve made it my mission to ensure that my clients have the most memorable experience of their lifetime because I love what I do and I’ve finally found a place here at Wild Thyme that shares the same passion!

  • Knife, fork, or spoon? My hands!
  • I’m inspired by: Successful Women!
  • My passion is: Food & Family
  • Favorite Aroma: Roasted Garlic
  • Why I’m a foodie: The unimaginable combinations of flavors and ingredients that can turn a normal dish into an amazing one, boggles my mind.  Plus, food brings people together!

Jen Hawley

Jen Hawley

Jen Hawley

Catering Sales Manager

Immediately after High School I moved to San Diego with my closest friends and waited tables while earning my Bachelor’s Degree & Teaching Credential at SDSU.  After teaching for a short while I realized my heart was in the Hospitality industry and I accepted a job in events/sales booking weddings, corporate events, social events, holiday parties etc…. and fell in love with it and found my passion. After ten years with a great company I was ready for both a change and a new challenge which led me to The Wild Thyme Company where I already feel right at home.  I consider myself a fun & loving person with a big heart!  My dog Gracie has my whole heart – she is the biggest cuddle bug ever and can always cheer me up!

  • My pet is named: Gracie Mae
  • Favorite childhood food memory: Making Popcorn Balls with my Grandma
  • Favorite food at 2:00am: Grilled Cheese
  • Favorite Aroma: Ocean Air
  • Why I’m a foodie: The unimaginable combinations of flavors and ingredients that can turn a normal dish into an amazing one, boggles my mind.  Plus, food brings people together!

Valerie Bale

Valerie Bale

Valerie Bale

Project Planner

For me, it’s as if God created food as a way to let me know he loves me. Not to say other things in my life lack its importance (like my family, of course), but food is usually at the center of it all. I always had this passionate theory that food was more than just sustenance, but it wasn’t until I chose a career in catering that I could actually nurture the obsession. As it turns out, the combination of an undying commitment to the food plus the loving support of a kick-ass family makes the most ideal life one could ever ask for!

  • I am inspired by: Kids that love to cook and eat
  • Favorite food an 2am: “Son of a beanchee” (bean and cheese calzone with carne asada-I made it up!)
  • My favorite aroma: Garlic butter
  • Favorite city to eat my way through: duh, Portland.
  • Why I am a foodie: If it’s not already obvious, I am obsessed with food!

Elizabeth Sopha

Elizabeth Sopha

Elizabeth Sopha

Venue Manager | The bash! Boutique

I am a Michigan native with strong roots. I am very proud of where I am from and how I was raised.

After I graduated from Central Michigan University I moved to Phoenix. I had the great experience of working at the University Phoenix Stadium – since then I have worked in various areas of sports and events. Some may call me crazy, but 14+ hour days working an NFL football game or a One Direction concert get me so excited. I loved watching people’s mesmerized faces when they walked into 1.7 million square foot stadium, not to mention the energy on an event day is like nothing I’ve ever felt before.

My love for people and events has brought me here to San Diego and working for The Wild Thyme Company has confirmed that food is the center of all events!

  • Favorite city to eat/drink my way through: Boston, Chowda and beer for days!
  • Buzzword: Go-getter
  • Favorite childhood yummy: My dad’s stovetop popcorn
  • My passion is: People and memorable experiences
  • Why I am a foodie: Nothing excites me more than a fun, passionate and team oriented workplace. Aside from having a passion for events, I have a passion for people and life experiences. I take pride in creating and preserving relationships.

Pek Sze Chan

Pek Sze Chan

Pek Sze Chan

Creator of Wild Thyme Experiences

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

"Standby, Lights, Music, SHOWTIME!!! The stage was where I grew up. I started in children's fashion and then become a dance choreographer/artistic director who also built a family-owned business to one of the top three dance companies in Malaysia. I ended my career in Malaysia as a professional performer for an eight-piece live band. In the United States, I continued my journey in the hospitality industry by working for SeaWorld as a supervisor in the culinary department, and a brand ambassador of Anheuser Busch Inc. I received my hotel and event management degrees from San Diego Mesa College, where I was valedictorian of my graduating class. I've worn many hats for The Wild Thyme Company, from server to operations manager. As service is my life blood, I tenaciously believe that there's no business like food business, and whatever happens, the service must go on."

  • What I want to eat/drink right now: Sushi
  • My passion is: Dance
  • Favorite food at 2:00am: Ramen noodles topped with eggs, veggies, and onions
  • Buzzwords: Awesome and Yes Ma'am!
  • Why I'm a foodie: Because of The Wild Thyme Company's amazing food!

Angelica Hill

Angelica Hill

Angelica Hill

Staffing Administrator

I’ve been cooking since I was eight years old. Born in Mexico and the daughter of migrant farm workers, I was raised in beautiful San Diego and have worked for over twenty years in higher education. 

While I loved working with students and assisting them in reaching their goals, my ultimate passion/hobby/love (you know what I mean) is event planning and cooking.  I dibble-dabbled on my time off, but it was never enough.  Guess what? I’ve been adopted into my new awesome foodie family, The Wild Thyme Company, where I will live, learn and gain my passion daily all while getting paid!  Life can’t get any better than that.

  • My pets are named: Pepe & Lefue
  • The love of my life is: my grandchildre
  • I’ll never, ever eat/drink: I eat everything!
  • Buzzword: For Reals??
  • Why I am a foodie: Because I love to cook big meals…and that’s the only way to get my daughters to visit

Julie Weiss

Julie Weiss

Julie Weiss

Chef de Cuisine

Stillwater, Minnesota

"My culinary career began 10 years ago when I wanted a major change in my life, and change meant food! I met Dawn and was invited to join the growing Wild Thyme Company, which quickly became my foodie family. The experience has given me so much; I feel more connected to the earth through the power of food and appreciate that with our work, we interact with different types of people, cultures, and communities. I'm thankful for my Minnesota upbringing and owe a lot to my parents, who I love dearly. I adore my boyfriend, Roger. Oh, and I'm obsessed my dog, Melody Ann."

  • What I want to eat/drink right now: Venison bacon
  • I play air guitar most to: Prince
  • I'll never, ever eat/drink: Never say never
  • Fill in the blank: Minnesota Lakes make my heart melt
  • Why I'm a foodie: Because my taste buds demand more!

John Mazzetti

John Mazzetti

John Mazzetti

Head Chef

If I am not cooking, I’m probably gaming. If I am not gaming, I’m probably eating. If I am not eating, it must be one of the 4-6 hours that I actually sleep!
I began my culinary training at the School of Hard Knocks in New York and continue it to this day. I came to San Diego for the weather, but the beer is a nice bonus!

  • What I want to eat/drink right now: Foie Gras and Bourbon
  • The love of my life is: Bacon (and my wife)
  • Favorite city to eat my way through: Hudson Valley, New York
  • I started cooking when: I could see over the stove
  • Why I am a foodie: because it is all I know

John Zidarevich

John Zidarevich

John Zidarevich

Purchaser | Sous Chef

After graduating with honors from culinary school, I trained throughout California and the mid-West always staying in the culinary industry. In the past 20 years, I’ve been a Chef, Director of F & B, Buyer and a District Sales Representative and every day I realized that there was always more to learn.

  • Fill in the blanks: Green Curry #10 is spicy, bacon on anything is just plain naughty.
  • The love of my life is: My wife Joni & my children (Sydni , Zach, Skylar & Zeus)
  • I’ll never, ever eat/drink: Life’s short….try it all once!
  • Chew on this: “Life is a journey not a destination”
  • Why I’m a foodie: Food is a way to show love and creativity

Vicky Scully

Vicky Scully

Vicky Scully

Pastry Chef

I'm a badass baker born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. After a lifetime of blizzards on my birthday, I decided it was time to move to paradise – So here I am! I've been baking professionally for about 5 years, with a focus on Italian American baking with a Californian influence. If you bring me a good bagel and some coffee I'll be your best friend forever.

  • I’ll never, ever eat/drink: A plain egg. No sir. No, thank you.
  • Favorite childhood yummy: A cannoli from Ferrara's in Little Italy NYC
  • Book I can’t live without: Julia Child's Baking with Julia, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • Chew on this: The next time you're in OB, get a pretzel cone with espresso ice cream and chocolate sprinkles at Lighthouse Ice Cream
  • Why I’m a foodie: Italians grow up in the kitchen

Adolfo Rodriguez

Adolfo Rodriguez

Adolfo Rodriguez

Captain

Bogota, Colombia

"Love your neighbor, love yourself."

  • What I want to eat/drink right now: My green shake.
  • The loves of my life are: Stephany and Jennifer, my daughters.
  • Favorite childhood yummy: My mother's cooking… the best!
  • My passions are: Soccer and running.
  • Why I'm a foodie: Because it's a pleasure to do my job.

John O'Mara

John O'Mara

John O'Mara

Captain

Pine Valley, California

"I started work when I was 16, working in a diner as a dishwasher. I moved up to busser, then waiter… even short order cook. I've barely stopped working since. I've driven a delivery truck, managed a call center, and shot promotional videos for a hypnotist."

  • What I want to eat/drink right now: Mexican food with a Cadillac margarita.
  • My passion is: Photography.
  • My favorite aroma is: Onions and garlic sautéing.
  • I play air guitar most to: The Black Keys.
  • Why I'm a foodie: I love working for a company that makes awesome food that I can be proud to serve. I love working with the greatest group of coworkers who always keep me going, always make me laugh, and, most of all, make me feel part of a big family.

Staff Photos Taken By John O'Mara Photography

Andrew Valente

Andrew Valente

Andrew Valente

Captain

I am originally from Boston, but grew up a Navy brat in Japan and Spain. I love travelling, new adventures and delicious food. The energy and excitement I gain from these experiences is something I enjoy sharing with other people.

  • What I want to eat right now: Street tacos
  • Favorite childhood memory: Skipping school to eat sushi in Japan
  • I am inspired by: My parents. Best people I know.
  • Favorite childhood yummy: Ramen
  • Why I am a foodie: I love trying new and delicious foods.
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VISIT

The Wild Thyme Company
7163 Construction Ct.
Suite B

San Diego, CA 92121

CONTACT

  • P | 858.527.0226

  • F | 858.527.0296

  • Email

  • Office Hours
    M-S 8am - 4pm

  • Office is closed on Sundays, but we are always ready to party!

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