Dawn Parks

Creator & Culinary Curator

Dawn Parks

Owner & Executive Chef

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.
Keith Lord

The Lord

Keith Lord

Director of Operations & 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.
Julie Weiss

Pinkie

Julie Weiss

Chef de Cuisine

Stillwater, Minnesota

"My culinary career began seven 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!
Liliaana Navarrete

Lily

Liliaana Navarrete

Sous Chef

Ensenada Baja California, Mexico

"After graduating from Johnson & Wales University in Miami, I worked everywhere to gain experience in all kinds of cuisine. Back in San Diego, I jumped in quickly to an executive chef position at Hotel La Jolla, then on to the W Hotel three years later, where I met Dawn. I'm so proud to be a part of this great company that she owns."

  • What I want to eat/drink right now: Crab and beer.
  • Fill in the blank: I'm prone to spontaneous loudness.
  • Favorite childhood yummy: Peruvian food.
  • My favorite aroma is: Any type of lily.
  • Why I'm a foodie: Because I love it!
Matt Brophy

Matteo

Matt Brophy

Sous Chef

Phoenix, Arizona

"I always loved food, even worked at a deli to make ends meet. However, it took a drastic move down to San Diego to get myself to get in a kitchen. That kitchen was at The Wild Thyme Company. I began as a prep cook, a grinder, with absolutely no understanding of what I was doing or why I was doing it. Before long, I was reminded: this is what I love and I will do forever. This epiphany sparked my enrollment in culinary school at San Diego Culinary Institute, subsequently being hired as an event and sous chef. Now, I'm fully enamored with the ideals of culinary arts."

  • What I want to eat/drink right now: Fried food or a burrito.
  • What I want to be when I grow up: A great parent with my wife, Kaylie.
  • Chew on this: Don't shy away from salt and fat.
  • Dark or milk chocolate: Dark, 89%.
  • Why I'm a foodie: Foie gras.
Carol Vo

Sunshine

Carol Vo

Pastry Chef

San Jose, California

"For most of my life, I've worked in the culinary industry. I've meet so many great chefs who give me a lot of motivation to get better at my job every day. I care about what I do and I try to do the best at everything I'm handed. I want people to see me as a hard worker."

  • What I want to eat/drink right now: Cookie Cup Sunday.
  • Favorite childhood food memory: When my dad made me eat snake.
  • Knife, fork, or spoon: Chopsticks.
  • Buzzword: Derp.
  • Why I'm a foodie: Because I love food and I love to start friendships with people through food. I find that food makes for great conversations.
Jeanna Grant

JG

Jeanna Grant

Director of Sales

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!
Rebecca Gaffney

Bek

Rebecca Gaffney

Sales & Marketing Siren

Buffalo, New York

"I'm a writer, event planner, and retired professional dancer who loves screaming rock music, coffee with a champagne chaser, and Dostoyevsky. I owe my love of food to my mother's pumpkin pie, my best friend's Italian family cooking, my other best friend's career as a professional chef, and attending graduate school in Washington D.C., where I ate in a different country (nearly) every night."

  • What I want to eat/drink right now: Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque with a Kobe beef burger.
  • My passion is: Word crafting.
  • Favorite food at 2:00am: Kraft Mac 'n Cheese.
  • I play air drums most to: Rush.
  • Why I'm a foodie: Because every major decision I've made in life has occurred after I've completed a well-balanced meal.
Kate Hendricks

K J Giggles

Kate Hendricks

Event & Sales Coordinator

St. Paul, Minnesota

"I'm a family girl and adore my friends, sports, and the great state of Minnesota. What do I love equally as much? Assisting in creating memories for clients. It's a thrill and so rewarding to see the final result come to life."

  • What I want to eat/drink right now: Gin martini (made with Hendricks, of course…).
  • Buzzword: You betcha.
  • I'll never, ever eat/drink: I'll be honest… there's not much.
  • The Oscar should go to: Denzel Washington. Always.
  • Why I'm a foodie: I love how food defines a region.
Eva Perez

The Great

Eva Perez

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.
Pek Sze Chan

The Awesome

Pek Sze Chan

Event Operations Manager

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!
Daisy Carvajal

Super Hero

Daisy Carvajal

Warehouse Operations Manager

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.
Adolfo Rodriguez

Guapo

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

Johnny

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.
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