Chef Dawn and her business partner Jess Kraus opened The Wild Thyme Company in 2005; with 10 years of culinary and management experience on her side, Chef Dawn was ready to put her passion to the test and showcase her amazing food and style at parties and events for San Diego's finest! Chef Dawn's culinary career was launched while attending the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco during which time she worked as a line cook at the prominent Sir Francis Drake Hotel. After graduating from culinary school in 1997, Chef Dawn returned home to Southern California and spent the next eight years growing into many different roles in various kitchens as Sous Chef, Executive Chef and Corporate Chef. Chef Dawn managed 11 restaurants with four different concepts within the Aloha Group, opened up the W Hotel and ran the cafe/catering at the prestigious Salk Institute. All of this exposure to different environments, endless challenges and a wide range of food concepts positioned Chef Dawn as the perfect candidate to succeed as an upscale caterer!
The Wild Thyme Company's strong staff of 21 people now caters and plans special events of all sizes, styles and cuisine all over the county on a daily basis. Chef Dawn is so proud to have her company be recognized as a preferred partner at some of the most prestigious venues in San Diego. In addition to her culinary and entrepreneurial prowess, Chef Dawn is also active in her community, serving on the board for the March of Dimes Signature Chef's Event.
Dawn and Reggie Parks happily reside in the college area of San Diego with their four children (aged 8 to 15) and two golden retrievers. When she is not cooking, working at events or making the rounds around town, you can find Chef Dawn either camping with her family or racing with San Diego Outrigger Canoe Club.
Born and raised in a small town in Minnesota, Julie Weiss moved to San Diego 17 years ago to experience a new culture and immediately found herself falling in love with California cuisine! Inspired by the variety of flavors, styles and boundless agricultural possibilities, Julie quickly wound up in a chef coat working alongside Chef Dawn Parks at the Salk Institute café (run at the time by The Wild Thyme Company Catering). Julie’s experience running the café in addition to her side work of selling home-baked goods to local businesses equipped her with adept culinary skills as well as the ability to be adaptable and creative. Julie has worked with The Wild Thyme Company for six years, bringing a passion for food as well as a cheerful attitude to the kitchen side of catering and event planning each and every day!
Julie loves the fast pace and the challenge of being a chef and dreams of one day opening a delicious taco food truck in Minnesota – she would love to bring the best of San Diego back home! When she’s not busy leading her wonderful crew at work, Chef Julie is probably walking her dog Melody, preparing amazing food for her vegan boyfriend Roger, or our enjoying all that San Diego has to offer!
Jeanna comes to The Wild Thyme Company with eight years of catering operations and event planning experience. She attended San Diego State University, receiving a Bachelors Degree in Sociology, and started her catering career at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club as the Assistant Catering Manager. There she planned special events, banquets, developed menus, and supervised serving operations and contract negotiations. Jeanna was employed at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis club for two years, until she received an opportunity to run the catering operations of Aztec Shops at San Diego State University. While at SDSU, Jeanna managed a staff of 30 employees who were responsible for all campus catering as well as catering special events at Cox Arena and Open Air Theater. The SDSU experience allowed Jeanna to sharpen her hospitality and project management skills.
An opportunity to work on the cutting edge of the service industry would soon follow for Jeanna, as she was hired in 2004 to coordinate catering for the new PETCO Park in Downtown San Diego. There, she was responsible for all pre and post game catering as well as all major functions in the off-season. Jeanna helped launch the service operations for one of the premier sporting venues in professional baseball.
Her pioneering spirit would eventually take center stage as she left PETCO Park to team up with Chef Dawn to create an innovative, refreshing new concept in catering, The Wild Thyme Company. With tenacity, imagination, vision and street smarts, Jeanna and Dawn were able to start a business from the ground up that is competitive with many other well-established San Diego catering companies. The Wild Thyme Company has given Jeanna the opportunity to showcase her creative flair for design and decor, as well as flawless execution of events every day!