Team

Laura Dewell

Founder and Executive Director

Laura has been cooking and working in the culinary world for 25 years. She has owned and operated multiple restaurants, including Pirosmani in Seattle, taught cooking privately and through culinary schools and culinary programs around Seattle. She has been a private chef and placed chefs into private homes; consulted on many different levels; worked for a stone hearth oven company as educator and coordinator; created a cooking school within a cooking store; worked as cook, sous chef and executive chef for many restaurants; and has done a great deal of catering throughout her entire career. Laura has worked with elementary and middle school children and has taught child-focused cooking classes for the last 10 years. With a Bachelors degree in Child Psychology from the University of Oregon, Laura went on instead to become a chef. Today she enjoys working with youth and their families, digging in the dirt and stirring a pot of soup. Contact: laurad@greenplatespecial.org

Jeff Konkle

Jeff Konkle

Garden Coordinator

Jeff Konkle has been cooking in restaurants for over 20 years.  He has been a sous chef, a chef, and a line cook in kitchens large and small.  His palate is exquisite, his knowledge of various traditional cuisines unsurpassed.  He appeared on Iron Chef America, where he battled Bobby Flay. His interest in cooking can be traced back to his parent’s first garden, where at the tender age of 7, he was introduced to sun-ripened sugars in the form of a freshly shelled English pea. This is one of the early memories that inspired in this boy the wonder of growing things; that fueled the desire in this young budding chef to coax the innate goodness out of farm fresh produce (as it cooks in a pan or boils in a pot) later in life as a career. Jeff has cooked this childlike sense of wonder into thousands of dishes for unwitting guests over the years, and on the meager salary of a cook, he learned a thing or two about gardening along the way.  Several gardens, compost piles, and worm bins later, he hopes to inspire in others the art of the table as well as the art of growing a tasty tomato or chili in the great Northwest.

Claudia Williams

Claudia Williams

Operations Coordinator

Claudia loves to take care of people, learn something new every day and instill her passion for learning in others. Originally from Germany, she has lived in Florida and Georgia and has moved to Seattle two years ago with her husband and three teenage children. With a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology Claudia is passionate about all aspects of food in our society – how we grow it, buy it, prepare it, and eat it. She loves to explore the beautiful diversity of the Pacific Northwest and looks to bring excitement to the mundane and everyday chores in our lives.

Contact: claudiaw@greenplatespecial.org

Maia-Bernstein

Maia Bernstein

Program Educator

Originally from New York, Maia graduated from Oberlin College in 2009 with a BA in East Asian Studies and Religion. She lived in China and Taiwan for two years, first playing music in an indie-folk band, and then on a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English. Since returning to the States, Maia has taught environmental and garden education in Vermont at Shelburne Farms and Green Mountain Farm-to-School, where she cultivated her passion for inquiry-based, outdoor education. Maia has a Masters of Education, Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Washington. She completed the first year of her program as a graduate student and instructor at IslandWood on Bainbridge Island, where she earned a certificate in Education for Environment and Community. When Maia’s not cooking, gardening, or tending to her kombucha scoby, you will find her bicycling and backpacking through the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Contact: maiab@greenplatespecial.org

Board of Directors

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Stephanie Beack

Board President

Stephanie Beack has been a member of the Green Plate Special Board of Directors since 2013, and has served as Board President since spring 2014. Stephanie has worked nearly 20 years in the software and technology industry and currently works for software company Elastic, as Global Head of Customer Engagement. She owned and operated a private cooking school in New York City called Scrumptious Street, and now teaches private in-home cooking classes.  She moved to Seattle in 2011 to follow her husband on a grand career adventure and re-establish a life connected to nature. She likes to log serious time on downhill skiing runs, golf courses, hiking trails, stand-up paddleboards on the Puget Sound and digging in gardens and flower beds.

Amy Theobald

Amy Theobald

Vice President & Treasurer

Amy Theobald joined the Green Plate Special Board of Directors as Treasurer in April 2014.  Amy has worked as an IT Project Manager since 1999.  She founded her own consulting business, Theo’s Logic LLC, in 2010 and now focuses on software development and third-party software implementation projects for Seattle-based companies. Prior to joining the board, Amy volunteered with Green Plate Special for a year and a half in the garden and with a number of after-school programs. She was introduced to fresh garden vegetables in her family’s backyard in Oklahoma, and has tended her own garden in Seattle since 1995.

Claire Mitchell

Claire Mitchell

Secretary

Claire Mitchell joined the Green Plate Special board in April 2015. Although Claire was born and raised in Queens, New York, she has been living and working in Seattle since 2011. Claire is a business transactional and regulatory attorney at Stoel Rives LLP where she focuses her practice on the food, beverage and agricultural industries. Prior to moving to Seattle, she spent several months attending a Master of Laws program at the University of Arkansas in Food and Agricultural Law where she studied the laws and regulations governing the food system from farm to fork. Despite growing up in an urban center, Claire fondly remembers the small backyard where her family grew tomatoes, corn and herbs during the summer. Her love of gardening and food has endured. In her spare time, Claire enjoys mountaineering, volunteering with Washington Trails Association and sharing a meal with friends.

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Shelley McIntyre

Shelley McIntyre joined the board of Green Plate Special in spring of 2014, and is an active volunteer in youth programming. A Seattle native, Shelley has an M.S. in nutrition education from the University of Washington, and worked as a nutritionist in community health clinics for 20 years. Her personal commitment is to teach young people how to eat for their health, and to build community awareness of our need to eat real, whole food for optimal health. Since 1997, she has owned and managed commercial real estate. Shelley is married with two adult children. She loves to ride bikes with friends, practice yoga, cross country ski, and work in her garden.

Brian Lawrence

Brian Lawrence

Brian Lawrence joined the Green Plate Special board in January 2015. He brings fifteen years of non-profit experience and currently serves as the Director of Development and Administration at The Mockingbird Society. Previously he was Director of Donor Stewardship at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, as well as Sponsorship & Promotions Manager at Pacific Science Center. Prior to his nonprofit career, Brian spent five years in professional auto racing, overseeing marketing operations for PacWest Racing Group and television broadcasting for Championship Auto Racing Teams. Brian has a Masters in Nonprofit Leadership from Seattle University and a B.A. in business management. In his free time, Brian enjoys outdoor activities near Mt. Baker and cooking/entertaining.

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Joanne Herron

Joanne Herron has been in the restaurant and service industry since 1988. Her love and passion for food and wine began in her early 20s, after a year-long trip to Europe, which sparked an interest in all things related to the art of the table. While working for a dozen years at The Ruins and its predecessor, Market Place Caterers, in nearly every capacity under her mentor, Joe McDonnal, Joanne learned an enormous amount about food service and the joy of creating special moments through catered events. She is Co-owner with James Drohman to Le Pichet (2000-current) and Café Presse (2007-current) Joanne still serves as Service and Wine Director for both businesses. She continues to travel extensively in France, seeking out traditional wines from lesser known regions. While earning her degree in Communications from the University of Washington, Joanne worked as a horticulturist and florist. She continues to be an avid gardener, floral arranger and decent home cook.

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Maggie Hooks

Maggie Hooks joined the Green Plate Special board in March of 2016. She is a retired physician and community volunteer, with a long history of interest in cooking, food, food justice, health impacts of diet, and the environmental impact of food production. She previously served on the boards of On the Boards and Sightline Institute, and has been a member of the Washington Women’s Foundation for many years. Maggie lives in Madrona with her two children and cooks, plays music, and gets outside as much as she can.

Dan Crookston

Dan Crookston joined the Green Plate Special Board of Directors in February of 2017. Dan grew up working soil and tending plants alongside his grandparents as they managed nearly 400 acres of farm and grazing land in southeastern Ohio. His work with at-risk youth began as a regular youth counselor at the Akron Urban League under the influential civil rights leader Vernon Odom. During college, Dan worked with former Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his mother, Sue, at her celebrated after school program on the southside of Chicago where a real disconnect between soil, seed and the food we eat became evident. In the time since, Dan has worked in IT and with restaurants, enjoying roles at Microsoft, Hornall Anderson Design and most recently Amazon.com restaurants. Dan completed an organic farming apprenticeship with M.O.F.G.A in 2005 and received his permaculture one certificate in 2012 from Seven-Ravens Permaculture Academy. Dan lives in Seattle with his wife Renee Erickson and their dog, Mr. Arlo.

ADVISORY BOARD

Mark Torrance
Martin Pagel
Julian C Dewell, Attorney
Renee Willette