Leadership Team

Leadership Team

Andrea White


Andrea White

Andrea is the founder and organizer of this project. A home cook and baker dedicated to making the world a friendlier place!!
Michael Hodgkins


Michael Hodgins

Michael Hodgins had a humble start in the restaurant industry when he began washing dishes at a country club in upstate New York at 15 years old. Today, Chef Hodgins is director of the sustainable foods systems program at Rio Salado College. He is a graduate of the Scottsdale Culinary Institute and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University at Albany and a master’s degree from Northern Arizona University. His leadership on this project has led to the formulation of a nutritious and delicious product.

Executive Chef / Instructor Café at Rio

Ken Ballas

Ken Ballas’s passion for cooking arose from watching his mother prepare nightly dinners while he finished his homework at the kitchen counter. Years later he has served as a restaurant chef and now serves as executive chef and instructor at the Rio Café.
A man

Catering Manager Cafe at Rio

Dominic Romero

Dominic Romero literally grew up in the restaurant business working in his family’s restaurant at an early age. This real-world experience taught him the ins and outs of the food industry. Today as the Catering Manager at Café Rio, Dominic combines his chef and catering management skills with his love for healthy and sustainable foods.

Curtis Ritland

Curt is a long-time tempe resident and community volunteer and is a key leader in this project.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to planning committee members Jo Lewis, Dan Abbott and Linda Ritland. Their commitment and compassion has helped to make this project possible. Also special thanks to Karen Maish, former computer instructor at Gateway College, pickleball and golf master for building this website.