Meet Our Team



Daniel Patterson
Founder and Executive Chef

Daniel Patterson is a chef, restaurateur, and food writer. Born in Massachusetts, Patterson moved to California in 1989. In 1994, when he was 25 years old, he opened his first restaurant in Sonoma, Babette’s. In 2000, he opened Elisabeth Daniel in San Francisco, and it was nominated “Best New Restaurant” by the James Beard Foundation in 2001.

Patterson’s restaurant group, DPG, now oversees four locations: Coi (2006) and Alta CA (2013) in San Francisco, Plum Bar + Restaurant (2010) and Haven (2011) in Oakland. His flagship, two Michelin star restaurant, Coi, mixes modern culinary techniques with local ingredients to create dishes that speak of place, memory and emotion. This approach has earned him a worldwide reputation as a pioneer of a new kind of California cuisine. Patterson is also the co-founder of The Cooking Project, a non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to teaching kids and young adults fundamental cooking skills. Most recently, Patterson has teamed up with LA chef Roy Choi (Kogi, Pot, and Commissary) to launch a fast-food chain called Loco’l. Loco’l “aims to supplant the fast-food chains and convenience stores that separate our youth from the taste of real food.” The first outpost will open in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood in spring 2015 followed by a second location in LA. The duo plans on rolling out additional locations in food deserts first across California and then across the US.

Patterson has received numerous awards and accolades, including “Best New Chef” by Food & Wine Magazine in 1997 and “Chef of the Year” by San Francisco Magazine in 2007. In spring of 2014, Coi was recognized among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants (#49) and Daniel was awarded “Best Chef: West” by the James Beard Foundation. Patterson’s food writing has been published in The New York Times, Food & Wine, Financial Times, San Francisco Magazine, and Lucky Peach. In 2004, he co-wrote Aroma: The Magic of Essential Oils in Foods and Fragrance (Artisan) with longtime friend and perfumer Mandy Aftel. His most recent book, Coi: Stories and Recipes (Phaidon) was published in October 2013.


Sasha Bernstein
Co-Founder and Executive Director

Sasha started her love for food growing up as granddaughter to two phenomenal cooks (an Israeli and a French) in a fish monger’s home in NYC.  After moving to the Bay Area to work for Food Network’s Iron Chef Cat Cora, she joined the launch team for San Francisco’s premier food festival, SF Chefs (now Eat Drink SF.) As program director of the festival, she collaborated with the outstanding chefs, restaurateurs, writers, farmers and inspiring personalities that make the community, and built a strong devotion to the missions of ingredient freshness, environmental responsibility and community camaraderie that characterize the region. She spent five years working with the boutique PR & marketing agency Andrew Freeman & Co. and another two with the chef networking group, Culintro; she relished opportunities to work with cornerstone San Francisco teams like Delfina Restaurant Group and CUESA, as well as write for publications like 7×7 magazine and Culinary Trends.

The admiration for the food industry born out of these experiences led her to pursue a career in sustainable food.  Soon after, she began handling PR for ethical and sustainably driven food companies. In 2013, she co-founded the Cooking Project, a 501(c)(3), with Chef Daniel Patterson. In January 2017, she became a certified Health Coach, promoting overall wellness through food.

Currently, Sasha is the Executive Director for The Cooking Project, as well as a partner at Eleanor Bertino Public Relations, where she does PR for responsible food. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter, where they run, cook, play cards and hang in Golden Gate Park and at Lands End often.

Sophia Lorenzi
Operations Manager

With 10 years of experience in the Bay Area food & beverage industry, Sophia combines her diverse experience in the food world, along with her background in food journalism, as The Cooking Project’s Operations Manager. When she’s not creating partnerships with fellow non-profits or facilitating cooking classes, she produces culinary experiences for corporate and non-profit clients and is always planning her next trip around the globe. Steeped in many culinary traditions from her extensive world travels, she believes food is the most powerful vehicle we have to cultivate community.


Craig Wong
Economic and Environmental Sustainability Manager

As a natural compliment to Sasha’s tendency to dole out salami tasters in elementary school, Craig would regularly eat his friends’ salami sandwiches.

Not only did Craig enjoy eating the sandwiches, but in his mind he was also reducing waste, as the sandwiches would otherwise be thrown away. From these humble ecological beginnings, Craig went on to study and work internationally in the field of renewable energy, sustainable living and business practices, and organic waste recycling.

While living in Asia and Europe, on a budget as thin as a sheet of Nori, Craig learned:
1. – No matter the culture, food brings people together.
2. – If you want the food you are missing, you have to make it yourself (in this case – omelets and Mexican food).
3. – When you make a meal yourself, it is healthier, more rewarding, and less expensive. With practice, it can even taste better.

Through The Cooking Project, Craig shares these lessons of food while introducing students to the larger role that their food and behavior play in the environment.

Lyndsey Murphy
Social Media + Marketing Advisor

Lyndsey has been working in Marketing for over 15 years, starting at a Silicon Valley start-up which was ultimately acquired by AKQA, a digital, creative agency. More recently, her passion for cooking brought her to join Williams-Sonoma, Inc. in 2015, overseeing their digital strategy in Paid Search and Shopping across all 7 brands. She has been working with the Cooking Project since 2016 and loves the philosophy of connecting with people through food.


Kevin Dehbozorgi
Assistant Blog Editor

Kevin is originally from Orange County, California. His parents both immigrated to the United States from Iran – His mother is from Abdadan, and his dad is from Shiraz. Cooking and food is prevalent in his life largely because of his

culture. Kevin hopes to attend culinary school, and open up his own Persian restaurant that serves authentic, home-style Iranian food, and eventually travel the world experiencing food, conversation, and cultures, then share them with the world.

Hōkū Young
Social Media + Communications Intern

Hōkū is a senior at the University of San Francisco, pursuing a bachelors degree in Media Studies. Her love for food has its roots in the Hawaiian Islands, where she was born and raised. Hawaiʻi, as a melting pot of different cultures and cuisines, cultivated a diverse love for food in her upbringing. As a person of mixed race in the islands of people of mixed race, Hōkū was surrounded by the Hawaiian food of her home land, the Filipino food of her grandparents’ homeland, and a myriad of cuisines brought to the islands from around the world. Hōkū completed a Semester at Sea voyage in the spring of 2017, where she traveled the world via ship, eating her way through an understanding of how different foods do, in many ways, create identities of difference, but more so, bring people together.


Advisory Board

Sarah Henkin, community involvement and non-profit guidance
Alexandria Dempsey, social media

Volunteer Collaborators

Rachelle Boucher

Lia Hillman

Armelle Futterman