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Our Story

About Bill Yosses and Kitchen Garden Laboratory

Cooking for presidents, popes and prime ministers sounds like a dream job.

And, for nearly decade, it was for Bill Yosses.

As White House Executive Pastry Chef from 2007 – 2014, first to President and Mrs. George W. Bush, then to President and Mrs. Barack Obama, Yosses was critical to the country’s culinary diplomacy – and to keeping the nation’s First Families healthy.

While at the White House, inspired by Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative to fight childhood obesity, of which he was an integral part, Yosses began to pioneer the concept of the “Chef-Scientist” to help people understand the science behind healthy growing, eating and cooking.

Now comes Kitchen Garden Laboratory, Yosses’ comprehensive education initiative designed to foster a food and agriculture literate America.

Kitchen Garden Laboratory (KGL) is a unique place where Science + Nutrition + Agriculture + Cooking = Food Literacy.

Using the triad of food and cooking (Kitchen), planting and growing (Garden) and scientific experimentation (Laboratory), Kitchen Garden Laboratory’s education programs promote delicious, nutritious eating for better health outcomes, as well as foster food and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) literacy.

Kitchen Garden Laboratory’s mission in the United States is to utilize school and community gardens in underserved communities as learning laboratories to ensure that children understand the connection between the vegetables they grow and healthy eating — and provide them and their parents with recipes that are easy and inexpensive to make at home.

Simultaneously, using food as the gateway, Yosses aims to introduce these children to the world of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), help develop their STEM literacy skills by providing them high quality hands-on experiential learning experiences and showcase the potential career opportunities available to all students at varying education levels.

Bill in White house garden 2012 (1)

About our founder: William “Bill” Yosses

William “Bill” Yosses is the founder of Kitchen Garden Laboratory and most recently served as the White House Executive Pastry Chef under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama.

During his White House tenure, Yosses made desserts for historic occasions, including the State Dinner for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Phillip The Duke of Edinburgh; a formal dinner in honor of French President Nicolas Sarkozy; as well as the birthday cake for Pope Benedict XVI’s 81st birthday celebration. President Obama has referred to Yosses as the “Crust Master,” and First Lady Michelle Obama has said Yosses makes “dangerously good” pie, which she manages to enjoy by eating well 90 percent of the time.

Inspired by Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative to fight childhood obesity, in which he played an integral part, Yosses began to pioneer the concept of the “Chef-Scientist” to help people of all ages to understand the science behind healthy growing, eating and cooking. The result? Kitchen Garden Laboratory (KGL) – Yosses’ education and advocacy initiative designed to foster a food and agriculture literate America, while at the same time opening young people’s minds to the worlds of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). KGL operates school gardens and science and cooking programs in underserved communities in Portland, OR, and Northfield, MN. KGL has been invited repeatedly to run cooking-science workshops for the New York City Board of Education’s STEM Institute and Harvard Medical School’s summer study program for Native American Students.

Yosses, a chef for more than 30 years, is trained in classical French cooking. Before joining the White House in 2007, Yosses assisted in the opening of Paul Newman’s Dressing Room in Westport, Connecticut – a restaurant utilizing locally grown, artisanal and organic food sources. Other executive pastry chef experience in New York City includes Josephs Citarella; planning, designing and opening the pastry department of Bouley Restaurant and Bakery and operating the pastry department of the Tavern on the Green Restaurant. Yosses was also Pastry Chef at Montrachet Restaurant in New York City. He served apprenticeships in France, and also worked under Chefs Daniel Boulud and then Sous Chef Thomas Keller at Polo Restaurant in New York City.

Over the course of his culinary career, Yosses also has spent significant time teaching students from elementary school through graduate school, using gardening and cooking as a gateway to understanding STEM. While at the White House, Yosses conducted bi-weekly tours of the South Lawn vegetable garden for visiting school groups. He is an active participant in “Spoons Across America,” working as a chef-scientist to introduce good eating habits to fourth through eighth-grade children. Most recently, Yosses was named director of Chop Chop Magazine’s Cooking Lab, an initiative to introduce hands-on cooking instruction and nutritional literacy to young people. In addition, Yosses regularly lectures on science and cooking for STEM undergrads and graduate students at Harvard University, Georgia Tech, University of California, Los Angeles, New York University and the City University of New York.

He has organized and delivered cooking and science presentations at the New York Times’ annual Travel Show’s “Taste of the World Kids Kitchen,” World Science Festival, American Association for the Advancement of Science, EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) and New York University’s Experimental Cuisine Collective. In addition, he has served as a consultant to the American Museum of Natural History, helping organize and create showpieces for its “History of Chocolate” and “Global Kitchen” exhibits, and participated in a panel on “Flavor and Evolution.”

A part of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnerships, Yosses is an official American “culinary diplomat.” The program elevates the role of culinary engagement in America’s formal and public diplomacy efforts, both abroad and in the U.S.

He has published two books: Desserts for Dummies (1997) and The Perfect Finish, Special Desserts for Every Occasion (2010). He is currently at work on his third book, a collaboration with food critic and cookbook author Peter Kaminsky and NASA Kepler Institute scientist Steve Howell.

Yosses earned his A.A.S. at the New York City College of Technology in Hotel Management, a Master of Arts at Rutgers University in French Language and Literature and a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Toledo in French Language.

Yosses and his husband, Charlie Fabella, Jr., reside in New York City.

About our Executive Director, Rick Montgomery

Rick has been working in the nonprofit sector for more than 15 years. A graduate of the University of Washington’s School of International Studies, Rick gained a keen insight into the needs of disadvantaged children as an on-the ground-aid-worker and journalist in more than 75 countries.

Rick worked with a team of nonprofit professionals to create globalroots.org in 2006 — an international children’s charity that continues to receive the highest marks of nonprofit stewardship from Guidestar.org and Globalgiving.org — two of the world’s top nonprofit watchdogs and vetting organizations.

Rick was awarded the use of helicopters by the U.S. Air Force for his work in Afghanistan in 2010 — something that led to a visit to the White House where he first met Bill Yosses.

Now the father of two, Rick decided it would be better to use his skills to assist underserved children in the USA. Rick launched the Kitchen Garden Laboratory in 2014 with Bill Yosses and serves as Executive Director.

To fund his nonprofit work, Rick built up and sold a million dollar expedition company and he is currently the co-owner of an innovative emergency response training firm.

Rick’s work in the for-profit world helps him to understand the perspective of potential donors and the need to focus on the delivery of tangible results for any given project.

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Rick and Bill in Boston, circa 2013

 

 

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