Volunteer of the Month: Beatrice Ricart

May 1, 2013

CUESA’s Volunteer of the Month program recognizes the dedication and work of some of our most active volunteers. CUESA relies on volunteers to help with education programs, special events, public outreach, and other activities that help fulfill our mission to cultivate a sustainable food system. Learn more about volunteering and sign up here.

While many Ferry Plaza Farmers Market shoppers enjoy the cooking demos at the CUESA Classroom on Saturdays, it’s possible that our culinary volunteers have even more fun than the people in the audience. Just ask two-year kitchen veteran Beatrice Ricart, who you can often find behind the scenes, chopping, blending, and shopping for the weekly guest chef.

“I love working with Beatrice because she is thoughtful, thorough, and resourceful,” says Elianna Friedman, CUESA’s Market Chef. “She is also a great teacher in the kitchen and I often see her teaching other volunteers.”

View CUESA’s events calendar to see this month’s cooking demo lineup.

CUESA: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering for CUESA?
Beatrice: I am a full time student at City College of San Francisco, in my third semester of the Culinary Arts program. Outside of school, I have been road-biking for many years and am currently training for a Century Ride (100 miles) and the Aids Life Cycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I am also on the Board of Directors for my homeowner association. When I have a little time left between homework and riding I like to go dive in Monterey or hike on one of the many trails of the Peninsula.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?
Beatrice: Growing up, my family had a vegetable garden, and my friends and I always ate tomatoes and strawberries right off the plant. My mom used to cook all our meals from scratch. At a very young age, I was helping out in the kitchen and started to cook entire meals as a teenager. My grandmother always made us great stews when we went to visit her. I have been reading and watching TV about food for many years.

CUESA: What made you want to volunteer for CUESA?
Beatrice: I have been coming to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market since I moved to California in 2006. One day, as I was passing the Info Booth I saw a form to sign up for the e-letter and at the bottom of the form was an option to be a volunteer. CUESA seemed like the perfect fit for me.

CUESA: Do you have any interesting stories from your time as a CUESA volunteer? What are some things you’ve learned from chefs? 
Beatrice: I learn something at every demo I volunteer for. Sometimes it is a different technique or an interesting way to use ingredients. For instance, one chef taught us to cook lentils like you cook risotto; you add warm broth a little at a time, and wait for the lentils to absorb it before adding more to give them a good texture. I love participating in cooking demos and CUESA events, because it’s great to be surrounded by people who like food as much as I do.

CUESA: What’s your favorite thing to make in your home kitchen?
Beatrice: I like to experiment with different cuisines and ingredients, and I like to make things from scratch, like mozzarella, pasta, and sausage. Last summer I also did some canning. It’s fun to be able to give those away to friends for the holidays.

CUESA: Do you have any seasonal market tips for our shoppers?
Beatrice: Very soon now, stone fruits are going to be arriving at the market. I like to grill peaches or nectarines and served them with a dollop of sweetened mascarpone and sliced almonds. I also like to add some peaches to maple syrup and drizzle it on top of pancakes.

CUESA: Anything else you want to share?
Beatrice: I think we are lucky to have a farmers market that supports responsible food, as this one does. All the merchants at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market are really nice and always willing to give you advice or a recipe for what you are buying. And just a final tip: I think the market is the best place in San Francisco for breakfast on a Saturday.

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