Volunteer of the Month: Josh Even

September 27, 2018

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.

CUESA connects farmers to local restaurants and chefs. Chef Josh Even has been shopping Ferry Plaza Farmers Market multiple times per week as the former head chef of Tosca Cafe and now on behalf of Tofino Wines. “I always tell my cooks and chefs that going to farmers markets is one of the great joys in cooking in restaurants,” says Josh. “Since moving to San Francisco a little over 3 years ago, my wife and I have made the Saturday market our weekly ritual. When we had our son, we brought him to the market in just his second week. With my daughter, we did the same. I love that they have the opportunity to grow up at the market, and know the farmers, and the CUESA team. Volunteering and helping put on CUESA’s fundraisers [like the 25th Birthday Bash and the upcoming 16th annual Sunday Supper on October 14] is my way of paying it back.”

“Josh has supported and promoted farmers by featuring them in his Market to Table demos. A few years ago he took on a much bigger support role by joining our Events Planning Committee,” says Carrie Sullivan, Culinary Programs Manager. “We really appreciate his passion for CUESA’s mission and his willingness to step in and step up when it comes to things like recruiting chefs for events, applying gentle pressure to his colleagues to contribute to auction packages, and following up with chefs to make sure all details of the event planning are nailed down.” Meet Josh.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?
Josh: My interest in food comes mainly from my love of the restaurant industry. Out of college, I began working in the front of house at restaurants in my home town of East Hampton, NY and NYC. I loved the energy and the social atmosphere. I was seriously considering graduate school in sociology and applied to a few PhD programs; but realized I really wanted to stay in restaurants. I enjoyed the food more than any other aspect of the business so a Sous Chef at The Odeon, where I was working, suggested that I make the transition to the kitchen if I was serious about making a career in the industry.

CUESA: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering for CUESA?
Josh: I am either with my family or working. I have two young children, and being with them is the greatest joy I have. I don’t need much more than that.

CUESA: What is your favorite part about volunteering with CUESA?
Josh: The people. I love making connections with people, whether it be the real CUESA peeps, the farmers, or the other chefs and managers. I also take great pride in contributing to the community. The reception I received from everyone surrounding the food industry in SF was so warm and welcoming, I could sometimes forget how homesick I was for NYC. Now, SF feels so comfortable, I can’t imagine making my career elsewhere. Again, having an opportunity to give back is really special for me.

CUESA: Do you have an insider market tip or a favorite produce item at the market right now?
Josh: My advice to anyone who wants to be a savvy market shopper is to get to know the farmers. Take your time getting through and really make it a point to know everyone. Having friends at the market means having an edge on getting everything from a chefs’ cart to lesser available produce. And always ask what’s on the horizon for the coming weeks. If you have the heads up for what is coming next, you can begin to think ahead about how to utilize each bit of produce so that, as it’s showing up, you’re ready to use it straight away. That will help you get the most out of each season’s offerings.