We try to make whatever we can from scratch. If it's at all feasible. Some of the things we do is homemade potato salad, pasta salad, coleslaw.
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And this (she points to a scoop of what looks like chicken salad) is more like the Waldorf chicken salad. It's a regular (mock) chicken salad, and I just added some dried cranberries, nuts and apples.
Proper diet is a key aspect of Seventh-day Adventist theology, isn't it?
They believe we have one body, which we're responsible for. And that we need to take care of it at all costs. And so we don't put any alcoholic beverages in our bodies, or smoking, and we try to make sure we eat a healthier diet. And that includes staying away from meat.
Vegetarian's Pursuit is a private business, not part of the Review & Herald?
Yes. They were looking for a chef to come and be an independent business owner in their establishment. Cater to their employees, but also provide public food service, as well. I agreed, and they put together a package I could not (turn down).
Where did you get your training as a chef?
I was raised Adventist. My mother was a health nut. She was a vegetarian chef, as well, in Brooklyn (New York) at Brooklyn (Seventh-day Adventist) Church and School. Then, I think when I was 17, 18, I worked in a health-food store with a little lunch counter. That was all the experience I had.
Then I (worked with) a chef at the Hermitage at Cedarfield in Richmond, Va. It's a (retirement) facility, but it's upscale. I did an apprenticeship with the chef there. His name is Robert Ingegni. So that's where I got my start. I started off in the pastry department, actually. I loved baking. He took me through the program. I was able to get my (food) service aide (certification) through him. But I fell in love with catering. I like the display of it. I like to see people happy, eating it. I like the art of food.
Then I heard about a job at a bakery called the Baker's Crust. It seemed like a great opportunity to advance. They were looking for someone who knew catering, and was a vegetarian. And I worked with them for a couple years. We catered mostly to the corporate area there. The Baker's Crust was in a corporate area, so we did a lot of box lunches, party platters, we did receptions in the evenings. We did all kinds of stuff. It was fabulous. I loved it.
Then you came here.
Yes. When they first opened, they hired people to run the cafeteria. But then they began to look for someone else to run it. How I heard about it is through my aunt, (Marjorie Chambers, who now works at Vegetarian's Pursuit). She was working part time here, assistant to the editor of one of the magazines. And she said, "Catrice, I think is an opportunity here." As I talked with someone from human resources, I realized I could not pass it up. Oct. 9, 2006, is when we opened. I'll never forget that day.
Have you always been vegetarian?
As I got older, and could make decisions for myself, I tried meat. I don't know if it just that I wasn't raised on meats, but I developed a sensitivity. It just did not agree with me.
So you recommend vegetarianism as a good diet.
Yes. I was listening to a CD by (former beef rancher, now vegan activist) Howard Lyman, and he was talking about how (livestock in) the meat industry was being (contaminated). And in my mind, it was confirmation. I'm doing the right thing.
I think it has to be a personal decision for what reason you decide it is for. Whether it is for religious (reasons) or for the health aspect. Because it isn't just Adventist people who feel more health conscious.
Do you have advice for people who want to try vegetarianism?
It's just a mindset. You've determined this is what I want to do, for whatever reason is important to you, whether it be health reasons, this is what I want to do. It's an adjustment.