Working for Good, Clean, Fair Food for All - Slow Food Urban San Diego Convivium of Slow Food International

Board Members

Chelsea Coleman (Co-Leader) is a San Diego Native who grew up munching on Oxalis and scraping her legs in the canyon chaparral and sage scrub. She has always loved eating and sharing food with friends and family and has spent the last decade pursuing just that. She received a certificate in the Culinary Arts from the Slow Food-sponsored, Apicius: The Culinary Institute of Florence, in 2004 and has worked in kitchens and on organic farms in Italy, San Diego, Argentina and Hawaii. Chelsea currently manages the kitchen at The Rose Wine Pub on 30th and is working to bring better quality ingredients to a great community.


Jennifer Leong (Co-Leader)  is passionate about a few things in life.  Food, cooking, education and sustainability are at the forefront and these passions are what inspired her to get involved with Slow Food.  (Jamie Oliver had a part in it too!)  Having been a member since 2008, she has more recently taken a very active role as Co-Leader.  A bit more about Jen:  Much of her childhood was spent in the kitchen.  Her dad owned a Chinese restaurant and let her sit on the counter while he taught her how to make Cantonese treats.  From a very young age she has loved to cook and learn about international ingredients and cuisines.  Her interest has blossomed and broadened over the years as she traveled the world touching and tasting all she could handle everywhere she has been – from the far reaches of Inuit Quebec to every corner of Italy.  When she’s not working at her home office for an Italian travel company called Effetto Italy, you can find her around and about taking in all she can about local food and wine, or in the kitchen cooking with friends!


Monica Lee (Membership) has more than 10 years of experience in events and communications management.  After beginning her career as an event coordinator for non-profit clients in Los Angeles, she spent time in New York and Chicago cultivating a background in public relations, marketing and human resources before moving back to sunny Southern California.  During that time, she also had the pleasure of serving on the boards of the UCLA Asian Pacific Alumni Network, Project by Project, Voices for Illinois Children Associates Board and the Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theatre.  While originally from Hawaii, she has now made San Diego her home.  Monica is currently Development Coordinator for Scripps Health Foundation.  When she’s not busy exploring the culinary delights of our community, she pursues her other passion, travel.


Dominick Fiume (Farm Liaison) has been a member of Slow Food since 2002 and in 2008 helped found the Urban San Diego chapter after being on the board of the North County chapter.  He served as the founding Co-Leader of the Slow Food Urban San Diego chapter for two years and also served as chair of the communications committee.  Previous non profit board experience include Greater San Diego Business Association, Western Business Alliance, Italian Cultural Center and Hillcrest Business Association.  Dominick is a real estate broker and makes cheese, raises chickens and farms in his spare time.


Adrienne Markworth (Treasurer) for Slow Food Urban San Diego also serves as Executive Director of Leah’s Pantry, a nonprofit organization that provides culturally competent cooking and nutrition curriculum, trainings, and workshops to low-income Californians and staff of nonprofits, government agencies, and housing providers. She lives in El Cajon, CA with her husband and three children.


Jenn Felmley (Education) aka Chef Jenn, is a talented and versatile young chef who loves speaking about food as much as she loves cooking. She can be found teaching cooking classes all over San Diego and the North County. Her journey began at Johnson & Wales University in Miami, where she explored the flavors and fusions of many different countries. Then went onto Johnson & Wales University’s Rhode Island campus, where they offered one of the countries only Culinary Nutrition Degrees. There she obtained both a Bachelors of Science in Culinary Arts & Culinary Nutrition. She traveled to Europe where she worked as a chef in a small town outside Milan, Italy. She received her  Sommelier Certificate at the Deutsche Wein-und Sommelierschule in Germany and further refined her knowledge of healthy cooking and specialized nutrition the Champneys Resort in England. She has taught classes at Great News in Pacific Beach, Rancho La Puerta, and various other schools throughout San Diego.


Cynthia Quinonez (Secretary), a relatively new Chef at Scripps Mercy Hospital, Cindy’s passion for preparing healthy, beautiful food is tied to that of serving people in need.  She began her culinary career with a focus on improving food quality for women sheltered by San Diego’s YWCA in 2004, and then residents of the San Diego Rescue Mission in 2006.  Beyond feeding them, she has also enjoyed the privilege of helping them develop kitchen skills of their own, sharing the advantage of her formal culinary education and San Diego Best Restaurant cooking experience.  Promoting wellness of body and soul through better access to quality food is a mission Cindy shares with her husband Pablo. Together they cook for 300+ of Tijuana’s poorest children on a bi-monthly basis, and support weekly food distributions to low-income San Diego families. Cindy is a member of a long-time Slow Food family, her brother in Madera, CA, and parents in Santa Barbara since Slow Food’s earliest days in the United States.  She joined Slow Food herself in 2005, but active involvement has been only an ambition until recently becoming an “empty nester” with all four children now in college, from Lima, Peru, to San Luis Obispo, CA.  Serving as secretary on the Board of Slow Food Urban San Diego, Cindy hopes to help the organization create dramatic and lasting change in the local food system.


Dana Palermo (Volunteer Coordinator) is passionate about all things related to food!  She works as a Dietitian at the VA Medical Center and at Rady Children’s Hospital where she provides education and teaches classes on a variety of nutrition related topics. After work she is most likely cooking with her CSA box, enjoying the outdoors and riding her bike, or having a local meal and brew with friends. Through her education and career she has learned the value of sustainability, plant biodiversity, and that healthy food systems make for healthy communities/citizens. She is very excited be part of Slow Food URBAN and to further work toward educating, promoting, and helping people understand and have access to good food.


Rachel Marie Helmer (Co-chair Communications) developed a deep appreciation for food early on in life. Through her father’s side of the family she discovered her love of produce while spending time on the family’s ranch in Valley Center where they grew and distributed citrus and avocados. On her mother’s Italian side she discovered her passion for baking and preparing meals made from scratch with love and local ingredients. Rachel first decided to turn her passion for food into a career nearly ten years ago when she started a gluten free baking and recipe development company known as Mari Made. Through her work with Mari Made she got to know the San Diego food community and discovered an incredible produce distributor called Specialty Produce and in 2008 decided to hang up her Mari Made apron to pursue a career with Specialty Produce. For the past four years Rachel has worked as creative director at Specialty Produce where she is in charge of food photography, product research, marketing and event production. Her research has taken her to farms, markets and food purveyors throughout California and allowed her to participate in food, health and community betterment related events throughout San Diego County. In addition to her work at Specialty Produce Rachel has been active in the food community through volunteer efforts as a teacher at Olivewood Gardens and at Cups Culinary. Rachel is excited to bring her years of expertise and passion for everything related to good, clean, fair and delicious food to Slow Food Urban San Diego.


Tracie Stender (Food Justice) became involved in the Slow Food movement for support with a mild gardening habit, which has since developed into a full blown homesteading obsession featuring all manner of compost and cultivation.  As the Food Justice Chair, Tracie is delighted to combine her passion for good, clean and fair food with her experience as an advocate. Tracie has championed the rights of under served communities for nearly a decade, as a former advocate for the Legal Aid Society and current civil litigator specializing in the defense of charitable organizations. Tracie hopes to use her experience to foster a positive relationship between San Diegans and their food supply.


Christina Nelson (Education) In 2011, Christina joined the San Diego sustainable farming community by volunteering at Seeds@City urban farm.  Her strong background in cooking, baking, and gardening led her to this opportunity, which rocket-launched her into this wonderful network of food-obsessed folks.  Combining her passion for food with her decade of experience in youth education, she started working with Slow Food in 2013.  She now not only eats good, clean, fair food but speaks, breathes, and dreams it each and every day.  Christina is currently studying nutrition and artisan bread baking.

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