JOSEPHINE: Homemade Takeout Food

Traci, Josephine cook, prepares to roast brussel sprouts with preserved lemon.                                 Video: Rustic studio in L.A. /posted on Josephine site

A made-in-the-kitchen small business revolution is occurring in Capitol Hill and neighborhoods across Seattle. Josephine, an Oakland, CA-based startup which recently expanded to Seattle in 2016, believes in empowering home chefs to reach their local community, while supplying good meals to neighbors. This blog post happened because of a glowing comment from a current Josephine customer, Jordan L., in Capitol Hill. He enthusiastically recommended their service (see his referral below).

From customer Jordan L.

The two who started this business, Charley and Tal, named it after meeting initially at the warm, welcome home of a mutual friend’s mother Josephine, who invited them over regularly. This spawned discussions over meals about the value of home-cooking and whether we were losing that connection in our world.

 

A reoccurring comment about the Josephine service is that it connects neighbors to other neighbors; sometimes people you wouldn’t meet in your day-to-day, busy life. Customers come pick their food up in a chef’s warm, welcome (and safety-certified) kitchen, after signing up for free at the Josephine site.  After entering your zip code on the site, you will be able to see where chefs are located in your area. Once a week, members receive a newsletter showing the week’s food offerings from different kitchens, and how far they are away from your location.

Weekly Food Offerings near Capitol Hill (varies weekly). Photo: Josephine

This method requires meal planning on your part, since it’s not a delivery service, but many people say the homemade food quality is excellent. Chefs often have repeat customers. The choices are vast: ethnic dishes (that might not be available at restaurants in that neighborhood), vegan, gluten-free, baked goods and American comfort food, to name a few.

Community at cook Akiko’s home. Photo: Josephine / The Seattle Times

“We provide healthy food options, where the money stays in the community,” says Simone Stolzoff, Director of Communications, at Josephine. “You can buy food that reflects individual cooks’ culture; the most authentic representation of what they would feed to their own families.” Dishes are served a la carte, and cooks set their own prices, typically ranging between $8-12 per full meal, according to Stolzoff. In the Seattle area, including Capitol Hill, the local network extends as far north as Lynnwood and as far south as Tacoma.

Cook Shui Zhu’s creations. Photo: The Seattle Times / Josephine

Those approved to cook for Josephine decide what they want to cook and how often, and carry a WA food handlers licence as certification. They pass a safety inspection from Josephine, and two Masters of Public Health are on staff to check-in with new cooks before ever posting their offerings. Mark Bittman, of PBS and cookbook fame, also sits on Josephine’s board. Small business owners receive 90% of the revenue, while 10% goes to Josephine for maintaining the website, marketing home cooks’ meals, and creating a credit payment process for them.

It isn’t always smooth sailing. Although meeting standards for food safety, they have run into problems with government regulation, previously receiving “Cease-and-Desist” orders in California. But legislation continues to be developed and proposed.

A May 19th, 2016 NPR article mentions that Willard Middle School in Berkeley, Calif., has a student-run operation (with supervision) which has partnered with Josephine for the past 3 years. To date, it has brought in over $100,000 in revenue to the school, and is very popular with the locals.

Willard Middle School uses the produce from its school garden to create meals through Josephine.  Photo: Teresa Chin/Youth Radio on NPR.org

As Simone Stolzoff commented upon Josephine’s mission, “More than anything, it’s about connecting people and bringing them together.

 

Gymnastics Coach Needed At Garfield High School

garfieldDo you have gymnastics skills and knowledge that you would like to share with Garfield High School’s gymnastics team? The school is in need of a head coach for its program, and without one the program may have to be canceled. Garfield’s team also runs a gymnastics summer camp, which could be in jeopardy, as well. If you or anyone you know is interested in the position, apply online here, or contact the Seattle School District Athletic Director Mike Scott at (206) 252-4911 or mjscott@seattleschools.org. Spread the word so Garfield doesn’t lose its team!

Support Lowell Elementary At Coastal Kitchen 4/29

coastal

While most of us can’t jet off to Corsica for a Mediterranean vacation, you can sample food inspired by the French island while also supporting Capitol Hill’s own Lowell Elementary tomorrow, April 29 at Coastal Kitchen.The restaurant will be donating up to 50 percent of its proceeds from sales between 5:00 and 10:00 p.m. to Lowell, and the money raised will help fund student programming and student and staff opportunities.

If you have a child attending Lowell this is a great chance to meet some fellow parents and students, and if not, just to enjoy Coastal’s rotating coastal-city-inspired menu with the added bonus of knowing your dollars are supporting Lowell’s diverse student body. Check out the whole menu here!

 

O’Dea Principal Quits After Being Accused of Abuse

Photo Courtesy of O’Dea High School

Brother Karl Walczak has resigned as principal at O’Dea High School, after being accused of sexually abusing a minor in the 1970s.  According to the Seattle Times, the accusations against Walczak relate to his time teaching at another diocese in the early 70’s, and he has denied all accusations.

The operation of the high school will continue under the Acting Principal James Walker. The School Board did not learn of the accusations until Wednesday afternoon.  According to the Times, John Shuster, Seattle co-director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has accused O’Dea School and Archdiocese of Seattle of a cover up, and knowing of Walczak’s accusations back in August, and not acting on the issue. For further coverage on the story, visit the Seattle Times.

Proposed Change to Stevens Elementary District

Stevens Elementary District

Proposed Change of Stevens Elementary District

UPDATE – The below proposal has been withdrawn.  Read the email from Kay Smith-Blum on Central District News.

A proposal has been made by Kay Smith-Blum, a Capitol Hill resident and Director of District V (representing Capitol Hill, Madrona, etc.) of the Seattle Public Schools, to take away from Steven Elementary district and add it to Madrona K-8.  The influenced area looks to be between Cherry and Madison and 14th and 23rd.  Those students already attending Stevens would not be affected, but if they have younger siblings that have not started school, those siblings would be affected (and so would the parents who would have to split the time between the two schools).  From reading the School Board Action Report (not very long), it seems the primary reason for the proposal is to save $18,000 in transportation costs – although also cited is capacity and safety issues as reasons for the change.  I am not necessarily arguing that saving $18,000 is not a valid reason for the change, but I could see the Seattle School Board wanting to justify it with a word like “capacity” or one of the most powerful words for change around “safety.”  For instance, the reason I do not believe safety is the main issue is the report says children have to pass over the busy streets of Madison and Union to reach Capitol Hill’s Stevens Elementry.  But if you change the district to Madrona K-8, children still have to cross Union and instead of crossing Madison now they have to cross 23rd which is also very busy.

If you feel strongly either way, you should contact the Seattle School Board: SchoolBoard@seattleschools.org or attend the meeting TONIGHT, January 19th at 6 pm at 2445 3rd Avenue South, Seattle.

Capitol Hill Schools Score Reports

Seattle Public Schools recently released a district wide report on state test scores and yearly improvement rates.  Eighty-two schools were involved and rated from 1-5, one being low passage rates and little improvement and a 5, the contrary.  Some schools received high grades, while others scores were not so impressive.  Twelve schools in the district got a perfect score, but almost just as many received a 1.  The Elementary Schools in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle include Montlake, Stevens and Lowell.  According to score reports on seattleschools.org, Montlake received a 4, Stevens a 4, and Lowell a 4.  Scores among the middle schools and high schools for the Capitol Hill area included: McClure Middle School-3, Tops K-8-4, Garfield-4 and Nova@Meany-3.  The Capitol Hill neighborhood had mid-high scores among elementary schools, and showed a mid-range average for their middle and high schools.  In the areas who scored lower, district leaders have conferred and said that if these rankings don’t improve (in schools scored in the lower range) in the next couple of years, replacing the staff or closing schools may both be possible consequences.    Schools will be provided funds to carry out improvement plans, and those with the lowest scores will get the largest dollar amounts.  Among other communities whose primary schools received lower grades, residents have expressed concern over how this reflects on the education and curriculum in the community, and school representatives plan on providing them information as well as a meeting to discuss the reports.  Because the data is fairly extensive, some school staffers are organizing meetings for residents to attend.  Hopefully, these resulting scores will increase the emphasis put on the importance of education in our communities.  More detailed reports can be seen at www.seattleschools.org.