Just over 12 years ago, I moved to Napa Valley to pursue a career in food and wine. While managing events at a local winery, my mentor’s daughter was diagnosed with a rare disorder called Rett Syndrome. Although I had just recently moved to the wine country, I saw this as my opportunity to truly give back and make a difference, all while bringing together everything I was inspired by.
In 2004, I co-founded the Erika Van Giesen Foundation alongside an annual epicurean gala, Erika’s Dream, to support it. With our monies raised, in 2006 we helped establish Katie’s Clinic at Children’s Hospital Oakland, which to this day still serves girls and their families afflicted with Rett all over the Western United States. This fundraising gala was a way to incorporate all my passions; FOOD, WINE & PHILANTHROPY, while throwing one heck of a party and sharing my love for entertaining.
In 2009 I helped launch Wine, Women & Shoes; A food and wine based event that we would soon take on as a successful national fundraising platform, later that year launching my first wine label Toolbox Wine Co., with a mission to craft affordable, quality driven wines that gave back. An entrepreneur at heart, all of my experience has led me here to Feast it Forward.
Throughout my career I’ve been struck by what incredible things can be accomplished when you bring together amazing people over fantastic food and wine. My goal is to use Feast it Forward as a platform to make a difference, while offering entertaining and inspiring content that brings friends and family back into the kitchen, together. Join us as we RAISE a glass, awareness and funds.