As a Sonoma County native, Chef Forest is well-versed in the unique diversity of Sonoma County's agriculture and wine regions. He spent much of his childhood living and working on his family's sustainable farm in Cazadero, where he was introduced at an early age to the concept of farm to table. This began a lifelong passion for culinary exploration and artistry. Having worked in restaurant kitchens since he was 15, Chef Forest went on to complete the Culinary Arts program at Santa Rosa Junior College.


For many students today, the path to a fulfilling and rewarding career can be difficult to discern. California’s Community Colleges are here to help, supporting students in choosing an area of study that fires their passion and secures them a livelihood.

As a young college student, Kyla Lam enjoyed her time working as a server in a local restaurant, but it wasn’t a field that she seriously considered as a possible career choice.


Kiki LeSeed, SRJC Student

When she enrolled to take classes at SRJC, Kiki LeSeed was still searching for her life’s mission. Now she’s on her way to becoming a food and wellness educator and entrepreneur. 

She was born in Silicon Valley suburbia and raised in a traditional Japanese way. But Kiki didn’t know that her American dad and Japanese mom sheltered her from the prejudices they experienced as a young couple. While trying to learn about her mom’s culture, she was bullied by Asian kids for being half-white at her Japanese weekend school. So eventually, she stopped trying to fit in.


SRJC Culinary Arts alumna, Lisa Cameron, is a personal chef in Sonoma County, CA. Her business, Brunch Anytime, can cater small group brunches, dinner parties and all special occasion parties as well as conferences, memorial services, banquets, and family reunions. Lisa's extensive travels, both domestic and abroad, have inspired her culinary cuisines. She is dedicated to focusing on local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients that are abundantly available in Sonoma County.


Kody Hamlow-Sawyer, SRJC Student

“I never really enjoyed school growing up because I was never interested in what I was learning about until I got to the Santa Rosa Junior College’s culinary arts program. Now that I love what I am doing everything has changed for me. I push myself to my fullest potential in school and I am cooking for work. I am extremely excited to finally pursue my career in something I am passionate about.”


Sous Chef at Lynmar Estate Winery, Line Cook at Spoonbar Restaurant, Private Chef & Caterer.

Food is such an important part of Windsor resident Sergio Valencia Trejo’s life that most conversations become filled with memories of traditional dishes or ideas for modern ones. His passion for food and cooking comes from his early childhood experiences in Mexico: helping on his grandfather’s ranch, milking cows, making cheese and cooking with the whole family. Sergio came to the US with his parents when he was ten years old, leaving behind his grandparents and the ranch life. However, the seeds were planted, and would lead to a fulfilling career as a chef.