Meet Our Chefs
Meet Chef Cassandra
Cassandra Yankee is a farmer, private chef and nutrition consultant
...specializing in cancer care, weight management and immune support through wholesome healing foods. Cassandra’s drive to help people led her to pursue a B.A in Public Administration from Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan where she graduated with honors in 2010. After graduation, she turned to working in restaurants to make ends meet while looking for a ‘real’ job. Now, seven years later, she hasn’t looked back!
Cassandra's natural cooking talent and expertise has been honed in some of Southeast Michigan's premier farm-to-table restaurants including: Commonwealth, Trinosophes, Cacao Tree Cafe and Inn Season Cafe. Cassandra's reputation, creativity, flavor and use of high quality ingredients have also yielded success outside the traditional cooking environment. She was the personal chef for leading actors during the Michigan filming of Batman vs Superman. She coordinated with Gym Jones trainers for menu design, nutritional programming and meal preparation to complement the intense physical training regimen required for muscle building and body re-composition.
After Batman vs Superman, Cassandra continued growing her personal client base. With her experience in menu development and food preparation for audiences from individual Hollywood clientele to locally acclaimed restaurants, she lent her skills to catering for groups of varying size - from weddings and birthday parties to upscale private events and fundraisers. She also pioneered the hot lunch program at the former Steiner school in Rochester Hills, which offered hand crafted lunches to students, parents and staff.
In addition to being a kitchen powerhouse, Cassandra has excelled beyond as an educator; designing meal plans that specialize in comprehensive patient support before, during and after conventional cancer therapy at Associates of Integrative Medicine in Bloomfield Hills. She has had success in healthy weight support, energy support, and digestive wellness.
Her passion for food education is matched by her desire to make wholesome eating accessible to everyone. “I want people to feel empowered by their food choices. We are bombarded everyday by things we should and shouldn’t eat and the reality is simple. ‘Eat real food. Not too much. And mostly plants’ The Omnivore's Dilemma”. Click the resources tab for a few of Cassandra's favorite food reads. Cassandra is able to offer insight into targeted supplement regimens and herbal support for everyday life after working at Whole Foods Market and Zerbos Health Foods.
Outside of her prowess in cooking and food education, Cassandra finds joy in permaculture, sustainability, and mindfulness meditation. When she isn't whipping up delights in the kitchen, she and her husband Jonathan, have a small homestead with organic vegetable gardens, playful dogs, happy chickens, sassy dairy goats, mostly tame sheep, and somewhat wild horses...
Meet Chef Zach
Zach has always had a love for making delicious, nutritious, beautiful, food.. With over 15 years of kitchen experience, he worked in many restaurants along the way. Zach catered weddings, private parties, high volume events, always finding a way to apply his knowledge on healthy eating and special dietary needs.
"I would not be where I am today if it was not for my own health struggles" says Chef Zach, 35.
At age 17, Zach was attacked by Ankylosing Spondylitis, a debilitating, aggressive, auto immune disease. "This kick-started my own search for wellness", Zach remembers. "The passion for healing, whole food based, cooking, did not come over night, but from the decision to give up on the Western Medicine coupled with its Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) and from understanding I had to take responsibility for my wellbeing. Such began my journey into the Healing Foods, learning about the causes of illness in the body and the dangers of the S.A.D. Many ingredients that were causing my inflammation were hidden in unsuspected meals. After many trial and error exercises I understood that I had to stay completely off sugar, grains, and dairy for starters.
After learning the truths about food and the relationship it has with the body,
"You are what you eat" suddenly made complete sense to Zach as did Hippocrates' "Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food".
Zach's main focus has been catering to those with food related issues and helping them on their healing journey. He has a strong understanding of many diets because he also lived as a vegan, raw foodist, Paleo diet, macrobiotic.
Zach has 6 years experience as a Private Chef and more recently worked as a Travel Chef for an NBA player, during the 2016 Olympic Games. He was also a Chef at the Cacao Tree Café in Royal Oak, Steiner School of Rochester, He currently cooks for private clients in southeastern Michigan and works at the Green Space Café, in Ferndale, Michigan.
Zach is a certified Chef and Raw Food Teacher, Assistant to Andrea McNich, the renowned Gut Health Nutritionist Expert, whom he worked with since 2008.
Zach is a disciple of the Wu family Thai Chi Academy and a student of the academy since 2005.
Zach has a passion for and understanding of wild edibles, medicinal herbs, and wild mushroom foraging. He has a certificate in Herbs Energy and Action from herbalist Jim MacDonald.
Meet Chef Keely
Keely is a mother of 3 with over 20 years under her belt in the food service industry.
With experience ranging from high end catering operations, farm to table and kosher restaurants, Keely Gray has always had an interest in what goes into creating a great dining experience and loves working with people. Keely is actively involved in several committees and organizations surrounding her children’s schools and is also no stranger to navigating food allergies and sensitivities.
Keely has a passion for cooking and loves to get her kids involved in the kitchen whenever possible. One of her favorite things to do is to bake with her children. She believes that enjoying food together plays a major role in keeping a family connected.