Last year at this time, Chef Yess came to our attention when her food delighted us at Tehama Together’s first presentation of photos from their Farmers in the Field contest. The food she prepared, as is her wont, used products from the farmers who had won. And then, shortly after this intro, Chef Yess paired with an investor to open Yess’s Curbside Diner, a food truck that served an amazing array of breakfast and lunch dishes each week at The Saturday Market, Red Bluff’s year round farmers’ market. (See our spring 2017 issue.) Chef Yess made a name for herself as the truck served up her meals around Red Bluff and out beyond The Saturday Market. She also developed relationships with numerous Tehama county farmers, whose produce, eggs, and meat became the food truck’s raw ingredients.
Fast forwarding to Chef Yess Catering requires two more back stories. Both are set in Pulga, Butte County, now infamous as the little town where the disastrous Camp Fire sparked. Chef Yess was hired as caterer for a 100-guest late summer wedding, and advance planning was such that she was able to engage Mindy Nickler, Gerber farmer and Farmers in the Field contest winner, to seed, grow, and harvest lettuces for the salad offered to wedding reception guests. When Chef Yess was introduced, and wedding guests learned the story behind the wonderful salad they had just eaten, Chef Yess and farmer Mindy received the kind of congratulations generally reserved for brides and grooms. Again in Pulga, a month or so later, Chef Yess catered 100 guests at a three-day empowerment retreat offered by the group Chairman Mom. Chef Yess’s work at both these events led to more catering engagements.
She realized that through such venues she could introduce her locally sourced menus to many more people. She reincarnated as Chef Yess Catering, the best way for her to maintain her focus on locally sourced food and support her relationships with farmers and their farms.
Chef Yess Catering is where you can find her on Facebook. The chef, plenty lively on that platform, posts about both scheduled events and private in-home gigs. This caterer cooks and also teaches; that’s how important it is to her to support local farms. Among scheduled feeds are lunches served on Saturdays at Gather Redding’s year round farmers’ market. Whatever farmers and ranchers offer from their farms, Chef Yess will use in the meals. She’ll also offer occasional cooking classes there.
As Chef Yess contemplated transition from the food truck and into catering, she read encouraging words from Heather Phillips, whose Little Sprouts farm hosts the weekly Gather Redding farmers’ market as part of its community outreach. “The community you have nourished is here now to nourish you,” wrote Phillips. “Let go and we will catch you.”
Responds the chef, “I love a good challenge, and adrenaline is a hell of a good motivator.”
Contact Chef Yess at email@example.com and on her Chef Yess Catering Facebook page, where she will also list upcoming classes.
Edible Shasta-Butte is the guide to local food, dining, and gardening in Northern California’s central valley from Butte County north to the Oregon border.