Ms. Zina Lech, Kitchen Manager
The Stewardship Cafe
First of all, Hello and a big THANK YOU to the wonderful staff who have made me feel so welcome here at REMS! I love working with all of the great staff here at REMS and look forward to getting to know our students and parents each year.
I came to REMS from Academy Charter School where I managed their kitchen for 13 yrs. Before that, I was with Littleton Public Schools for 3 years. I spent some time in the restaurant business before that.
My story is rather interesting. I was born and raised in Capua, Italy. Capua is in the Italian region (sort of like a state) of Campania of which Naples (birthplace of Pizza!) is the capital. Capua today is a town of about 19,000 people but our town has a history that is indeed fascinating. The town dates back to around 500 BC when it was founded by the mysterious, pre-Roman, Etruscan civilization (my own family has Etruscan roots). Upon being conquered by Rome, it became one of the largest cities In the Roman Empire on the famous Roman highway known as Via Appia that went from Rome to Pompeii. Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony (Augustus) further expanded the city which became known for the best gladiator school in the empire having none other than Spartacus as one of its “alumni”. I used to walk almost every day by the arena where the games.
I am the middle child of a family of three and had two Italian brothers to watch over me! I had a wonderful childhood spending a lot of time in the countryside and on the beach along the famous Amalfi Drive (many say it’s the most beautiful coast in the world) and the island of Capri with my family and friends. Later I traveled throughout Italy (Rome, Venice, Florence, etc.) where I developed a passion for the culinary arts. My family and I regularly go back to Italy every few years to visit my family, and our son John, studied at the University of Bologna as a college freshman. What an experience it was for John to study (and for us to visit) at the oldest university in the world (founded in 1088) which boasts alumni of the likes of Dante Alighieri, Nicholas Copernicus, Gugliemo Marconi, etc. My husband of almost 30 years, Leo, is a spacecraft design engineer for Lockheed Martin and gets to work on all kinds of fascinating projects. We have one son, John. John is a 2004 graduate of Academy Charter School here in Castle Rock, a 2008 graduate of Regis Jesuit High School, and a 2012 graduate of the University of Denver where he majored in International Business and minored in Italian (what else?!).
My number one passion is the culinary arts, closely followed by gardening, traveling, and the outdoors. We “farm” an organic garden of almost 1/2 acre where after 20 years of trial and error, we have managed to grow almost every vegetable and fruit (including a small vineyard) despite living at almost 7,000 feet in elevation just west of Castle Rock along highway 105. I do a lot of canning and freezing of our produce that lasts us through most of the winter. We raise all kinds of poultry including chickens, turkeys, geese and have our own bee hives as well. We pride ourselves with being as close to self-sufficient as possible. I love to entertain and Leo is in the process of building me an outdoor kitchen. The wood burning oven is complete and makes the best authentic pizzas and breads just like they did in Pompeii over 2,000 years ago!
I hope this helps us get a bit more acquainted. If we haven’t met yet, please stop by the kitchen and say Hello. I would love to get to know you!