The GGBA celebrates the accomplishments and economic vitality of the LGBT business community throughout the nine-county Bay Area. Our North Bay Make Contact series focuses the spotlight on LGBT entrepreneurs, business owners and employees located in Marin, Sonoma and Napa. We invite you to join us as we continue to 'live our mission' of advocating on behalf of our members and making the right connections between LGBT businesses and our allies to create jobs, highlight the entrepreneurial spirit and build community.
About our Featured Guests
"We've combined our love of food and our love of family to start our business"
Hip Chick Farms Co-Founders Chef Jen and Serafina Palandech
Hip Chicks Farms is located in Sebastopol amidst the rolling hills of Sonoma County. Chef Jen started her career working with Alice Waters, renowned chef and proprietor of Chez Panisse. It was there that she became passionate about creating food that incorporates only the freshest, sustainable and locally sourced ingredients. However, it was her work in Ann and Gordon Getty’s kitchen as their personal chef that motivated Jen to share her recipes with the world.
Co-Founder Serafina Palandech added “Part of Jen’s job included cooking meals for all the children attending the school in the Getty’s home. All the kids loved her cooking – especially her chicken fingers!”
This became the inspiration for Hip Chick Farms’ line of artisan, transparently sourced, chef inspired frozen chicken and poultry products that are convenient for busy families. “Our chicken products contain no artificial ingredients; it’s like I’m in your kitchen, making it for you fresh,” says Chef Jen.
About our Hosts
Stark Reality Restaurants Owners Mark and Terri Stark
In February of 2009 two restauranteurs in Sonoma County took a stand against the evils of Proposition 8. Terri and Mark Stark, owners of Stark Reality Restaurants, hosted a unique lunch that brought together members of the LGBT community along with economic and business leaders from throughout the North Bay to discuss how important the LGBT community was to the economic fabric of our collective communities and that Prop 8 must be defeated.
This was not the first time that Mark and Terri used their business acumen, love of their employees and customers and unique vision for the good of the community.
Mark and Terri are James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur semifinalists and together own and operate six of Sonoma County’s favorite, and most highly rated, restaurants: Willi’s Wine Bar, Monti’s Rotisserie, Bird & The Bottle, and Stark’s Steak & Seafood in Santa Rosa, and Willi’s Seafood and Bravas Bar de Tapas in Healdsburg.
Mark is executive chef and Terri handles all business operations for the restaurants. From opening their first venture, Willi ‘s Wine Bar in 2002, to their most recent, Bird & The Bottle in 2015, Mark and Terri’s restaurants have consistently earned top accolades and praise including San Francisco Chronicle Top 100 Bay Area Restaurant status (Willi’s Wine Bar and Bravas), Michelin Bib Gourmand (Monti’s, Willi’s Wine Bar), and Travel + Leisure Top 20 US Tapas Restaurants (Bravas).