Food Runners

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

A Conversation with the Chefs at Food Runners

Kate Hanson, 
Volunteer Coordinator

This month Kitchen Volunteer Coordinator Kate Hanson sat down with Food Runners Chefs Victor Parra and Francisco Duran, to learn more about their culinary background and what brought them to Food Runners.

Kate: What was your job pre-pandemic?

Victor: I’ve worked in the culinary industry ever since I immigrated to the United States – from small restaurants to 5 star hotels. Just before the pandemic, I was working at the St. Regis cooking for big conventions. 

Francisco: I worked as the Banquet Chef at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco. When the pandemic hit, my job was eliminated. 

Kate: How did you get involved with Food Runners?

Victor: I learned about Food Runners after the St. Regis started donating to them and that led me to volunteer with Food Runners. 

Francisco: I knew Victor through the hotel industry, and he asked me to cover for him as the Food Runners head chef one day. Then I had an interview with Mary, and she hired me.

Kate: Has anything surprised you once you joined Food Runners?

Victor: I was so surprised by the massive amount of possible food waste. 

Francisco: Yes! Working in hotels you don’t realize how much food waste there is. Now, I am much more aware of all the food waste in the U.S., especially from grocery stores. 

Kate: What are some of your favorite meals to cook at Food Runners?

Victor: My favorite meals to cook at Food Runners are spaetzle, beef Bolognese and frittatas. 

Francisco: I like the opportunity to make a nice plate of food, and to expose people to foods they may not have tried before – like short ribs or lamb chops.

Kate: What about when you’re off the clock and cooking at home?

Victor: When I’m off duty my favorite meals to cook are cioppino (a stew of fish and shellfish with tomatoes, wine, spices and herbs) and fresh pasta. 

Francisco: I love to cook Japanese food with a twist – like miso glazed salmon, and goma ae (a Japanese side dish of spinach with sesame seeds), and short grain rice with Japanese seasonings. 

Kate: Thanks Victor and Francisco for your time, I know how busy you both are! As a volunteer, I am always inspired by the incredible amount of delicious and nutritious food that your kitchen consistently turns out, and am grateful to work with you and the whole kitchen staff to feed hungry San Franciscans. 

To continue to help feed the hungry and  prevent waste tell your friends to make a financial donation through Thank you!