SF Board Bios

The Slow Food SF board is a collection of passionate individuals who volunteer their time to create our programs and events. Thanks to all of these fine foodies for their insight, time, and dedication to the Slow Food movement.


Lorenzo Scarpone / Founder

Lorenzo Scarpone is a native of the Abruzzi region in central Italy. Raised on a farm where his family produced their own food and grew their own grapes to make wine, Lorenzo was introduced to the importance of culinary and wine-making traditions at a very young age. From his earliest farming experiences with his father Vincenzo, he was always been a staunch advocate of small-scale, sustainable agriculture and hands-on artisan wine-making. This environment nurtured his passion for food and wine and inspired a career path that would eventually lead to the creation of Villa Italia as well as being an early leader of the Slow Food movement, opening San Francisco’s first “convivium” in 1990. Slow food, founded in 1986, is an international organization whose aim is to protect the pleasures of the table from homogenization of modern fast food and life. Through a variety of initiatives, it promotes gastronomic culture, develops taste education, conserves agricultural biodiversity and protects traditional foods at risk of extinction.


Dava Guthmiller / Chair

As the Founder of Noise 13 Design, Dava has been involved with food & beverage branding since 2000. She has been a member of Slow Food since 2003 and on the leadership team since 2008. For Slow Food SF, Dava is also the chair of the annual Golden Glass event. Dava and her design firm are advisors for Seedling Projects and the Good Food Awards, as well as supporting sponsors for the Good Food Merchants Guild.


Favorite cooking tool: tongs


Xanthie Drankus / Co-Chair

Xanthie was born and raised in Chicago, but has been lucky enough to call Crete, Paris and now San Francisco (since 2005) home at various points. She began her professional life cooking, but eventually traded her chef’s coat for a laptop and a career in marketing. Still, her heart never left the kitchen, where she spends much of her free time cooking for friends and family. She has been a Slow Food member since 2000 and looks forward to continuing to serve the San Francisco community with convivial, educational, inspirational and fun programs and events.

Favorite cooking tool: sharp chef’s knife

Favorite food: souvlaki sti pita ap’ola from Oasis in Chania, Greece


Vera R. Ciammetti / Treasurer

Vera is a first generation American of Italian immigrant parents who came to New York from Abruzzo, L’Aquila. She moved to the Bay Area in 1996, and has worked as a non profit Executive Director in Sonoma County, LA, San Francisco, San Jose, and currently resides in Alameda. It was during a trip to Italy in the mid 90′s that she first heard about the Slow Food Movement and eventually joined Slow Food San Francisco. She was the Operations Director for Slow Food Nation, and work in the International Slow Food Office to help plan the Terra Madre Event.


She is the founder of Slow Food Alameda, a licensed caterer, and treasurer of Slow Food San Francisco – responsible for coordinating Golden Glass Events, Food from the Heart, teaching cooking classes, and continues as a volunteer.


Vera has taught cooking classes in her home, and at C’Era Una Volta Ristorante in Alameda. In addition, she has taught classes at 18 Reasons and La Cocina in San Francisco, is an instructor at VIVA – Italian Food, Wine & Culture in Sebastopol as well as Draeger’s Cooking School in San Mateo.


Laura O’Donohue / Secretary

Laura’s work is focused on diabetes and obesity prevention in the Bay Area. Previously, she has worked at Stanford Prevention Research Center studying childhood obesity  prevention policy, and as program director at Local Food Lab, a business incubator for sustainable food and farm businesses. She currently sits on the board of the Ecumenical Hunger Program in East Palo Alto, and is pursuing an MD. With Slow Food San Francisco, she organizes the Annual Childhood Obesity Bay Area Conference.


Favorite Food: Sauerkraut


Carmen Tedesco / Development

Carmen’s grandfather was a fisherman in Calabria, Italy who immigrated to New York City in the late 1800’s. Once in New York the family manufactured gelato and owned a pork store. His father sold gelato in New York City for over 70 years. Carmen’s mother grew up on a dairy farm in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Visiting the dairy farm, were some of his fondest childhood memories.


Carmen has been involved with Slow Food for over ten years. As a  transplant  from the New York area, he started the Slow Food Santa Cruz convivium and moved to become a leader at the Slow Food San Francisco convivium. Carmen has championed the Vertical Garden project at Sanchez Elementary School and has a strong interest in urban agriculture.


Rena B. Meyer / Communications

Rena is the Communications Chair of Slow Food San Francisco and organizes our Convivial Table dinners. She runs a small branding and design studio with a focus on food and is passionate about cooking, eating and exploring new dishes. Born and raised in Germany, she grew up on on slow food from the garden and regular family meals and has traveled widely, poking her nose in many pots.


FAVORITE FOOD: Wakame Sushi Rice Bowl


John Casazza / School Programing

John Casazza grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and turned his passion for outdoors and nature into a degree in Soils and Plant Nutrition from UC Berkeley. This lead to a career in production agriculture where he worked around the world growing pineapple, bananas, papaya, mango, asparagus and salad vegetables. Lately, he’s worked with small grower cooperatives in Africa and the Philippines to improve their farming techniques and product quality and diversify their crop base to achieve a higher return and get income throughout the year.


Living in San Francisco and coordinating the School Garden Program for Slow Food San Francisco let’s him share his farming experience with students and with the local urban agriculture community.


Lolita Casazza / School Programing

Lolita Casazza was born in Honduras and graduated from the National University of Pedagogy in Tegucigalpa, with a degree in Spanish Language and Literature. Her life has taken her around the world, and during these travels her affinity to her teaching profession prompted her to mentor young high school girls in international food preparation and foreign cultures. She believes that food can be a point to connect with people, even in the most faraway places around the world.


Lolita now calls San Francisco her home and keeps herself busy volunteering on Sundays at the Free Farm Stand and coordinating the school garden program for Slow Food San Francisco.


Ben Henry /

Ben is an engineer with an overwhelming passion for urban agriculture and self sufficiency.  He is active in local urban agriculture circles as a beekeeper, chicken fancier and aquaponics gardener.  Ben is also a member of NOMADgardens, a beekeeper at Google’s campus and is constantly reading about farming, food policy and safety.  He’s also an obnoxious advocate for good food as said by everyone he meets.


Favorite Food: A humble Dal



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