Worth Our Weight | Santa Rosa

Teens run a kitchen that's Worth Our Weight

You know you’re old when you start applauding teens working a long Sunday kitchen shift at Worth Our Weight. And even older when you force your own teenager to observe this kind of unnatural behavior. “See,” you say, “this is an example of hard work. You may want to try it out sometime.”
Sigh. Eye roll. Sigh. But the message sinks in between bites of lox and bagels; huevos rancheros with pulled pork and buttermilk waffles: These kids aren’t just working hard. They can actually cook.

Worth Our Weight has slowly but surely become a Santa Rosa institution under Chef Evelyn Cheatham’s steady guidance. An on-the-job culinary apprentice program for 15-24-year-olds, WOW has settled into a solid weekend brunch routine in the last two years at their 1021 Hahman Drive location. And by solid, I mean really good.
Operating as a community table on Saturday and Sunday, brunchers pay what they can for the three-course brunch (pastries and fruit, entrees like bagels and lox, waffles, eggs and a chocolate pot de creme for dessert). “We take cash, check or IOU’s,” said one of the culinary students. There’s no suggested amount for donation, so it’s up to diners to determine what the meal was worth. (I left $10 per person plus a $5 tip).
Because of the community aspect, the brunch draws a broad cross-section of folks. Recently its become a destination for the local scooterati as well as chefs, foodies and neighborhood supporters. (And speaking of scooters, there’s a Vespa raffle going on through the beginning of October to help support the program).
Students who are accepted to the program (most have faced significant challenges in their lives) learn not only how to cook, but also how to work the dining room — meaning handling customers, taking orders and serving the food. The  students are clearly well-trained and try hard to make the experience professional, but this is clearly, a learning environment, so there are inevitable snafus and gaffes that make the dining event even more charming.
Worth their weight, and then some.
Worth Our Weight: 1021 Hahman Drive, Santa Rosa, (707) 544-1200
In addition to brunch (Saturday 9am-2p, Sunday 9am to 1pm), WOW serves an Apprentice Dinner at 6pm the third Friday of each month and a take-out ribs, chicken and tri-tip dinner for pick-up on the second Friday of the month.


6 thoughts on “Worth Our Weight | Santa Rosa

  1. Some pay what they can, are on limited income but want to support this very worthy cause. I recall Evelyn’s first venture downtown when it was a buffet and many of her own recipes were on the buffet. I rather miss that. I’m never quite sure what is really organic on the menu. It might be helpful to list what really is certifued organic fir those of us for whom this is crucial.For health reasons When I hear ” it’s natural” I cringe
    This restaurant USA treasure because of its mission. A win win situation
    What happened, tho, to the fellow who used to sell organic fruits and veg.in the parking lot. ?

  2. Heather,
    I always enjoy your reviews and almost always agree with you but wanted to wait on commenting on the $10 brunch until I had actually gone myself. After having a really wonderful and substantial brunch there I too think that $10 was too low. I left $45 dollars for my husband and I because the service was very good, the food plentiful, substantial and very tasty, and its going to support a great cause. I urge others to try this little gem .

  3. $10 per person for a delicious 3 course brunch made with top quality mostly organic ingredients, unlimited beverages included seems low to me. I encourage people to be more generous.

    1. Generosity is always a good thing. I figured $45 bucks for four people was pretty reasonable, but you may be right. Would be interesting to find out what others contribute. Or is that like asking how you voted?

  4. L-O-V-E Worth Our Weight’s brunch! The cuisine is absolutely amazing, and Evelyn and her team are supporting a most noble mission: the development and growth of young apprentices. It’s another uniquely Sonoma County cause and culinary find. The brunch is the best in the area. No lie.
    P.S. We bought three raffle tickets there to win one of Revolution Moto’s beautiful Italian Vespa scooters and I better win!

  5. I have eaten at Worth Our Weight three times. Each tme I have been impressed with the students. They learn taking turns in the restaurant. They seem to wait tables, perpare and serve food. The place is comfortable, you choose your tea and find hot water waiting. The coffee is also self pour. I have enjoyed every bite and it is a morning destination on weekends when we have house guests.

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