Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and fulfilling holiday. It seems we say this every year but it’s hard to believe it’s already 2024! With the new year comes new beginnings, and some endings.
Rufus, co-op chef extraordinaire, has stepped away as the kitchen lead. Rufus has been with the co-op for almost 10 years. In that time he has shown an incredible amount of dedication and commitment to the job. His passion for cooking came through in everything he produced. His culinary creations were a way of connecting with people. At times he could be hard on the staff but only because he held them to the high standards he held himself to, and it was always done with love. He took his work seriously. Rosario, our assistant manager, recalls a rare moment of silence while Rufus intensely focused on toasting his walnuts to perfection. Martin remembers Rufus singing as he delivered the day’s fresh muffins to the cafe. Our weekend cook, Frankie, tells me Rufus sparked his interest in the culinary arts, which prompted him to apply for the kitchen job. Our cafe lead, Wendy, tells a similar story of Rufus gifting her one of his prize cookbooks in hopes it would inspire her. When Rufus decided it was time to appoint a new baker to replace him, he was adamant that it be Mel, our full-time barista, as he saw her various abilities. Mel said that she felt honored when Rufus chose her. Baking is now the task Mel takes the most pride in at the co-op. She hopes to continue to share Rufus’s passion through his recipes.
As anyone who knows Rufus could imagine, the stories go on and on. He is one of a kind, full of fire, grit, integrity, and humor. While all of us at the co-op will miss his presence in the kitchen, he is too big of a force to ever be fully gone. He is in every batch of love-filled baked goods that comes out of the kitchen, every killer song that comes through our speaker, every witty joke that gets a giggle.
This new year let’s raise our glass to all the stories these co-op walls hold. Here’s to preserving the memories while making new ones!
Natalie Cortese, General Manager