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A Bittersweet Good-bye & a Heartfelt Hello

Andy Finke came to DC Central Kitchen 13 years ago looking for the same thing a lot of us here at the Kitchen seek—a change. He had asked himself: “What am I doing for the rest of the world?”

During his tenure as DCCK’s Chief Operating Officer, Andy has not only made dynamic change in the way we do things at the Kitchen – from expanding our social enterprises to growing our fleet and streamlining deliveries to literally Bringing the Kitchen Home to our new facility at the Klein Center of Jobs and Justice – but he’s done it with a smile on his face, a quick quip that makes those around him laugh, and the temperance to move mountains without creating unnecessary waves. Andy has been a mentor for so many who have walked through our doors, cultivating relationships and encouraging others to remember “to expand your boundaries, see different things and see what’s possible.”

“This building is wonderful, but it’s the people that occupy it that make it what it is and has made it special.”

It’s with our enduring gratitude that we say a fond farewell to Andy as he passes the proverbial baton to his successor Dusty Cooper.

A graduate of Johnson & Wales University with additional culinary training at California Culinary Academy and Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, Dusty jumped at the opportunity to bring her passion for food and 25 years of experience in a variety of food service and hospitality settings to DC Central Kitchen. She joins us most recently from Johns Hopkins Hospital System. After living off the coast of Belize on a tiny island, she found herself opening a culinary school as a program director in Baton Rouge that had a lot of similarities to the Culinary Job Training program at DCCK.

What drew Dusty to DCCK most is the cause and the mission: “you’re pulled in because you want to help!”

As she steps into her new role as COO, Dusty is excited to dig in and get her hands dirty. “I’m excited to be part of this community to contribute so much more.”