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Archive for March, 2009

Chef on a Mission

Posted by >>>>> on March 8, 2009


Lorna Garano




Laura Stec is a chef on a mission to reveal the connection between what’s on our plate and global warming…and to bring delicious change.



One part culinary artist, one part environmental activist, and all food lover, Laura Stec is a chef who is taking on the most under-recognized source of global warming: the standard American diet—and she’s offering a delicious alternative to it. “Cool Cuisine, which emphasizes fresh, locally grown, organic food, not only helps end global warming, but offers us a healthier, tastier diet,” she says.  In her new book COOL CUISINE: TAKING THE BITE OUT OF GLOBAL WARMING (Gibbs Smith Publisher, September 2008, paperback) Stec teams up with climate change researcher Eugene Cordero, Ph.D., to reveal how our current methods of growing, processing, and delivering food are linked to global warming. She then explains how Cool Cuisine provides a delicious alternative, and how communities can come together to participate in it. “Together we can make a great a meal and a great difference,” says Stec. Take a look at the recipes she offers and you’ll see exactly what she means by the first part. They include: Broiled Figs with Goat Cheese, Grass-Fed Beef Crostini, Dijon Green Beans with Candied Shallots, Autumn Tempeh Salad, and Dark Chocolate Chili. Read on to see what she means by the second.


Stec is available for interview. Here’s just some of what she can offer:


·         TAKING ECO-COOKING TO THE MASSES. Stec is slated to teach the first-ever course on food and the environment at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of California this fall. “This is just the beginning in educating future food leaders about how what we eat affects the planet,” she says. In her unique position as a culinary health educator at Kaiser Permanente and other organizations Stec taught countless home cooks the essential skills and principles for making their diet healthier for them and the planet—and her work is far from done. “Even with the increased interest in healthful, locally grown, organic food, many still don’t know basic cooking techniques,” she says. Skills like knowing how to sharpen a knife or keeping water as far away from vegetables as possible may seem basic, but their the first steps in getting people in the kitchen to prepare the vibrant, delicious meals that will make them and the planet healthier. “Teaching people these simple techniques is the first step in a food revolution,” says Stec. 


·         “GLOBAL WARMING IS THE BEST THING TO HAPPEN TO THE CULINARY WORLD IN YEARS.” You read that right. Stec says this because the dietary and agricultural solutions—such as seasoning the soil “like a fine bordelaise sauce,” eliminating petroleum-based pesticides, fertilizers, and factory farms, and reducing the distance our food travels to get to us—will not only limit the effects of global warming, but will also dramatically enhance the quality and the flavor of our food.


·         THE FULL CIRCLE FEAST.  On the eve of Earth Day and on the heels of President Obama’s call for increased service and stewardship, Chef Stec will host the Full Circle Feast, a Silicon Valley dinner event that brings together the local community with four homegrown nonprofits who are committed to turning their forks into tools for change. Community Alliance of Family Farms (CAFF), Full Circle Farm, Our Daily Bread, and Silicon Valley Foodways will join together to kick off an effort to begin an interactive food shed assessment for the San Francisco Bay Area. This assessment will look at the barriers to local food access and the main sources of food waste and develop a plan for addressing them. They aim to make this a model for communities across the U.S. This is one of the many ways that Chef Stec is working to bring Cool Cuisine to her community.


·          “IF IT AIN’T FUN IT DON’T GET DONE.” “Our ultimate motivation is pleasure and Cool Cuisine isn’t about giving up things, it’s about inspiring people into new ways of cooking and eating,” says Stec. Cool Cuisine is the perfect alternative for anyone who loves food and cares about the environment—and proof that we don’t have to choose between doing what’s right for the planet and what feels good to us.


See Laura Stec on MSN.com: http://healthyliving.msn.com/default.aspx?section=video&contentType=video&contentId=51&source=mailtoyou


To schedule an interview or for a review copy of COOL CUISINE: TAKING THE BITE OUT OF GLOBAL WARMING contact: Lorna Garano, lornagarano@gmail.com, 510-922-9765



Laura Stec is an author and chef, trained at the Culinary Institute of America, The School of Natural Cookery and The Vega Macrobiotic Study Center. She worked at Seva, Ann Arbor, MI; Spoons, Arcata, CA; and San Francisco Bay Area’s Left Bank and Flea Street Café before starting her own personal chef/catering business, making her name in the food world by cooking up green cuisine dinner parties for clients such as Google, Harvard University, and the Environmental Defense Fund. Stec is Culinary Health Educator for Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers, former chef for Kaiser’s organic farmer’s market, and consulting chef at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California. Since founding one of the first U.S. food and environment organizations in 1989, Stec has been feeding us with the idea that one the most positive effects we can have on the environment begins on our dinner plate, a message she has promoted for 12 years at Acterra, a Palo Alto, CA environmental organization. With 37 years combined experience in the food and environment sectors, Stec partners with EcoSpeakers.com to consult with corporations and institutions on ways to incorporate regionally responsible cuisine, and lecture on topics such as The Business of Eating – Green Cuisine Trends and Practices. Cool Cuisine is her first book. Visit her at: http://www.laurastec.com.












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Small Businesses Give Big

Posted by >>>>> on March 3, 2009

Lorna Garano


New book explains why charitable giving is both the right thing to do

and a great business strategy.


Whether in tough economic times, like we’re facing now or in more prosperous ones, small businesses can and do give big to their communities. Maggie F. Keenan, Ed.D., a nationally recognized expert on strategic philanthropy, knows that charitable giving can make a significant difference to communities and to businesses alike. It is why she wrote SMALL BUSINESSES GIVE BIG: WHY CHARITABLE GIVING IS A GREAT BUSINESS STRATEGY (January 2009, Alma Publishing, paperback). In this inspiring book, Keenan illustrates how charitable giving is good for communities and businesses. It strengthens communities by providing much-needed money, volunteer hours, and know-how; and it strengthens small businesses by spurring growth, raising their profile, and boosting employee morale. She also explains how and why even a new start-up business can adopt a program of charitable giving that reflects their values. “I am here to tell you that it doesn’t matter if you’ve been in business six months or six years, or if you make $50,000 or $500,000; the defining moment is now. All it takes is the heart to help, passion to fuel your purpose, and the decision to make giving an integral part of your business.”

In SMALL BUSINESSES GIVE BIG Keenan profiles fifteen small businesses who regularly donate part of their profit, resources, and time to causes that benefit their communities and the larger world. From the chocolate company that raises thousands of dollars for breast cancer research to the real estate business that helps to fight environmental degradation to the high-tech group whose “culture of giving” has fed the hungry and funded educational programs, these businesses are proving that they can be a force for positive change. And in today’s economic climate, that change is needed more than ever.

Maggie Keenan is available for interview. Here is just some of what she can discuss:

  • The 5 Ways Giving Can Grow Your Busines;
  • How Employee Volunteer Programs are Great for Businesses and Communities;
  • 3 Tips to Marketing Your Business Philanthropy Program;
  • 5 Success Strategies to Building a Business Giving Program;
  • Profiles in Giving: The inspiring stories of businesses across the U.S. who are giving big, helping their communities, and standing for something beyond the bottom-line. These include a fitness trainer who is using his business to help veterans recover from PTSD; an internet marketing entrepreneur who raises thousands for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the Human Society, and other organizations; and a family-owned mortuary with a 100-year history of community service.

To arrange an interview or for a review copy of SMALL BUSINESSES GIVE BIG please contact: Lorna Garano, lornagarano@gmail.com, 510-922-9765.

Maggie F. Keenan, Ed.D., is a nationally recognized expert in strategic philanthropy for businesses and entrepreneurs. Her programs and services are sought after by business owners who want to make a difference in the world. Keenan has been interviewed on numerous radio shows and teleseminars, is frequently interviewed by the media and has been featured in More Magazine, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and the Washington Business Journal. A percentage of the proceeds from her book go to support the Little Red Wagon Foundation, a nonprofit that helps kids in distresses situations. Visit her at: http://www.givingadvice.com.

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