Zaman International has hired Daniela Mancinelli Abel, a culinary instructor with extensive curriculum development and public speaking experience, to oversee the day-to-day operations and client training activities of its new Culinary Arts Kitchen.
A native of Livonia, Abel for the past 15 years has worked concurrently in restaurant management, communications, and culinary instruction. In the newly created position of lead chef of the Culinary Arts Kitchen, she will integrate this career experience to keep the kitchen stocked, equipped and in compliance with health codes, to oversee kitchen volunteers, and to serve as lead teacher for the Culinary Arts Training Program, Zaman’s newest workforce development initiative.
After studying communications and public speaking at Eastern Michigan University, Abel worked from 2005 to 2014 as a national spokesperson for the country’s leading car manufacturers and as a trainer and facilitator for their dealership staffs nationwide. When not traveling for speaking engagements and training assignments, she worked in varying capacities for restaurants in Michigan, California and North Dakota. From 2015 to 2017, Abel received her culinary arts training and certification at the Culinary Center of Kansas City while working as a culinary instructor, designing and teaching scores of cooking classes for children and adults.
Abel, who while studying and teaching in Kansas also worked full-time as an administrative coordinator for an international chemical concrete manufacturing company, said she is delighted to find her “perfect fit” at Zaman. Her role as head chef, she observed, combines in one position her passions for teaching, communicating, and cooking – which she learned as a child from her large Italian-American family. With a social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, Abel is committed to helping others create dishes that are locally sourced, organic, and non-GMO.
These are qualities that Abel emphasizes in the Culinary Arts Training Program, a 12-week curriculum comprised of classroom and hands-on instruction in food safety and sanitation, nutrition, food procurement and storage, basic skills and techniques, advanced cooking and baking techniques, menu formulation, and food display and service. The program, which is free to Zaman’s clients, follows the success of Zaman’s vocational Sewing Program and similarly incorporate professional guest lectures and workshops, entrepreneurial opportunities, mock interviews, financial literacy, and (if needed) English language literacy instruction.
Abel praised the Culinary Arts Kitchen – which was designed, constructed and equipped entirely by donors under the leadership of New Yasmeen Bakery owner Hussein Siblini – for its innovative, “full-circle” approach to resource management. The kitchen will incorporate produce from the Zaman’s outdoor gardens, which are under development and will be tended by Zaman volunteers and clients, into its cooking classes, while dishes prepared during classes will be given to clients through Zaman’s Mobile Hot Food Pantry. Abel is also using any meat and produce not used during classes to create lamb, chicken and vegetable stock, which Zaman can sell to support its outreach programs.
“One of the most discouraging things you see in the restaurant industry is the ridiculous amount of good food that is thrown away, so it’s wonderful to run a kitchen with so many opportunities to make sure nothing goes to waste,” Abel said.
Abel is married to WXYZ-TV reporter Brian Abel, whose reporting took them to North Dakota and Kansas. She counts traveling, writing, reading and film among her many interests.