As The Civic Kitchen’s co-founder and lead instructor, Chef Jen Nurse's passion is teaching home cooks the skills they need to gain confidence in their own kitchens. She relishes seeing the excitement on students' faces when they realize they’re mastering something they had feared. Her mission is to remind students to take in the world around them, to treat others with civility, to learn about and respect each other’s cultures – all through the medium of shared food experiences.
Before founding The Civic Kitchen, Jen led cooking classes for kids and adults at Tante Marie’s Cooking School, 18 Reasons, and elementary and middle schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
After years as a prolific and curious home cook, Jen studied pastry arts at the Art Institute of Seattle. Eventually, she scuttled her safe, 15-year telecommunications career to open an award-winning boutique bakery in Seattle. After relocating to San Francisco, she worked as a pastry chef and recipe developer before enrolling in Tante Marie’s professional culinary program to learn the savory side of cooking after years as a dessert aficionado. There she found her deepest love of cooking when she began to teach.
Jen credits her mother’s exceptional home cooking (crêpes with Mornay sauce? Go, Mom!), her beloved Aunt Josy’s beef empanadas, and a transformative teenage year in Brescia, Italy with sparking her culinary curiosity.