Our story begins with my sweet "Tutu" (grandma), raised in Hawaii. Tutu was the sassy type - if you filled her water too full at a restaurant, she would let you know by blatantly pouring it out on the floor until it was at her desired level for easy drinking. Tutu loved the social experience of good food - and she made for certain my brothers and I weren't afraid to try something new. In fact, we had to try something new at just about every meal we went out to - like it or not!
At a young age of 76, tutu became ill and was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. During the last little bit of her life, our family took turns helping her - from grocery shopping to taxiing to Dr. appointments. Cooking was never tutu's strong suite and when she did not feel good enough to eat out any more, she ended up relying on low nutrient freezer meals and meal replacement drinks. After about five months, my sweet tutu passed away. Unbeknownst to our family, the cancer had spread too quickly.
No one can say for sure why cancer takes lives, but we do know that there is plenty of research out there proving whole foods can slow and even reverse cancer, heart disease, and others alike. Our bodies and minds flourish when we receive essential nutrients and the earlier we start taking care of ourselves, the longer we'll get to enjoy doing what we love. Pantry Fuel has a mission to better serve our community convenient, seasonal meals made from locally grown ingredients whenever possible. The closer food is grown to your home, the more nutrients & money's worth for you.
We're here to ease some of the pain for a family going through medical hardship - we want to take the meal planning off of your plate. We're here for the new mom who is busy taking care of her babies while still needing to fuel her body with healthy, whole foods. We're here for the busy athlete or business professional whose options are to come home to an empty fridge or grab crappy take-out or fast food again. But, we're also here to support our community and economy by sourcing locally. Pantry Fuel is going to save you money and getting essential nutrients can save your life! Pantry Fuel is investing in the health of our community to improve lives - one meal at a time!
MEET THE TEAM
Jennifer Van Cott, Founder
I've always been passionate about learning and connecting with what I do and with family & friends on a deep, intentional level. Cooking is just part of the story - gardening, farming, and growing food is the connection we've been integrating with our passion and sharing this connection with our community.
When I'm not in the kitchen or garden, you can find me playing piano, exploring the outdoors on ski, or running with my girls cross country team at Shadle high school. Cheers to your passions!--
Aaron Ambute, Head Chef & Kitchen Manager
Food has been a passion of mine ever since I was a boy. I used to watch and help my Oma cook Sunday dinner when I was growing up in Germany. I moved to a small town in Illinois when I was in high school then joined the Navy shortly after graduation.
After my service in the Navy, I worked in the tech industry several years until I decided to pursue my passion in food. I enrolled at The Art Institute of California San Diego and three years later I graduated with honors with an A.S. in Culinary Arts and B.S. in Culinary Management.
In 2012, my family and I moved to Cheney. We love living in the PNW. We love the community, the people, and the multitude of activities that we can pursue here. My kids love playing sports all year round, my wife coaches and lifeguards, and I play golf, and have recently gotten into amateur power lifting. When we have spare time, we like to explore the parks and train in Washington and North Idaho.
Since moving to Spokane I worked at several great restaurants but never really found my fit. In 2015, I quite working in restaurants and went back to tech work until I found Pantry Fuel. I was happy that I could find a place that fits me and challenge me. It is my mission to create fantastic dishes that taste amazing and are also great for you!
Sarah Oscarson, Culinary Team & Delivery Driver
As an endurance athlete, outdoor enthusiast, and scientist, food and nutrition play a huge role in my life. Whether I'm fueling for Ironman, a bike tour, or an afternoon tending the garden, I love finding delicious and healthy ways to keep my body feeling great. I love to travel and experience the amazing cultures and cuisines of the world. I am an avid trail runner, backpacker, and ski mountaineer, and together with my husband I am always planning for our next big adventure.
Originally from Maine, I moved to Spokane in 2007 and instantly knew it was home. I've lived and traveled many different places, and the sense of community and access to outdoor opportunity here is hard to beat. I'm so excited to be working for Pantry Fuel because I'm passionate about health, as well as increasing access to and awareness of good nutrition. I love sharing good food with friends, and when I deliver a Pantry Fuel meal, it feels like I'm doing just that.