By her own admission, 20-year-old Anna Carlson was a “wild child” during her middle school and high school years. She was born and raised in Sequim but bounced back and forth among Sequim, Silverdale and Tacoma after her parents’ divorce. She didn’t like that the divorce had happened and says she lashed out by rejecting her Christian upbringing, drinking, couch surfing and getting in trouble with the law. When her parents had had enough of her and she enough of them, Carlson moved out on her own when she was 17. She freely admits today she’d “be a bum on a friend’s couch” had it not been for a chance meeting with Tanya and Dave Rose, owners of Nourish, a garden-to-plate restaurant in Sequim.
“I met Tanya and Dave at Safeway (through mutual friends) and they had the idea for this restaurant about healthy food, local food, local buying and selling, and a place where they could help someone like me from a family without money to go to college. They wanted to take people like me so they could train them in the kitchen and let them get hands-on experience.
I was excited because I’ve been very interested in culinary most of my life. I started asking them questions about food and their jaws dropped because of how much I knew. Through WorkSource, I got into Pathways to Success and they helped me get into a 90-day internship with Nourish. They hired me as a dishwasher and now I’m a line cook who does the whole line. I make entrees, sauces, soups and do lots of prep work. Without Tanya and Dave, I wouldn’t know half the things I know and a lot I owe to Chef David Vella.
He taught me everything — he’s tough and stern but he means very well. Everything he put me through in that kitchen, whether it made me cry or not, has been for my learning and with the best of heart. It’s hard and stressful at times but we’re like a family here — Tanya and Dave are like my parents and the waitstaff are like my siblings. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Nourish. I started Running Start and graduated from high school and earned an associate degree from Peninsula College in 2014.
I grew up in a family that liked to pretend they had money, but they didn’t. With this job, they’ve taught me how to save, to do finances and offered me a place to live when I didn’t have one.
Tanya hugely encouraged me to travel, so I’m going to Ecuador in December for five weeks with my grandparents to experience the cuisine and get the cultural experience. I took Spanish in high school so I can get around. I plan on going to Portland (Ore.) to culinary school. Tanya and Dave are the only ones who made me seek out colleges. I’m really grateful to Nourish — it’s become a huge part of my life — and I hope they never leave my life. Even when I leave, they’ll still be part of me.”
Everyone has a story and now they have a place to tell it. Verbatim is a first-person column that introduces you to your neighbors as they relate in their own words some of the difficult, humorous, moving or just plain fun moments in their lives. It’s all part of the Gazette’s commitment as your community newspaper. If you have a story for Verbatim, contact editor Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.