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New Chef at Camp Stevens

Camp Stevens welcomes a new face as its food service director: Laurie Wesp. The role is particularly meaningful at Camp Stevens, our diocesan camp in Julian, because of its commitment to sustainable, holistic farming and cooking philosophies. From farm-to-table, Wesp guides the creative.

For the past month, Camp Stevens has enjoyed the talents of Laurie Wesp, the new food service director. She spent a few moments with us and answered our questions about camp food.

Q. What drew you to this position?

A. Camp Stevens has a remarkable way of fostering community and welcoming people for an experience and showing them ways of taking that experience home with them.  I was excited to explore the relationship between the gardens and the kitchen, and to work with people who are interested in continual growth, change, learning and challenge.

 garden at camp

Q. Why is the kitchen at Camp Stevens important?

A. One of the main reasons people come together while they’re at camp is for meals. Meals are one way that camp demonstrates our environmental mission statement. We are mindful about the food we eat, and where it comes from. We are committed to presenting opportunities for people to sit down together and break bread. People don’t do that much any longer in a fast-paced world and culture.

 phoenix garden

Q. What is the food philosophy at Camp Stevens and how does it impact your meals there?

A. We strive to make simple meals, from scratch, with whole ingredients. One way we can show people their connection to the earth is by inviting them to experience the onsite farm and gardens. They get to see the food growing, harvest it and enjoy it in the dining hall in the same day. To make that connection is really powerful.

 ryan in garden

Q. Is there anything new at Camp Stevens?

A. We have chicks onsite that most likely will start laying eggs by the end of the year. That’s another way people can experience the connection to the earth and knowing where their food comes from. It becomes a meaningful experience when people can see the whole picture and even be a part of it. They can go and collect eggs that morning that then get used for breakfast. It’s another link in their understanding.

garden at camp 2011

Q. What is your hope for people who come to camp?

A. I hope that the meals we serve are approachable, yet inspiring and challenging, but only to the extent that people want to take their experience with the food here and bring it home with them to incorporate into their daily lives. They’re simple meals often made with familiar ingredients, but presented and treated in a way that is different from what people may be accustomed to. I hope they can take their experience home and maybe shift the way they see and experience food.

strawberries phoenix garden

You are cordially invited to enjoy Wesp’s food at Camp Stevens. You can attend the seasonal Sunday supper or sign up to attend a weekend camp. Upcoming weekends include: Harvest Weekend (October 9-11), Harvest Open House (October 10), and Thanksgiving Family Camp (November 26-29). Learn More. Individual tours can also be arranged by contacting the camp directly: info@campstevens.org or 760-765-0028.

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