Cathryn Couch (center) helps two young volunteer chefs prepare medically tailored meals for Ceres Community Project, the nonprofit she founded in 2007. Her work inspired a state-funded pilot study.

Cathryn Couch (center) helps two young volunteer chefs prepare medically tailored meals for Ceres Community Project, the nonprofit she founded in 2007. Her work inspired a state-funded pilot study. | Photo courtesy of Kim Stuffelbeam.

One woman’s mission to cook healthy food for patients is making an impact statewide.

Cathryn Couch was working as a retreat center chef and private caterer in Sebastopol in 2006 when she received an unwanted call that changed her life. Her horseback-riding instructor was on the other end, insisting that Couch hire her teenage daughter for the summer, so the girl could learn to cook. “My first thought was, ‘What the f—?,’” Couch says. “Literally, the kid didn’t know how to hold a knife, and I’m supposed to hire her for a catering job?”

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