Who are we?
Gracias Madre is truly an expression of who we are – it represents our deep love of and reverence for food, our commitment to health and sustainability, our unconditional love for our multicultural family and community, our devotion to the Earth and the divine feminine, and our commitment to raising consciousness on the planet. It is our intention that the emphasis we place on the sourcing of our food will bring consciousness in the community to the importance of sustainability and of buying and selling locally grown organic food.
Terces Engelhart has had a lifelong love of Mexican food. In the late seventies, this love inspired her to turn the Ben Franklin Inn in Pittsburgh where she was a manager into a Mexican restaurant, making it the first Mexican restaurant in the state of Pennsylvania – she created all the recipes, and would even drive to Virginia to purchase fresh corn tortillas! Terces’ passion has only been enhanced since moving to the Bay Area and, more recently, living on the Be Love Farm, where every day she prepares complete farm-grown vegan Mexican meals for herself, Matthew and the farm family, using her own corn grinder and tortilla press. Matthew and Terces’ Mission-based Café Gratitude employees also found themselves turning to Mexican food when looking for a hearty meal, but eating at the local taquerias was inconsistent with their commitment to veganism and organics. It was noticed that, aside from our own kitchens, there was actually nowhere in the Bay Area that you could find organic, vegan, non-GMO Mexican food, and so Matthew and Terces decided to fill this void by creating Gracias Madre.
Café Gratitude Director of Operations, Chandra Gilbert, has been spearheading the Gracias Madre project since the time that it was just in the idea stage. In addition to her innumerable responsibilities overseeing the entire Café Gratitude company, she is the co-designer of our gorgeous restaurant as well as the co-creator of the menu. To Gracias Madre’s design, development and menu she brings her impeccable aesthetic sense, her creative vision, her inspiring and multi-faceted management skills, and her passion for and inherent mastery of food. All of this is combined with her more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant business, the majority of those spent as a chef in various capacities. It has been a lifelong dream of Chandra’s to open an organic, vegan Mexican restaurant, so opening up Gracias Madre is literally a dream come true!
Lindsey Kraten, proud General Manager of Gracias Madre, grew up in Santa Cruz, California. She has been passionate about the Spanish language and Spanish and Latin American cultures, food and the restaurant environment since her childhood. She decided that she wanted to be fluent in Spanish so she committed herself to learning in school, traveling to Spanish speaking countries and practicing every day with her friends and co-workers. During this time she received her degree in Hospitality/Restaurant Management at Le Cordon Bleu California Culinary Academy. Since then, she has been working in Latin-themed restaurants gaining experience in the industry with a focus on conscious and sustainable practices. Since joining the Café Gratitude family in June 2010, she has played an integral role in teaching and sharing the tools for transformation with our Spanish speaking employees, as well as being a bridge between English and Spanish speaking communities by facilitating conscious communication between speakers of both languages.