Chef Laurence Peña, center, has been promoted to assistant director of Chartwells Food Services. He is married to Discover Los Alamos Director Melanie Peña. Chef Laurence Peña‘s family from left, Christian, Taylor, Emelia, Melanie, Chef Peña and Christian. Courtesy photo
Chef Laurence Peña has been promoted to the position of, assist director of dining services for Chartwells K12 in Los Alamos.
Chartwells is the food service provider for Los Alamos Public Schools and provides food services for all seven sites. The Chartwells team also offers catering to both the schools and the community.
“I cook with love and pride and treat these kids as if they are my own,” Pena said. “Smiles and the interactions with kids are highlights of my day: for the MS I have a breakfast burrito station to ensure I get to see the kids every morning enjoying my food.”
Truth be told, his favorite foods to cook are spaghetti and fried chicken.
The chef has a degree from Le Cordon Blue in Hospitality & Restaurant Management, owns his own catering company, ChexX and comes with a culinary past working as the executive chef of La Mesita Eatery. His work also includes a combination of academic, training from chefs he has worked with and experimenting with his family, friends and clients.
Pena also is a six term tribal councilmen for the San Ildefonso Pueblo and helped foster political change in the introduction of a constitution for the Pueblo and the creation of economic development initiatives. After living in Los Alamos for five years, the family has returned to San I to provide them with a reconnection to their family and traditions.
Pena’s wife Melanie is active as the Director of Discover Los Alamos through the LACDC. They love the community and the schools and enjoy taking part in events held in Los Alamos. Chef Pena has even agreed, along with boss, Chef Mia Holsapple to put that love of youth and community to the test, with a love for pie. The Chartwells team are two of 16 volunteers to help raise funds for youth during the Perfect Pie Day event at 5 p.m., March 14 at Ashley Pond Park.
Pena and the Chartwells team are always looking for members to join their team, full or part time. The business services all seven school sites and information can be found at www.compass-usa.com.
“My love of food is a passion I will continue to foster and share with others into the future,” Pena said.