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Meet Kaci Goff of Wolf and Woman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kaci Goff.

Hi Kaci, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My name is Kaci Goff. I started culinary school in 2009 after graduating high school and attended The Art Institutes. I went for culinary arts and hospitality food and beverage management. Graduated with an associate’s degree and dropped out of my bachelors program in 2014. My career started in Temecula Wine Country, and I have spent the majority of it in Los Angeles working for widely known chefs and restaurants. I spent two years in Seattle from 2017-2019 where I started Wolf and Woman almost four years ago now. Wolf and Woman is my pop up restaurant serving contemporary Malaysian Tamil inspired cuisine based on my heritage.

I have worked between front and back of the house. I have held every position in a restaurant due to disabilities in my hands causing me to move out of the kitchen. From hosting, serving, and general manager of a restaurant in Seattle before I moved back to California. I have a decade of knowledge and experience in hospitality and have overcome the hurdles of sexism, discriminations, industry abuse, and harassments that has plagued restaurants.

I currently reside in the mountains near Idyllwild, and have successfully launched Wolf and Woman into the San Diego scene. With successes of upcoming dinners collaborating with talented peers, product line of spices, and several other really exciting projects.

Keep a lookout for a monthly pop up called, ‘Lucky Cricket’ that I will be collaborating on with Sommelier Taylor Berk, who is the wine director for the Puffer/Malarkey group.

Last summer I worked on a recipe book I self-published with photographer and chef, Derrick Reed. I have been writing a memoir I started in 2018 of my life and career that will be finished by the end of the year; part one was briefly published spring 2020.

It really is an incredible journey navigating the pandemic this last year and now as the industry is slowly recovering from the blow. Six months ago I didn’t know if I had a career anymore. All I had on mind was saving a decade plus from going down the drain. I am also celebrating 8 months since I have stopped drinking alcohol after struggling with alcoholism for 15 years. I am feeling gratitude and blessed to be creating opportunities, and having a second chance at life.

My biggest goal right now is to build back a healthier and sustainable industry, and be integrated into the community.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
My biggest struggles in the industry have surrounded gender based discriminations, sexual harassment, and the extreme level of abuses. Our industry houses a toxic culture that allows and awards individuals with recognition and fame.

I have faced homelessness a year of my time in Los Angeles. I paid to sleep on someone’s couch or floor just so I can try to make a place for myself in this industry and it has been extremely unwelcoming. I have been groped in almost every restaurant I have worked, and quit jobs because the sexual harassment is rampant. The level of mental and emotional abuse that is disguised as discipline in the industry is entirely unacceptable, and has specifically caused me harm when I have battled with lifelong mental illness, chronic pain and health issues.

We also have a huge drug and alcohol problem in hospitality and it honestly needs to be spoken about more. All these things go hand in hand with the lack of care restaurant workers receive. It’s a thankless job, and there’s no transparency on the difficulties we face from an industry that treats us as disposable.

As you know, we’re big fans of Wolf and Woman. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Wolf and Woman is a pop up restaurant I started in December 2017 while living in Seattle. Originally cooking New American cuisine with Pacific Northwest ingredients. The main objective of Wolf and Woman is to build community and support local farmers, ranchers, fisheries, and foragers. Ethical and sustainable practices is what I look for when sourcing. A few years ago I moved into showcasing and exploring my heritage with Malaysian Tamil cuisine. My mother is Tamil Indian who is born and raised in Malaysia. So I combined both cuisines alongside modern techniques.

I am so proud to be going on four years. I have been operating solely, and am giving my entire heart and soul into what I do. I have no financial backing or resources- it has been all me.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
Navigating through the global pandemic has put into perceptive what I really what out of life. What kind of person I intend to be for myself, and how I can help others.

Intention is a big word I have been reflecting on this last week. It has never been about how many things I can do to make tons of money (struggling without income matters), but why and the purpose of each project or dinner I host.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Derrick Reed

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