We have some fabulous folks working with us as part of our team here at The Culinary Center of Kansas City, and we love to introduce them to you. So, we profile some of these extraordinary employees in our Kitchen Talk blog. Now, we’d like you to get to know the Executive Director of Quality Control in our St Louis Division (note the tone of love, affection & sarcasm)… Lynne Parker is the focus of this month’s Employee Spotlight.
Lynne Parker is also known as CCKC’s “Missing Ingredient” since she works virtually as part of our team from her home office in Festus, MO. But let there be no mistake about it, Lynne is a vital cog in the CCKC machine!
After growing up in small-town Festus with her parents and 3 sisters, Lynne headed to Southeast Missouri State University where she received her degree in Fashion Merchandising/Marketing, then packed her bags and moved to the island of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Two of her 10 years on island were spent as General Manager of The Gold Parrot, a unique combination of fine jewelry store and piano bar in the downtown waterfront shopping district. She spent the other 8 years managing her family’s business, Mountain Top, the island’s #1 tourist attraction. A must-see stop for thousands of tourists each year, Mountain Top featured jewelry and souvenirs, an island clothing boutique, restaurant, local artisans, World Famous Banana Daiquiris and a breathtaking view overlooking Magens Bay and the British Virgin Islands. After the business was heavily damaged by Hurricane Hugo, Lynne and her husband, Charlie, who she met and married on the island, moved back stateside where their daughter, Casey was born.
After continuing her retail career in fine jewelry for several years, Lynne and Charlie bought a 17-acre indoor/outdoor flea market in the St. Louis area. She was active on the Board of Directors of the National Flea Market Association, and received the Association’s “President’s Award” for her work and dedication to the industry.
Lynne has also been actively involved in her local business community as a member of the Jefferson County Family YMCA Board of Advisors and was honored as Adult Volunteer of the Year, representing the Jefferson County branch of the Metro St. Louis YMCA.
Since May 2013, Lynne has enjoyed working “behind the curtain” for The Culinary Center of Kansas City™. Her responsibilities include working with instructors to create the recipe books that are handed out for their classes, as well as assisting her sister, CCKC’S owner and “Main Dish” Laura Laiben, in writing class descriptions and managing the creation of the class catalogs that appear on our website and sent to our favorite foodie students at home. She and Laura also collaborated to create The Culinary Center’s Best Recipes – Second Collection™ cookbook, which is sold in our Kitchen Shop™. In addition to her love of cooking, Lynne and her husband also enjoy traveling – especially to visit their daughter, who was recently married and is now living in Santa Rosa, the heart of Sonoma California wine country.