women are unstoppable.

urban kitchen group is proud to be a woman owned and operated company.
we strive to provide opportunities for women to thrive and are thankful for the inspiring women that make up our #CUCINAfamily.
shattering glass ceilings and paving the way for future culinary leaders we invited 4 of San Diego’s best female chefs along with our Pastry Chef Elena Palma for a five-course pairing dinner at CUCINA urbana

join us wednesday, march 20th for Festa Della Donna
portions of festa della donna proceeds will benefit the center for community solutions


kelli crosson | the lodge at torrey pines

THE CHEF: Executive Chef Kelli Crosson brings a lifelong interest in real food to the culinary program at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. From her upbringing on a 40-acre citrus orchard to attending The French Culinary Institute in New York, Crosson embraces a simplicity conveyed through dishes that allow fresh and naturally flavorful ingredients to shine. She enjoys the rush of the kitchen as much as bringing people together to dine and enjoy each other’s company, and her focus extends beyond the kitchen line to ensure an impeccable guest experience.

charleen sandoval | born & raised

THE CHEF: An integral part of Born & Raised, Charleen Sandoval leads the kitchen as Executive Chef. In addition to working with culinary stars and renowned restaurant groups including Nancy Silverton and Michael Mina, Sandoval has spent years contributing to the local dining scene at San Diego institutions known for quality meat and butchery, such as Cowboy Star, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, and TRUST. Sandoval was hired as Sous Chef at Born & Raised in 2022 and has played an essential role in the development of the restaurant’s updated menu and the ushering in of a new era for CH Projects.

lydia ornelas | the plot restaurant

The Plot only serves delicious plants! at the plot we make all of our menu items and products from scratch, with fresh local ingredients. we source as much as we can from local, regenerative farms and also have a large garden on-site

elena palma | urban kitchen group

A San Diego native, born & raised in Imperial Beach, Elena Palma leads an impressive pastry program for Urban Kitchen Group’s restaurants in San Diego and Orange County, alongside bread and pastry for their commissary and full-service catering division. Inspired by her travels throughout Europe and time spent living in Germany, she was in awe of the skilled artisans and innovators in modern patisserie and quickly feel in love with the world of pastry. Elena moved back to the U.S. in 2008 with a new career path. After acquiring a degree in Baking and Culinary Arts, she landed a sought-after position working with renowned Pastry Chef Jack Fisher at the former Jake’s La Jolla followed by Arterra in Del Mar. In 2010 Elena was tapped by The Lodge at Torrey Pines, where she rose to the position of Executive Pastry Chef and spent more than six years working for one of Southern California’s most prestigious luxury resorts. In 2018, Elena made a career move to San Diego’s Coronado Island to spearhead one of the city’s most iconic bistros, Clayton’s. There, she built a cult-like following for the upscale café’s bakery division. Elena began working with Urban Kitchen Group in 2022, where she is proud to support one of San Diego’s most notable hospitality collectives as Pastry Chef.


Danielle Rubin, Laird Family Estate

After 50 years in the wine business, Laird Family Estate understands the ins and outs of the industry, from the trends to the challenges. We believe that our success is due to our vineyard expertise as well as our shared goal to produce great estate wines. With a concentration on Napa and Carneros vineyards, we have sought to produce wines that are “a window to a place.” Each one of our vineyards is different in expression, with its own subtle, yet distinctive character and voice. Each year renews in us an intense drive to understand, react to, and work with each vineyard to allow it to reach its full potential. This process, lead by our winemaking and vineyard management team, is crucial for the execution of successful wines.