The CookWell family extends a warm welcome to new advisory board member Dora Dunn. A woman of wide-ranging talents, Dora has accomplished much in her professional life while always making time to serve others. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in the 1970s, Dora moved to San Francisco to work for a tax accounting firm. Despite hurdles as the sole woman and only African American there, Dora rocketed up the ladder, becoming the company’s number one salesperson for three consecutive years. The pay was enticing, the job less so. At a meeting to close on a lucrative deal, Dora found herself daydreaming about the lamb she was going to roast for dinner.
Eventually she listened to her heart and became a student at the Academy of Culinary Arts in May’s Landing, New Jersey. Once again Dora quickly advanced, moving from a stint as a banquet cook at Philadelphia’s Ritz Carlton to a teaching position at the culinary academy, followed by many years in food industry sales and marketing.
Mastering the finer points of tax accounting and food service sales wasn’t enough for Dora. Fond of writing from early childhood on, she landed a position at Ed Hitzel’s Restaurant Magazine and began producing restaurant reviews along with a food and lifestyle column. Currently Dora is working on a screenplay about the experiences of her father, a U.S. Army officer, in the tumultuous decade of the sixties.
Despite her whirlwind career, Dora has always found time to help the underserved. During the height of the pandemic, she and a partner prepared 125 meals a week to feed homeless people through the Trenton-based nonprofit HomeFront. She also has a keen interest in culinary training for returning citizens, who leave prison ill prepared for the workforce and family dynamics. Cooking, Dora believes, is not just a job skill but also a valuable life skill that has the power to bring families together.
“CookWell will help me meet the needs of a community that I might otherwise not encounter,” says Dora, “and that helps me more than anyone else. I am now and will always be an enthusiastic volunteer for CookWell.”