Cristy Gomez at the Collegium Café is a wonderful cook. At 6:30 every morning she is in the kitchen cooking and baking for the hungry people who will come to the café during the day. She is also an artist and her artistic creativity is a gift she brings to her cooking. She is always researching and testing new recipes – and then tweaking them into something even better. But as creative as Cristy is, and as skillful in the kitchen, her passion is not just the food, it is something deeper and much more important. It is about what she feels called to do, her purpose. God has a purpose for all of us, and Christy is discovering and living into hers.
She does not just try new recipes; she creates as an expression of love and her desire to serve. Cristy knows what it is to face challenges and she has had her share of big ones. But she also knows that it is possible to begin right where we are and discover our purpose and have joy in life. She has been learning and finding joy in serving. The way Cristy serves starts with intentionally listening and observing what those around her most need. She intentionally engages and is present with those she is serving. She listens to regular customers and members of the community, and her service is informed by what she hears.
Recently she heard that some folks in our community were being left out of eating her amazing creations. Some people’s health is greatly affected by foods and they live with dietary restrictions, such as not being able to tolerate gluten or dairy products. Serving in a way that shows those folks they are seen, heard, and loved has become a special passion for Cristy and she developed a gluten free cookie and is now trying out other recipes. “Everyone deserves something good in their day. I just want to make them smile,” she said.
That is the love and heart behind one of the best cookies you will ever eat. Yes it is gluten free and dairy free; but mostly it is just “awesome!” That’s because it lives up to what the whole Collegium Café team believes – that the best food is “Made with Love”. The smile on Cristy’s face when she is baking these cookies testifies to the joy of discovering and living with purpose.