Chief Culture Officer
Arwen, our dedicated Chief Culture Officer, brings a unique blend of Business Management expertise and a lifelong love for the culinary arts. With a rich background in management spanning over a decade, Arwen’s journey was shaped in the heart of an Italian kitchen, where she cultivated a deep appreciation for cooking and attention to detail from a young age.
Arwen’s leadership style is fueled by an unparalleled passion for her team. Inspired by the wisdom of Richard Branson, she lives by the philosophy that caring for employees is the cornerstone of a thriving business: “Take care of your employees, and they will take care of your business. It’s as simple as that.” Embracing the notion of empowerment, Arwen believes in training individuals to the point where they could leave, but fostering an environment so positive that they choose to stay. Her commitment to both excellence and employee well-being makes her an invaluable asset to the Snapchef Foundation team.
Chef George O’Palenick boasts a distinguished and illustrious career that spans every facet of the foodservice industry. His journey is one characterized by passion, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of culinary excellence.
With both a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Food Service Management from the renowned Johnson & Wales University (JWU), Chef O’Palenick has solidified his foundation in culinary expertise. His academic journey came full circle as he assumed the role of Associate Professor at JWU’s College of Culinary Arts, where he contributed over three decades of his life to education. He was not just an instructor but a dynamic force in curriculum development, shaping the culinary leaders of the future.
Chef O’Palenick’s impact on the culinary world extends far and wide. In 1995, his culinary prowess earned him the prestigious title of the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) National Chef of the Year. A remarkable honor, yet not the pinnacle of his achievements, as he was also named the ACF’s Educator of the Year in 2004. These accolades underscore his exceptional contributions to the culinary field.
Chef George O’Palenick’s culinary journey is not only marked by his academic and teaching achievements but also by his entrepreneurial spirit and unwavering dedication to culinary innovation.
Before embarking on his academic career, Chef O’Palenick served as the owner and executive chef of G.A. O’Palenick Catering in western New York. As an entrepreneur, he cultivated a thriving culinary enterprise that left an indelible mark on the local culinary landscape. His creativity and culinary ingenuity translated into unforgettable dining experiences for the community.
During his tenure as a culinary educator, Chef O’Palenick’s entrepreneurial spirit continued to thrive. He became the owner and operator of O’Palenick’s ICE, where he elevated his craft to an entirely new level. For nearly three decades, he specialized in selling and meticulously carving ice—a unique and visually stunning aspect of the culinary world. His commitment to quality and innovation extended beyond traditional culinary boundaries, showcasing his versatility and passion for excellence.
Chef O’Palenick’s entrepreneurial ventures stand as a testament to his versatility and creativity in the culinary industry. He seamlessly transitioned between academia, entrepreneurship, and culinary innovation, leaving an indelible mark on the culinary landscape at every step of his remarkable journey.
Chef O’Palenick’s dedication to the culinary world extends to his roles in leadership and service. As past Northeast Regional Vice President of the American Culinary Federation, Chef O, continues to an influential member of the ACF Board of Directors. His commitment to culinary excellence and education is unwavering.
In the competitive world of culinary arts, Chef O’Palenick has shone brightly. He is a Certified ACF Culinary Judge and a Certified Lead ACE Certification Evaluator. His list of accomplishments includes Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medals at the ACF Boston Food Show, numerous 1st and 2nd Prize Ribbons from the New York Food Show, and Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals at the IKA International Culinary Olympics.
His exceptional talents have also led him to become a distinguished member of the Honorable Order of the Golden Toque.
Chef O’Palenick’s passion for teaching and passing on his culinary knowledge is evident in his words: “As a culinary educator, one always looks for the ‘window of opportunity to pass your knowledge onto those who will follow.’ ‘Snapchef’ has given me the opportunity to learn and help others grow.” We are thrilled to have Chef O’Palenick as a trusted advisor at The Snapchef Foundation.
Board Chair, Snapchef CFO and Co-Founder
As the CFO and co-founder of Snapchef, Daniela Snopkowski has been a steadfast presence since the company’s inception, serving as the driving force behind its financial management and human resources functions.
She began cultivating her business and entrepreneurial skills as a child. “I started working at my family’s business in Brazil at a very young age and was lucky to have my parents as role models not only in my personal life but also in the business aspect”, she says. By her teenage years, she was versed in all areas of the business and was eagerly seeking her next challenge.
After moving to the United States she joined the food service giant Aramark and Campus as a Catering Manager before earning her degree in Business Administration. Over the years, she has diligently honed the skills and knowledge she possesses today through her determination and ambition. Supplementing her experience with a range of business and management courses, each contributing to her ability to lead Snapchef towards new horizons.
Her dedication to uplifting individuals and communities has been the driving force behind the establishment of Snapchef’s nonprofit foundation, furthering her mission to create a substantial and positive influence on communities. Serving as both Board President and Treasurer, she plays an indispensable role in shaping the foundation’s programs, leveraging her extensive expertise in fiscal management.
When asked what she likes most about being part Snapchef, she says: “Making sure people have chances and opportunities to grow and to go as far as they can go. That’s what makes this all so worthwhile. In her leadership role, she is committed to leading the foundation toward new horizons, expanding its impact, and fostering partnerships that will leave a legacy of positive change.
Board Vice Chair, Snapchef CEO and Co-Founder
Todd Snopkowski, a visionary in the food industry, has dedicated over three decades to pioneering workforce development, community building, sustainability, and hunger alleviation. His personal values shine through in every endeavor, with Snapchef, founded 2001, and the 501c3 Snapchef Foundation in 2015, both established alongside Daniela Snopkowski.
Todd envisioned more than just a solution to the pressing shortage of trained kitchen staff in the food service industry. He saw an opportunity to transform lives and communities. Snapchef transcended the typical employment agency, becoming a comprehensive organization with a mission to create a positive social impact. It celebrates food as an art form, a source of sustenance, a platform for workforce development, and a catalyst for community building.
Through his tireless efforts, Snapchef has forged collaborative partnerships with various government entities and organizations, exploring innovative ways to serve the community. The organization has earned numerous awards for its commitment to community entrepreneurship and continues to profoundly impact the lives of its workforce through job training and creation.
Todd holds a graduate certificate in Small Business Entrepreneurship from Boston University. In 2015, he received the SBA Small Business Person of the Year Award for Massachusetts, alongside an Entrepreneurship Award with Boston Children’s Hospital. In 2016, Todd was honored with the Interise Good Citizens Award, recognizing the positive influence Snapchef has had on the communities it serves. In 2017, he was presented with the Massachusetts Restaurant Association Education Foundation Leadership Award.
In his role as Board Vice President, Todd Snopkowski’s steadfast dedication to creating positive social impact and enhancing the well-being of our community continues to be a central pillar of his legacy, making him a remarkable match for the position.
Board Secretary, Director of Program Operations
Jennifer Danaux has a wonderfully diverse and culturally rich background, having called eight different countries her home. Born in Belgium, her journey led her through Belize, Cameroon, Egypt, Haiti, Uganda, the Philippines, and the United States.
These extensive international experiences have equipped her with exceptional diplomatic and interpersonal skills, nurturing a deep appreciation for community service. Throughout her time overseas, Jennifer dedicated herself to making a positive impact in the lives of others. Her heart for helping others was evident even at an early age, as she cared for ill children in orphanages, raised funds and constructed homes for families, and organized art therapy outings for former child soldiers in Uganda.
Jennifer’s educational background is equally impressive, having earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Nutrition and a Master’s Degree in Education, both from Johnson & Wales University. During her studies, she actively participated in the Black Culinary Association and AWARE Alliance, and served as a Teaching Assistant. She is also a member of the American Culinary Federation. These experiences refined her skills in communication, teamwork, and problem-solving.
Her heart lies in community health and wellness programs, a mission that seamlessly aligns with the values of the Snapchef Foundation. She aspires to contribute her expertise to the foundation’s efforts, offering guidance on nutrition and health. The goal is to ensure longer, healthier lives for individuals, advancing the foundation’s mission to make a meaningful impact on communities.
Her exceptional organizational skills and innate ability to collaborate with others position her perfectly as the Snapchef Foundation’s Board Secretary. Jennifer Danaux brings not only a wealth of knowledge and experience but also an inspiring passion for making a meaningful impact on the lives of others.
Director of Community Relations
Ken Desmarais is a culinary professional who has made a significant impact on the industry through a multifaceted approach. Serving on national, state, and local committees, he has been instrumental in shaping leadership participation and career pathways for aspiring culinary talents. He is a driving force behind the training and development of future chefs, especially through his involvement with the Snapchef Foundation, Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management, National Restaurant Association ProStart Competitions, and the American Culinary Federation.
In addition to his dedication to culinary education, Ken is deeply committed to fostering food system sustainability. He is also serving on committees for the Massachusetts Division of Apprentice Standards to advocate for innovative programs that not only elevate culinary skills but also prioritize sustainable practices.
Furthermore, Ken extends his expertise and support to the local community by advising them on the valuable services to Child & Family Communities, Food Banks, and Veterans transitioning to culinary careers. His collaborative solutions have not only transformed the culinary landscape but also improved the lives of individuals seeking new opportunities in the culinary world. With a remarkable track record of leadership, education, and community engagement, Ken is a true visionary, dedicated to shaping a brighter and more sustainable future for the food industry.
Ken has honed his skills through diverse and dynamic roles in the culinary and management world. He has an impressive history, having served as the Chef aboard a 105-foot yacht in the Caribbean, as well as a Personal Chef aboard private jets for prominent figures, including Las Vegas Casino Developer Steve Wynn and various celebrities.
In his role as Chef and Director of a prestigious Boston law firm, Ken managed full-service dining for a substantial workforce of 600 employees, delivering exceptional culinary experiences daily. He also shared his expertise as a Chef Instructor for the Boston Private Industry Council and Boston Public Schools, mentoring and shaping the culinary careers of aspiring talents.
As an alumnus of Johnson & Wales University, Ken continues to be actively involved in alumni activities, contributing to the growth and development of the culinary community. His journey is a testament to his versatility and dedication in various culinary and management roles, leaving an indelible mark on the industry. With a rich tapestry of experiences, Ken is a true culinary luminary and educator.
Ken’s philosophy revolves around the power of meaningful partnerships and community connection. Saying “My philosophy is to strengthen one’s impact through meaningful partnerships and a connection with the community. There’s no greater satisfaction than being part of organizations that do well and do good,” He finds immense satisfaction in contributing to an organization that embodies these principles, which makes his position as Director of Community Relations a wonderful fit for the foundation.
Director of Training
I love helping people that are looking for a new career. Helping to teach news skills and then helping someone find a permanent job is really gratifying to me.”
Will has been a valued part of the Snapchef team since 2005, arriving with years of experience in a variety of food service arenas. “I spent most of my teen years in El Salvador – working in the five different kitchens that were part of my family’s amusement park. I then went to culinary school in California before coming to Boston.”
Will currently holds the role of Director of Culinary Training, where he spearheads our FastTrack Training programs. His ability to connect with training participants is unparalleled, showcasing not only his exceptional culinary expertise but also his innate talent for educating others. We consider ourselves extremely fortunate to have him as a valuable member of our Snapchef Foundation team, where his unwavering passion for collaborating with others and his remarkable skills shine brightly.
With years of experience in the non-profit sector, Carley has witnessed the incredible impact that non-profit organizations can have on individuals and communities. Through her dedication to making a positive difference, she has cultivated a deep understanding of the challenges faced by diverse populations and the importance of empowering those who face barriers and advocating for equitable access to resources and opportunities.
Carley has successfully secured grant funding to support programs, allowing them to expand their reach and create opportunities for people from all walks of life.
Recognizing the need for sustainability and growth, she has developed a strong focus on diversifying organizational revenue streams, ensuring a mission’s longevity by exploring new avenues, nurturing partnerships, and engaging with the community.
Her educational background in health science and minor in holistic health has given her a unique perspective on the well-being of individuals and communities. This holistic view aligns perfectly with The Snapchef Foundation’s values and approach. With a firm belief that successful workforce development goes beyond the technical aspects of a position, it encompasses a profound understanding of wellness and the social factors that impact individuals’ lives.
Her experience in the non-profit sector, focus on diverse populations, expertise in health sciences, and commitment to social justice have all converged to fuel her passion for the mission of the Snapchef Foundation. In her role as Executive Director, she is excited to embrace the foundation’s empowering, community-focused, and educational values. She is most looking forward to working closely with fellow staff members, participants, and community members to effect sustainable change and development in the community.
She firmly believes everyone deserves equal access to rewarding careers that enable them to provide for themselves and their families. She is passionate about creating opportunities that improve individuals’ lives and empower them to reach their fullest potential.
Carley says, “I am deeply honored to be part of an organization that is making a tangible difference in the lives of individuals and communities.”