DooF (“food” backwards) uses the power of multi-media entertainment, education and live events to explore food from every possible perspective: backwards, forwards, sideways, upside-down and inside-out.
We encourage our young explorers to look at food from every possible angle as they experience the exciting source-to-table journey of the world’s favorite foods – and the science, history and cultural traditions behind them.
The DooF experience is always interactive and imaginative, sometimes messy – and often hilarious.
Best of all, we make good food really fun – whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart!
Mike Axinn – Creator, Executive Producer
Mike Axinn combines expertise as a writer (IdeasProject, Mix Magazine, BBC, KQED), feature film audio professional (Star Wars, Titanic, The English Patient, Moulin Rouge), video producer, Web Site Editor (Nokia’s very successful IdeasProject.com), and Editorial Director (Involver) to create compelling media content to bring public awareness to social issues and business innovation.
As Editorial Director for at Involver, the web’s most trusted social marketing platform, Mike is responsible for creating and owning the voice of their brand. He was nominated for the MPSE Golden Reel Award for sound on Moulin Rouge, and was part of the sound crew on two Academy Award-winning feature films.
He is the creator of DooF, a Web and video initiative designed to get children excited about healthy food. The 2007 and 2008 DooF-a-Palooza hands-on family food events he created in collaboration with a team at Google were considered to be among the most successful events ever held there.
Mike received his MFA in film, with highest honors, from California College of the Arts and a BA from the University of Chicago.
Lauren Hopfenbeck – School Partnerships Coordinator
All it took was an introductory course called “Disease and Civilization” for Lauren to see that modern day heart disease and obesity were not much different from historical epidemics. Soon the old saying, “you are what you eat” started to make much more sense. Her exploration of food systems, environmental sustainability and global communities propelled interest in her own cultures eating habits.
Quickly noticing that these issues were not only affecting adults but youth as well, Lauren started to put her energy into projects that would raise awareness of these problems, particularly in school communities. Lauren has worked on a worm composting farm, written curriculum for students K-5 regarding the benefits of gardening and composting, acted as one of 5 leads to implement a student led food garden on her university campus (successfully established in February 2011) and has directed a youth cooking program in Berkeley, Ca.
She is most passionate about school food reform and would like to promote farm-to-cafeteria style breakfast and lunch options that showcase local products in primary and secondary schools. While sustainable food security projects do take up a lot of her time Lauren also loves to play the piano, enjoys practicing yoga and dreams of someday having Anthony Bourdain’s job.
Alan Tangren – Food Director, Board Member
Born and raised in California, Alan’s interest in food was fostered early on. As a child he spent the summers on his family’s farm in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains near Grass Valley, where his great-grandparents had settled in 1902. The primary activity at the farm was the growing of tree fruit, particularly peaches, nectarines, plums, apples, and pears. On the farm, Alan learned to appreciate the qualities of the wide variety of fresh, perfectly ripe fruits available from the orchard. And his happiest hours were those spent at his grandmother’s side in the kitchen.
Turning his interest in food into a life, Alan worked with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse from 1982 until 2004. He cooked in the upstairs café, on the salad and pizza line, and later helped supervise the café kitchen. He also spent several years cooking in the downstairs restaurant with Chef Paul Bertolli and Alice.
From 1991 to 1997 he was the forager for the café and restaurant. As forager he initiated and sustained relationships with many of the farmers, ranchers, and other suppliers, who with their high quality products helped shape the style of cooking at the restaurant.
In 1997 Alan became co-pastry chef for Chez Panisse. In that role he was responsible for planning dessert menus for both the restaurant and the café, their execution, and for obtaining the organic produce and other ingredients used.
In 2000 Alan began working with Mike Axinn and others on a kid’s food program, which has evolved into the present day Doof. As Food Director he works in many areas, including liaison with local farmers and restaurants, composing kid-friendly recipes, creating fun food activities, and posting the occasional blog.
Laura Martin Bacon, Culinary Creative Director/Intergalactic Alien Ambassador
A longtime writer and creative consultant for Williams-Sonoma and many other well-known culinary entities, Laura is in charge of finding the magic in good food – and making it fun for kids and families. As the founder of the DooF kids’ food blogging program, she spends much of her time in and out of kitchens with kids, space aliens and zebras. (You’ll find her alter egos chronicling the culinary adventures of Y and ZeBot as they travel through time and space in their supercool GastroPod. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Trippe, Commander Pollo and Cookbot are communicating from other galaxies in the solarship logs of the DSS Gastronomy.) In addition to Laura’s life on Planet DooF, she is an active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), Culinary Historians of Northern California, Slow Food, the San Francisco Professional Food Society and The Bakers Dozen. Her written work has appeared in numerous print and online publications around the country.
Margo Hall – Board Member
A key player in story development and outreach, Margo takes children back through time to uncover the origins of food as DooF’s Brenda Timebender. An award winning actor and director, Margo has performed for Arena Stage, A.C.T., Magic Theatre, Brava!, Word For Word, and many others. She is an original member of Campo Santo, the resident theater company of Intersection For The Arts in San Francisco, where she recently adapted a hit play from the Dave Eggers novel “Sacrament!”.
She recently collaborated with the Tectonic Group (Laramie Project), on the play Stories from Jonestown and The Peoples Temple, which premiered at Berkeley Repertory Theater in April 2005. Margo received her MFA from Catholic University in Washington DC, and in her spare time teaches acting and directing throughout the Bay Area. Film credits include Haiku Tunnel with Josh Kornbluth.
Dave Wong – Digital Media Coordinator, Board Member
Dave has been a storyteller since he was a wee lad. Growing up, he would draw comic books and devour movies and cartoons. His introduction to the Commodore 64 and Atari ST eventually led him to explore Computer Science, before he returned to his love of storytelling in Film Studies.
In 2004, he joined DooF while it was still just a little more than a small yellow door. He brings to the table a multi-disciplinary artistic and technical skillset consisting of graphic design, illustration, web design and computer science.
He is a professional photographer by trade, shooting weddings and corporate gigs all around the Bay Area, and has a BA in Film Studies from UC Berkeley.
Josh Kurz – Vegetable Animator, “Mr. Worcestershire”
Josh Kurz started as an embryo, 53 times smaller than a US nickel. Then, after high school he went to Russia to paint orphanages and clear shrubbery. In his junior year of college he appeared on Comedy Central for 30 seconds at 4am. This overwhelming success was quickly followed up with a multi-year stint on ABC. There, he and his partner Adam teamed up with good friend and reporter Robert Krulwich who let them dress up as sheep and smash dozens of eggs for Nightline and Good Morning America.
Other memorable achievements include running out of gas in Ohio, getting hot gelatin into a balloon, and building a pickle electrifier for Oliver Sacks.
Josh graduated from The University of Southern California, can whistle in German and lives by the motto: “Always smell your food before you eat it.”