Maria Palma

Dave Terrazas

Chef/Culinary and Wellness Program Specialist,
San Antonio Botanical Garden

Chef Dave Terrazas is an El Paso, Texas native and a U.S. Air Force veteran.  Dave served ten years on active duty as an Intelligence Analyst, and subsequently as a civilian Senior Analyst supporting information technology-centered analytic capabilities development for government sponsors.  Dave’s focus areas included social network analysis, researching precursors of social instability, including hunger and food insecurity, and terrorism.  Cooking since he was a child, Dave’s global travels and experiences added to a growing interest in the culinary arts and sciences, culminating in the launch of a second career as a chef, horticulturalist, and food security activist.  Dave holds a Master’s degree in Homeland Security from American Military University, a diploma from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary arts, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Agriculture Leadership, Education, and Communications from Texas A&M University, researching integration of agriculture and culinary arts into K-12 curriculum as a means of contextualizing lesson plans.  A strong advocate of volunteer public service, Dave joined the staff at Allen Academy, a Bryan, Texas-based private school following volunteer service in Moore, Oklahoma, where he spent a month as a volunteer chef representing the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and a nonprofit group called Mercy Chefs, cooking for tornado disaster relief workers and displaced residents of the area.  At Allen Academy, Dave ran a food service program concurrently with a 1,500-square foot campus garden that served as an outdoor classroom and a resource for students to grow their own food for lunch service.  Dave subsequently took a position at Texas A&M University as a Research Associate at the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture supporting climate-based coffee resiliency research before joining the San Antonio Botanical Garden in October 2016 as the Culinary and Wellness Program Specialist.  Dave currently manages the garden’s fitness and culinary arts programming, to include programming for the Culinary Health Education for Families (CHEF) program, a partnership between Goldsbury Foundation, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, and its partners.