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Meet John Strove J ohn Strove was born in Ojai, California, and from the beginning he was a Dodgers fan. Maybe that’s because his grandfather, a cement contractor, who was contracted to build two giant cement champagne glasses as part of the construction of the Dodger Stadium. Those glasses are still there today. John remained a Dodgers fan even after his family moved north to Morgan Hill where his father worked for the City of Morgan Hill. Today, John and his family live in Gilroy and his parents live in Washington. As John tells it, as a young man “he had to be lost before he was found,” and back then he found himself in Coos Bay, Oregon working in a Mongolian Restaurant and then studying culinary arts at Oregon Coast Community College. John said that in that part of the country your profession was either logging, fishing or cooking at the Casino. He finished the two-year culinary program in one year. Shortly after that, he went to Las Vegas where he worked for PF Chang’s. Then he came full circle, returning to Gilroy to help with the opening of the Milias Restaurant. He worked there for a year. It was there that he met his future wife Andrea Dias, who was a pastry chef. Andrea made pastry and worked the pantry and the hot line at Milias. It wasn’t long before Andrea, a Gilroy native and graduate of Gilroy High School, became Andrea Strove. John and Andrea decided to start a family and became the proud parents of a baby boy whose name is Grayson. John is now the Executive Chef at DeAnza Community College in Cupertino. He gets up at 3:15 in the morning and starts his work day at 5:00 a.m. His job at DeAnza includes managing the entire food service operation from serving the president of the college and the administration to student dining in the student union. He manages a staff of 40. Andrea is the Event Manager at Gilroy Lodge on the Hill (Gilroy Elks Lodge). She is responsible for marketing, booking and staffing special events. Recently when Dave Bozzo, Chef at the Elks Lodge, was looking for a special dessert for the Elks’ Spring Fashion Show, Andrea came through with 175 servings of white chocolate raspberry mousse. At 34, John enjoys Gilroy. He says it’s convenient to Morgan Hill, San Jose, and Santa Cruz, and the community is family friendly. He enjoys the wineries and the agriculture. John would like to see a culinary program offered at Gavilan Community College, and maybe even teach a class or two, which would be an opportunity to share his knowledge. John feels that with the spare time that he has, he would like to give back to the community. John says that he and Andrea, who is 24, work together as a team in their parenting. Andrea’s own parents live in Gilroy, and sometimes grandma Dias takes care of Grayson when she and John are at work. In their free time, Andrea said they like cooking together. When John’s older son, five-year-old Aiden, comes for a visit, John and Andrea enjoy taking the boys to the park. John says that Aiden is the smartest five-year-old he has ever met. Since John and Andrea live in Gilroy, it’s hoped that John will turn his allegiance to our sports teams in the Bay Area. And maybe we will see him and Andrea on the Cook-off stage at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Welcome to South County, John and family. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JULY / AUGUST 2016 Hidden Gems Campaign – Visit California In May 2016, Visit California announced they will showcase eight different and diverse “Hidden Gems” from the state’s wide collec- tion of incredible and unique des- tinations in the eight rural regions. For the Central Coast region, the Circus Trees in Gilroy Gardens were selected as the “Gem”. A 90-second video will feature the Circus Trees and tell the story of the creator, Alex Erlandson, and the man who preserved and organized the transfer of the trees to Gilroy Gardens, Michael Bonfante. This video will be designed to inspire viewers to make the trip, short or long, to discover one of California’s hidden gems, and to do it soon. 105