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It might seem a stretch to relate a biochemistry degree with cooking skills, but Molly Parece Sadowsky '95 sees a connection. “Cooking really is chemistry,” says Sadowsky, who opened a Portland, Ore. café, The Purple Parlor, with her husband, Dan, in August. “It's putting certain ingredients together for a product. I like doing that – experimenting and seeing what happens.”

The couple used a significant amount of reused and recycled materials to renovate the building that serves both as the café and their home. Their efforts were recognized with a $5,000 Innovation Grant from Portland's Office of Sustainable Development.

Sadowsky is flourishing in her role as chef despite lacking professional experience and training. Previously, she worked as a server and as a barista and supervisor for a coffee shop chain. Although the work week is long, Sadowsky enjoys preparing the café's vegetarian cuisine.

“I like being in charge of my day,” she says. “I'm the type of person who's going to work hard no matter what, so it's nice to work hard for myself. I also really like meeting my neighbors – seeing people come in who like what we have done with the place and feel comfortable about talking with each other here.”

After graduating from Lafayette with a biochemistry degree, Sadowsky earned a master's degree in public health from the University of Massachusetts. She worked for nearly three years at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before moving to Portland with her husband last year.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles