Mission Magazine: Longtime Mission baker uses skills to help young patients stay on diet
By Steve Hale
It’s been nearly 10 years since Rachel Finn appeared on the cover of the first-ever issue of Mission Magazine. Her claim to fame, the amazingly popular Chacko’s Bakery & Catering, has been closed nearly six years.
For more than a dozen years, from 2001 to 2013, Chacko’s on Johnson Drive was, as the debut Mission Magazine headline proclaimed, “Our Hometown Bakery.” The successful eatery was heralded not just for its menu and baked goods, but also because it was an “everyone-knows-your-name” gathering place where customers and employees considered each other as family. Rachel and then-husband David Finn closed Chacko’s in April 2013 due to changing family dynamics and, per Rachel, the timing was right.
It didn’t take Rachel long to discover a new career beyond Chacko’s. Her cooking skills were well known at Children’s Mercy Hospital where dietitians wanted a different approach to patients’ compliance with complicated medically prescribed diets. They saw Rachel as a solution and recruited her to fi ll the position of Chef Educator. “Children’s Mercy hired me as a non-clinical person to be the liaison between the dietitians and the families,” Rachel explained. “I fi nd out what the barriers are with the families, such as their cooking skills, their tastes and their attitudes. I help them fi t things together. I give them recipes and training and a lot of encouragement.” The lion’s share of Rachel’s work at CMH is with children suffering from hard-to-control epilepsy. Doctors place these young patients on a ketogenic diet, a special high-fat, lowcarbohydrate and controlled-protein diet that helps control seizures. Rachel gives group cooking demonstrations and works directly with approximately 60 young patients and their families.
Now five years in with CMH, Rachel loves her job and considers the initial overture from the hospital a “godsend.”
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