Autistic Chef Ava Marie Teaches East Bay Kids

Autistic Chef Ava Marie Teaches East Bay Kids how to make her Cranberry Pumpkin Loaf recipe



Chef Ava Marie, the Autistic Chef  and Owner of Autism Cooks food blog, recently spent the day with me sharing her passion for cooking with a group of East Bay High School students. The students are enrolled in a transitional program for kids with special needs. I had the awesome honor of being her sous chef for the class of 25 students while she taught them how to cook her scrumptious Holiday Cranberry Pumpkin Loaf recipe. 

I met Ava Marie Romero at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. She was a member of the audience during my cooking demo “Making Heirloom Jams with Garden Petals.” After my demo, she told me that she too was a cooking instructor and worked for the South San Francisco School District nutrition services and also taught cooking classes at the South San Francisco Library and Burlingame Recreation Center. She is also a food competitor entering online contests and the winner of countless State Fair prizes and ribbons for her baked and canned goods. I love how food draws us together and feel blessed that we have been friends ever since. 

Rebecka Evans and Ava Marie Romero

I was blown away by Ava’s poise and professionalism as she shared her personal journey as a young adult with autism, fueled with a passion for a career in cooking. As a person born with autism, Ava has meet adversity head on in her life, but she has never let it deter her from her goals. To know that Ava put her mind to her dream and made it a reality is pure joy! 

Cranberry Pumpkin Loaf, made by Chef Ave Marie

The Cranberry Pumpkin Loaf made by Ave Marie was a big hit with the students and staff. I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we did! PLEASE stop by and follow the Autistic Chef Ava Marie on Facebook. You can find more of her delicious recipes on Autism Cooks

Chef Ava Marie is my friend and my inspiration! 

Chef Ava Marie


Cranberry Pumpkin Loaf
Yields 2
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
  1. 3 eggs
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 3/4 cups applesauce
  4. 1 1/2 cups pure pumpkin puree
  5. 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  6. 1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  7. 1 1/2 baking soda
  8. 3/4 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  1. In a large bowl mix sugar, applesauce, and canned pumpkin (the wet) with wooden spoon until well combined
  2. In another bowl mix flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, and salt and mix to combine
  3. Gradually stir flour mixture into the wet pumpkin mixture in small batches until well incorporated.
  4. Fold in the dried cranberries
  5. Pour batter into 2 greased loaf pans bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
At Home with Rebecka
Chef Ava Marie

Chef Ava Marie

Chef Ava Marie