ANN OGDEN GAFFNEY, HARLEM NYC


Ann Ogden Gaffney was my first boss. I was studying in Paris and came to New York for two months to do an internship at Shamask. Ann was heading up the design studio. It was 1988 and my first time in New York. Now I feel sorry for Ann to have had to put up with me back then ;)

Four years later I moved to New York fulltime to work for Calvin Klein. One day we received the announcement that we will be getting a new Design Director and in walks Ann!
I loved being reunited and to this day I am so grateful to have worked under her. She taught me a lot.

But then she left it all behind.
Here is her journey in her own words (it is long, but a worthy read):

‘In the early 90s I cooked and cared for a designer friend who had AIDS during the last six months of his life. This experience taught me not to be afraid when I was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2001. I had surgery and life went back to normal. I was lucky.

Not so with my second diagnosis, an unrelated breast cancer required surgery, chemo and radiation. I took time from work to get through my treatment.

I realized that my cooking skills were helping me to navigate the side effects of treatment better than most of my fellow patients in the chemo suite. I started sharing tips and recipes with them.
When my treatment ended, I made my decision to leave fashion and start Cook for Your Life in 2007.

CFYL’s mission is to give the cancer community the practical knowledge, tools and inspiration to cook their way into a healthy survivorship. To date, our free classes and programs in the New York City area have served over 13,000 in person, and over 8,000,000 patients and caregivers in the world via our subscription-free bi-lingual website.
It also provides over 1000 easy recipes tailored for the home cook, plus useful, cancer-centric food info.

Looking back, there were signposts that pointed the way that I didn’t immediately see. I believe it is important to stay flexible and be inquisitive, because the doors that open in life may not lead to where you first thought of going. Trust where the path takes you. You’ll know when it’s right.’