WHO WE ARE
Pilot Light Consulting operates under the vision of chef turned consultant, Shannon Waters. Shannon has a rich history of experience in the kitchens of many highly-acclaimed restaurants. She graduated from The French Culinary Institute of New York, and holds a Masters in Restaurant Management with a Finance focus from Cornell University as well as a Bachelors in Economics from DePaul University.
Shannon began her culinary journey in the kitchen of Aspen, Colorado’s legendary five-star Little Nell, moving on to the renowned Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, and eventually the Michelin-starred Marea in New York under world-class chef Michael White. Her past few years have been spent with the NeTimeas Restaurant Group in San Francisco, where she worked at their flagship Flour + Water as well as Central Kitchen. Most recently, Shannon opened Aatxe, the latest venture from NeTimeas, where she quickly earned the title of Chef de Cuisine.
From a family farm in Colorado to writing for Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm in New York, living in Bangkok and cooking in Thai kitchens, and building intimate and collaborative relationships with a network of California food growers, Shannon’s roots in the culinary world run wide and deep.
Shannon Waters altruistic nature has always influenced her journey in the culinary world. From the prominent role she achieved in the San Francisco dining scene, Shannon built a platform of culinary learning for budding chefs – hosting fundraisers for Bay Leaf Kitchen, teaching cooking skills to the homeless youth at The Cooking Project, filling a mentorship role at Oasis Center for Young Women, and hosting thoughtful cooking classes and farmers market outings with Haven Women's Shelter. And as a founding member of The Proof Collective, a women-run food industry forum, she has actively helped create a space for her peers to support one another, and a sounding board for their creative business ventures.
Pilot Light Consulting was born from her desire to help other aspiring restaurant owners take flight. Shannon Waters brings an incredibly rich gastronomic background to the table, and an expert understanding of effective restaurant management. Shannon and Pilot Light Consulting offer a unique blend of deep and dynamic industry expertise.
M. Courtney Blake is a Carolina native that has been working in the restaurant industry for the better part of 15 years. She has worked with respected chefs in North Carolina, New York City, and San Francisco including chefs Nick Balla and Cortney Burns at the now shuttered Bar Tartine. In addition to earning her Master’s in Hospitality Management with a focus in Foodservice Management from Cornell University, Courtney co-hosts a supper club called Private Dining Room where the cultural conversation is directed to matters of social justice and sustainability within our foodways. She is passionate about ensuring the creative and financial successes of the chefs and entrepreneurs with whom she works.
Sidrah MG Watson got her hospitality gears started in some of Sonoma's best restaurants and winery tasting rooms. From there she went to San Francisco, working, training and learning in the cities great restaurants including being a part of the opening and team of the nationally recognized Flour + Water. She is joining Pilot Light as a Front of House consultant with a passion for hospitality and relationship building through food and wine. With her extensive hospitality and event experience she focuses on bringing teams together by creating a clear vision and a pathway to achieve service and education goals together.