Meet the Co-op Team

Mr. Mike Bancroft (The Sauce Boss) is an interdisciplinary community artist and educator born in Chicago. He is the founder of Co-op Image, a youth arts and entrepreneurship organization, and makes a mean bunch of sauces and seasonings (a.k.a. Co-op Sauce!) that help fund it.
Bridget Bancroft is an artist and arts educator who helped found Co-op Image over 10 years ago. She helps in the kitchen, at markets, and with the Stew Supper Club.  She loves Co-op’s Chchcherry Bomb.

LaRhonda Gadlen began working with Co-op Image through Chi-town Chefs three summers ago and has since become a Co-op staple.  She works for Crumb Chicago (in the same kitchen as Co-op), helped to develop the café menu, and is the barista for the Stew Supper Club (except on school nights).  LaRhonda digs Co-op’s Wild Mary Mix served hot with a grilled cheese.


Curtis Dowd 
first began working with Mr. Mike and the Co-op team when he was a high school sophomore involved with Chicago’s After School Matters programs. Now, he rocks the kitchen at Co-op and Sauce and Bread, making, processing and bottling hot sauce, and working behind the scenes on monthly supper club events. Curtis, no amateur to the business, says his favorite Co-op Sauce variety is Grapefruit Ghost, the hottest in the bunch.
Desiree Wallace As a freshman in high school, Desiree was involved with a glassblowing workshop at Co-op Image, an organization that Co-op Sauce helps fund. Ever the artist, she also began crafting crochet replicas of the Co-op hot sauce bottles on the side, and it wasn’t long before she was officially hired on to help Mr. Mike sling his hot sauce throughout the land. Mole and Poblano are Desiree’s favorite Co-op sauces, but she also recommends shaking some Pucker Dust over baked fries.
Anne Kostroski The owner of Crumb Chicago, Anne runs her bread pastry baking business out of the very same kitchen where Co-op’s sauce is made.  Anne employs a number of Co-op Image youth for her operation and is the other half of Sauce and Bread and The Stew Supper Club. If forced to choose a favorite Co-op sauce, she’d put Mole at the top of her list.
Evan PlummerWe can’t seem to keep Evan out of the kitchen — which is a great thing! Always around to lend a hand, Evan is an active Co-op Image board member who helps out with the Stew Supper Club and wherever he can. His favorite Co-op Sauce is the Poblano.
Justin Sharp Known as the other Sauce Boss, Justin is a Co-op partner who helped develop the sauce from day one. His early investment in the form of a new food processor helped Co-op keep its doors open and operations running smoothly at a crucial juncture. Little did Justin know that this would make him our first and only investor.  Justin’s favorite sauce is anything new on the Co-op shelf!

Shareil Green 
met Mr. Mike as an apprentice through the Co-op Clothing Tech program at Orr High School four years ago. Not only does she help with sauce production on the weekends, but she played a part in developing the Sauce and Bread Kitchen menu, and is a talented designer who lends her artistic skills to Co-op package and label design.
Laron Gadlen started out in Co-op Image’s Glassworks program five years ago, but he has since traded his blowtorch for a chef’s knife – helping with the Sauce and Bread café as well as with prep for the sauce.  Laron’s favorite Co-op treat is serving up Chi-Racha on guacamole.

Zephaniah Flakes 
Zeph lives a few blocks away from Co-op’s original garden where the produce was grown, and cut his teeth in the Chi-Town Chefs program with Mr. Mike. He now helps in the kitchen with packing and catering.  Zeph is all about the Too Hot sauce on a burrito.
Thelonius and Biafra These two youngsters have grown up around Co-op Image and Co-op Sauce. Their father, Kevin, is the Chair of Co-op Image’s board. The pair can occasionally be seen working a market or managing a welding project for one of Co-op Image’s glassblowing workshops. Thelonius’s favorite Co-op Sauce product is the Spice Rub on tortilla chips. Biafra is yet undecided.