Dive Into A Young Chef’s Light

When she was 30, Franchesca Nor had her first baby, an aqua, navy, and seafoam progeny named Dive Coastal Cuisine.

(ABOVE: Dive Coastal Cuisine serves fresh, sustainable, non-GMO, organic salads, seafood, and sandwiches. Photo Kim Leeson)

Her son, Archer James, was born in 2016.

Both have matured and evolved; nourished the body, soul, and heart; and given back.

Dive continues to be a restaurant phenom, serving fresh, sustainable, non-GMO, organic salads, seafood, and sandwiches.

Franchesca Nor and her son, Archer. (Courtesy photos)

Chef/Owner Franchesca has beaten the odds as a restauranteur a few years before her 40th birthday.

Though she is well educated and trained, graduating top of her class at Johnson & Wales culinary school, and has worked in virtually every restaurant position, she doesn’t directly attribute her blessings to those things.

Rather, she credits always believing in her passion and vision. She’s allowed herself to make mistakes and learn from them. She’s loyal and believes in taking care of those who take care of you.

Dive has more than 25 employees, many of whom have been there since Day 1, an almost unheard-of feat in the high-turnover industry.

Franchesca’s exacting standards in food quality and preparation are understood by every member of her team, and she credits their consistency for Dive’s loyal customer base.

When I asked what she loves most about this business, she paused and got a little choked up.

“I’m feeding 25 families,” she said, referring to her employees. “That’s the most fulfilling thing about this.”

“You are a leader if your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream, learn, and become more.” That daily affirmation popped up on my phone the day I interviewed Franchesca at Dive, where I devoured her new Grilled Peach and Prosciutto Pizza on cauliflower crust, and she inhaled her Tuna Melt. When she told me about the work she does with Youth With Faces, a Dallas-based organization that provides practical life and work skills to youth in the juvenile justice system, the quote immediately came to mind.

By any definition, Franchesca is a leader. She and others help the teens discover a passion, purpose, and a view of their potential far greater than what their environments have offered so far.

She introduces new foods, like the time she served a group of uneasy teens quinoa and calamari (they loved it) and has written and cataloged recipes for the program. She recently was invited to join the Dallas chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international philanthropic group for women in the culinary arts.

Throughout our lunch, Franchesca was full of optimism, passion, and light, appropriate since her surname means ‘light” in Arabic. She exudes gratitude and stokes a dream that will go beyond Dive’s current footprint. Her priority today, of course, is Archer; a little boy who, she humblebrags, prefers to chew leaves from his mama’s backyard chocolate peppermint plant rather than bubblegum.

Kersten Rettig

Kersten Rettig, a Park Cities-based writer with more than 30 years’ in food and beverage marketing and PR, is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier and has a food Instagram called KickshawPapers.

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