Our Story

Fat = Flavor

Our journey started in a number of places. A young boy in Zambia travels to the market with his father to learn to pick out the freshest of fruits and vegetables, all the while fearing ridicule from the other young boys and girls who were convinced that kitchen work was a job reserved for the women. 

Across the country, a young girl in Ellensburg learns to value 
the simple things in life, and the natural order of herbs, and healthy nutrition from her single mother. 

Not far from there, a young boy in Yakima is waking up on Thanksgiving morning, running into the kitchen to help prepare the turkey, his favorite way of connecting with his father. 

The boy in Zambia would grow up to become the Lion Chef Gilbert Kalombo. The young girl in Ellensburg would grow up to become the Riot Chef. 

And the young boy in Yakima would grow up to become Yakima's Fat Pastor. 

Together, with their families (Beth, Glenn, Tenielle and Dawn) this team created Fat Pastor Productions, a multi-faceted culinary collaboration, aimed at making a difference in the Yakima Valley and around the world, through food. 

Through their first organization, Urban Kitchen Yakima, they entered the culinary scene with the goal of helping Yakima's at-risk youth find a family in the kitchen - learning business and culinary skills, and eventually running their own short term restaurant. They partnered with Chef Julie Kirchhoff (head chef at The Lab) and David Allan of Allan Brothers Fruit. 
But they also knew that they would need a way to channel money into that program. So they began one of the nation's first legal underground dining clubs, Bite Club.  150+ members and spanning two Washington regions, they knew it was time to move into something more. 

That's when The Lab was born, a unique globally inspired lunch spot in downtown Yakima. The Lab was birthed on February 19th, 2020 - what seemed like moments before Covid-19 hit. But through generosity, gratitude and intense determination, The Lab has continued to push through the roadblocks, and continues to serve our beautiful city. 


As the Fat Pastor team built up the team serving The Lab, another incredible opportunity was being birthed out of relationship. JBell Cellars and the owners, Wes & Natasha Teslo had already been an enormous part of the teams story. Their second Bite Club event in 2017 was hosted at the beautiful JBell grounds. But it wasn't just a normal event. A beautiful relationship was taking shape, and the Teslo family became extended family of the Fat Pastor team. Multiple events took place on their site, along with multiple opportunities to grow in friendship. There had been many conversations about the potential of doing something together culinarily, but the time was not right until early summer of 2020 when it seemed like everyone was ready to move forward and launch what would become "il grasso." The start date was determined - July 25th, 2020. 

Having gained a following over multiple sphere's, the Fat Pastor team is so excited to continue growing and creating opportunities for regional transformation. We believe in playing with our food, creating culinary adventures, and capitalizing on the beauty and wealth that is the Yakima valley. And we hope you'll join in the fun with us. 

If we haven't yet connected with you at one of our other projects, we look forward to meeting you soon at il grasso. 

Il Grasso E Sapore!

Fat = Flavor! 

Owners & Executive Team

Chef Shawn Niles "The Fat Pastor, Chef Gilbert Kalombo

chef shawn.jpeg

While our executive team handles the culinary and financial operations, we realize that we would be nothing without the rest of our family that so beautifully completes our overall operations. 

Tenielle Niles

Beth Kalombo

Jake Niles

Jeremy Gaudette