HIRE A CHEF
From a young age, Lauren McNally discovered she had an undeniable passion for cooking. She grew up in the kitchen learning family recipes that have been passed down over generations and began following other chefs who shared similar culinary points of view. To further her growing love for cooking, she enrolled in the Natural Gourmet Institute. Her recent accomplishments include starting her private chef business, working expos, catering several private events and volunteering at the James Beard Foundation, while cooking alongside professional chefs. Throughout both her personal and professional experiences, she has learned proper cooking techniques, discovered the pairing of flavors and how, if combined correctly, food fuels our bodies.
As graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute for Food & Healing, one of the most well-known vegetarian cooking schools in NYC, he was also an instructor of the Chef’s Training Program there for 7 years. He worked with renowned chefs, David Burke & Richard Leach of Park Avenue Café in NYC, as well as Erik Tucker, the Executive Chef at Millennium in San Francisco. He has worked as a consultant for multiple establishments in the Tri-State Area, such as Blossom in NYC, one of the top plant-based restaurants in NYC. As a native of Sri Lanka, food is a major part of the culture, as it is with most ethnicities. Being able to show love through food is one of life’s greatest gifts. His overall love and desire to or to create beautiful and delicious food is apparent in his cuisine. The fusion of Asian flavors and traditional American Comfort Food enables him to create dishes that are not only delicious, but esthetically pleasing to the eye and palate. Reinventing these dishes into Vegan Cuisine, is not only a talent, but a true passion.
For as long as I can remember food has been on my mind. I have a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition management from ASU and I am a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. After gaining experience in the restaurant industry through working at Michelin rated Campton Place and Chicago’s Girl and the Goat, I decided to enter the world of being a private chef.
My insatiable appetite for adventure has been the driving force behind my travels to far corners of the globe to countries including Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, France, Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, England, Australia, Fiji, and New Zealand.
This has played an integral role in the development of my ever expanding palette, and I plan to be a lifelong student of the craft.
Chef Anica comes from humble beginnings. With two busy, working parents, Anica was often the one cooking for her family, creating healthy and flavorful dishes that they all loved. For years following college Anica worked as a professional, high-profile nanny, which allowed her to further her love of cooking and hospitality. Soon after Anica was given the opportunity to attend The Institute of Culinary Education and work in some of NYC’s most popular restaurants. In addition, Chef Anica has had the privilege of being mentored by Bravo’s Top Chef judge, Gail Simmoms and Food Network’s Chef Anthony Hoy Fong. Chef Anica also has several nutritional certifications, which she implements in her cooking. Both Chef Anica’s experience and bold, bubbly personality bring a wonderful presence inside and outside of any kitchen.
As a chef and certified health coach with education from NGI, Bailey is committed to a well-rounded, plant-based and health-supportive approach to cooking. She prides herself on providing locally grown, seasonal and organic ingredients. Her priority is to prepare meals that support the health goals of her clients, creating delicious, nutritious and beautiful meals. She keeps the process clean, streamlined and stress free!
Chef Bailey Cohen is a graduate of Indiana University and The Natural Gourmet Institute of New York. She is also a certified health coach and a food safety handler. Over the years she has worked alongside several well-known chefs at the Farmer’s Table in Boca Raton, Florida and Modern Love in Brooklyn, New York. She has extensive experience coordinating catered events and private parties. She enjoys a loyal following of personal chef clients.
Jessica Blanco is a private chef, food stylist and recipe developer located in NYC and Hamptons.
She graduated from Johnson and Wales University in Providence R.I. With a Culinary Arts and Foodservice Management Degree.
Has worked in the restaurant industry for 10 years, most recently at Jean George’s Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton.
Using seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, she creates delicious and nutritious meals. As a chef, she is always exploring new approaches to new American cuisine. She likes to experiment with Mexican twists and techniques.
With dedication and talent she cares about what she puts down on the plate.
My name is Chef Lizzy Cooper, and I create food that is vibrant, healthy, and approachable. I learned to love to cook as a little girl by watching both my grandmothers in the kitchen so effortlessly craft their famous recipes, whether it was Grandma Betty’s Creole gumbo and perfect lemon merengue pie, or Grandma Lil’s matzo ball soup and brisket. I now draw inspiration from dishes at my favorite restaurants, beautiful cookbooks, and my travels around the world.
After cooking in several restaurants over the years and shadowing under some wonderful chefs in Los Angeles, in 2017 I founded AvocaToast by Lizzy, LA’s original gourmet avocado toast pop-up and catering operation which I ran as a social enterprise focused on hiring formerly incarcerated alumni of InsideOut Writers, a program within LA’s Central Juvenile Hall through which I taught creative writing to detained youth weekly for six years. As a private chef, I offer custom meal prep, “a la minute” service, cooking lessons, and small scale catering. There are few things I enjoy more than cooking for and feeding others, and doing so with a whole lotta love.
When I am not in the kitchen, you can find me running marathons, practicing and teaching yoga, reading, and hanging with my sweet pup, Lulu.
Stephanie is an Ayurvedic chef, founder of The Wright Methods and former Chef de Cuisine of the Assemblage who develops and curates culinary programming that emphasizes the importance of local, seasonal and sustainable cooking practices for workshops, retreats and branded content. Certified in Ayurvedic Nutrition and Culinary studies from Bhagavat Life, the only Ayurvedic culinary school in North America, she is the resident chef and culinary program manager for FamilyCook Productions, a nutrition education non-profit.
By approaching cuisine through the perspective of digestion, Stephanie develops recipes for populations with specific dietary guidelines for organizations such as the American Kidney Fund and the American Dairy Council. Her knowledge of seasonal ingredients and recipes provides the basis of her work as an Ayurvedic consultant for Maya Kaimal Foods, Illuminate Foods as well as private clients.
A San Francisco Bay Area native, Kayla grew up surrounded by a bounty of beautiful produce and endless varieties of cuisines, flavors and hyper-local slow food. She draws heavily on her California roots to create unique and inventive vegetable-forward fare that’s deeply in touch with the seasons.
Kayla graduated from Bauman College’s Natural Chef Program in Berkeley, California, and has spent over 10 years in a wide range of culinary environments. She has cooked for private families of all ages, individuals living with chronic and serious illness, allergies and sensitivities, vegetarians and vegans, and groups of 2-200; from the Bay Area and Silicon Valley to NYC and the Hamptons.
In addition, Kayla’s natural warmth, passion for people and commitment to nourishing the whole person make her shine outside the culinary world.
For Hannah, cooking seasonally with fresh, whole, locally sourced food while knowing her farmers, is very important. She believes that the best dishes are those that only have a few simple ingredients, freshly picked at the peak of their season. She is trained in plant-based cooking and holds a health-supportive culinary degree from Natural Gourmet Institute. Vegetable forward, pescatarian diets are her bread and butter, but she also enjoys catering to any client’s dietary wants, needs and restrictions while menu planning. For Hannah, food is medicine.
Chef Tina DeJesus graduated from Le Cordon Bleu where she learned the art of French cuisine. Through continuing education, Tina learned nutrition and plant-based cooking, mastering a healthy lifestyle. With Tina’s professional training in classic French cuisine and her career as a chef in fine dining, she learned to create recipes to suit any lifestyle. She focuses on bringing out the natural flavors of simple seasonal ingredients.
Since starting Veg Head Chef in 2013, Tina has been cooking for high-end events, teaching healthy living and preparing meals for individuals and families.