Working with children has always been my goal, and I've been able to combine my two passions within Food Explorers: working with kids and cooking. As a Registered Dietitian, my goal has always been to introduce children to delicious, tasty and healthy food.
I graduated from UCONN in 2015 and started working at the WIC program. I then transitioned to a Retail Dietitian with ShopRite before leaving to start Food Explorers
Food Explorers wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for the support of every single library, school, Girl Scout Troop, Parks & Rec department and most importantly, the parents and children that make up the Food Explorers family.
Program Development Coordinator
Lara’s favorite place to be is in the kitchen! She loves teaching children how to cook and helping them build confidence with their cooking skills. It is her mission to help people appreciate all the delicious ways foods can be prepared. Lara believes all foods have a place on your plate. Her favorite foods are waffles, sushi, and strawberry rhubarb pie.
During her time as a preschool teacher in Hartford, Connecticut she enjoyed growing vegetable gardens, exploring foods, and making recipes with her class. Her love for learning about food with her class inspired her to further her education in nutrition. Lara has a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Wellness from the University of Saint Joseph and an associate's degree in Early Childhood Education.
My name is Rachael Whitney, and I was born and raised in Connecticut. I earned my bachelors, masters and completed my dietetic internship all at the University of Saint Joseph. I am a new Registered Dietitian but have always loved finding and trying out new recipes in my kitchen at home. I am looking forward to passing on my love of cooking and baking with all the children that pass through my classes. Some of my favorite things to make are zucchini bread, apple pie and pizza. When I am not working, I enjoy reading, gardening and crafting.
I was born in New Haven, CT and grew up in Meriden, CT. I have always been fascinated with food, and my love for cooking began at an early age thanks to my family, which instilled strong Mexican and Italian traditions. My love for food and helping people is what made me choose a career path in Nutrition and Dietetics. I attended Johnson & Wales University for a BS in Culinary Nutrition and the University of New Haven for a MS in Human Nutrition. Throughout the years I have worked in many various nutrition and culinary environments including working as a personal chef and as a chef at a local restaurant, selling and demoing infused olive oils and herbal teas all over New England, and also completing a year of service with AmeriCorps FoodCorps. When I am not working or studying, I enjoy studying languages, traveling abroad, cooking for my family and Fiancé, sewing, and working on home DIY Projects. My favorite things to cook are my grandmother’s Eggplant Rollatini, Chicken Enchiladas, and Albanian Byrek.
Hello, my name is Michelle. I am a Registered Dietitian who recently joined the Food Explorers Team. My background includes years of teaching both adults and children, including my own three children, the principles of healthy eating and the joy of trying new foods. It is widely known that making healthy food choices every day is paramount for good health, but it is often
challenging to make those choices. Between the number of new foods showing up on store shelves and the often-confusing nutrition messages presented in the media, making decisions
about what is best to feed ourselves and our families can be difficult. For this reason, I chose nutrition as my field of study and have made helping children and families understandthese principles and their relationship to lifelong health a priority.
The absolute best part about working with children, is seeing their excitement and sense of accomplishment when they complete a recipe and taste what they have made. This sense of accomplishment, along with a newly developed understanding that foods can be healthy and delicious, increases the likelihood that they will go on to be true “Food Explorers”. Individuals who understand the relationship between food choices and health while trying and enjoying foods they may have otherwise ignored.
I am excited to be part of a team that strives to make their classes engaging, supportive and fun. Where each student has a chance to build their skills in the kitchen, develop a curiosity about unfamiliar foods and understand that food choices are an important factor in overall
My name is Genieva. I'm a fairly new Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. I passed my RD exam in October of 2022. In 2019 I graduated with my bachelor's degree in Dietetics from Madonna University before going on to complete the University of Saint Joseph's Dietetic Internship Program in May of 2022. I love learning about cultural foods, cooking dishes from different countries and traveling to different countries. I've been to India, Portugal, Germany & Canada. My hobbies include reading, gardening, cooking, hiking & finding the peace that can be found being out in nature. I have experience as a dietitian in long term care as well as volunteering experience as a cooking instructor for adults with autism.
I'm looking forward to Fall as a cooking instructor with Food Explorers because I love teaching children & seeing the joy they get from having new learning experiences especially as it relates to cooking and nutrition. It is so important for children to develop healthy mindsets towards food at a young age, as well as the life skills learning how to cook can provide to them. During the course of my career as an RDN, along with continuing on with Food Explorers, I hope to focus on working with children, possibly finding a place in pediatrics and prenatal nutrition for expectant mothers. I have a lot of passion in my heart for these specific focuses and I'm excited for whatever the future has in store for me!
Way back when, as an undergrad pharmacy major, I took an elective nutrition course and got hooked on the power of food to heal. I switched my major to clinical dietetics and spent the next 35 plus years trying to help others get hooked as well.
Baking as a kid was my introduction to the kitchen, and I have loved experimenting with all kinds of cooking ever since. Some of my favorite things to make are scones and soups. In the meantime, my husband and I have raised three sons. Besides spending time with my boys and cooking, I'm happiest gardening, thrifting, biking, or playing the flute.
My nutrition work has included time in the neonatal ICU/pediatrics, worksite wellness, private consulting, and dialysis. In every setting, patients/caregivers/clients would have their challenges, but I constantly witnessed such benefits for those who were comfortable in the kitchen. That's why I'm so excited to join Food Explorers; to share the fun and creativity of cooking and help build kitchen confidence!