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Lois Leonhardi is a private chef, yoga instructor, ayurvedic coach, and overall wellness expert. She left a career in finance to travel the world and learn the secrets to a balanced life!
Chelsea Miller is quite literally the girl with the knife….er, the woman with the knife. For the past six years, she has been forging artisan kitchen knives out of a small shop in Brooklyn, NY. From peddling her wares at a humble flea market stand to making knifes for Mario Batali and the chefs of Eleven Madison Park, Chelsea embodies art, entrepreneurship, and a dedication to providing a seriously quality product.
Kathleen Schaffer began her culinary journey at local restaurants in New Hope, Pennsylvania, her historic hometown along the Delaware River. She attended New York University and studied fine arts and art history, but she always worked in restaurants. It eventually became apparent that she was building a career in food over one in the arts, and what has unfolded is innumerable eclectic and prestigious positions in the industry – almost too many to list!
Chef Shruti Patel’s earliest memory of working with food was when she was about five years old, sitting on the front porch in India with her grandmother shucking fresh peas. Since then, food has always been a constant in her life. “Living” food has molded her into the competitive and strong woman she is in and out of the kitchen. Currently, Shruti is the executive chef of her pop-up series, Rangoli – Food Through Color, in which she crafts Indian dishes with a Spanish influence.
Born in San Francisco, Monica Feybesse has cooked at Michelin-starred restaurants in the Bay Area (Madera, Masa, Ninebark), New York (Atera), Copenhagen (Geranium), and Paris (Ledoyen). Last year, she took a turn to the sweet side with Tarts de Feybesse, her pastry business that went viral on Instagram. Monique channels her culinary creativity into artisan tarts that highlight local products. See what she’s up to @moniquefeybesse.
Polly’s Paladar is a private supper club in Nevada City. It’s also the brain (and love) child of Megan McCollam, who started the organization in 2011. Polly’s collaborates with different farms, chefs, and artists, featuring a new theme each month. So where does the name came from? “Paladar” is Spanish for “palate” or “roof of the mouth,” used in Cuba to refer to family-run restaurants. “Polly” is Megan’s real-life grandmother.
Lauren Barnard didn’t start out in the dining or drinking world. She began her career in Africa, working on projects to empower girls and women in developing countries. Her company Wine + Moxxi provides biodynamic and sustainable wines and consistently aligns itself with initiatives supporting women. So it’s only fitting that Lauren be featured this month as Feastly celebrates the amazing ladies spearheading movements near and far, big and small.
Chef Erin Cochran began her culinary career in Manhattan, working with chef Tom Colicchio (Gramercy Tavern) before moving to San Francisco and cooking at Foreign Cinema. She then became a private chef for Couch Surfing, which led her to international stints in both Istanbul and Italy. When Erin returned to the Bay Area, she joined the kitchens at The Heirloom Cafe, where she was sous chef, and at Octavia. Now, Erin is venturing out on her own, combining twenty years of culinary experience and a love of organic agriculture. Farmhand will be a small, family-style establishment with an attached, fully-functioning farm. With Feastly, diners get a sneak-peak into the dishes and concept for this new restaurant!
Vijitha Shyam might just be superhuman. She’s a molecular biologist, wife, and mom, but she is also a passionate home chef and food blogger. Her blog, Spices and Aroma, celebrates South Indian cuisine and her beloved grandmother, an accomplished home cook in her own right. From an elaborate chai tea service to a vegan Thanksgiving feast, Vijitha’s pop-ups are a diverse, tasty, and educational look at a commonly misunderstand or oversimplified cuisine.