Culinary Council

We are thrilled to have assembled a team of food and culinary experts across professions, such as chefs, food writers, farmers, food activists, and food entrepreneurs committed to nourishing New Yorkers living with severe and chronic illness.

Liz Alpern headshot

Activist, Cookbook Author, Entrepreneur

Liz Alpern

Liz Alpern is the creator of Queer Soup Night, a global event series highlighting the talent of queer chefs and raising funds for locally-based social justice organizations. She is co-author ofThe Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foodsand co-owner of The Gefilteria, a food venture that’s been reimagining Old World Jewish Foods since 2012. She was also co-executive producer of 2020's Great Big Jewish Food Fest. Her passion for food extends to the world of food systems, and she serves a consultant for national non-profit organization, Fair Food Network. Liz has been featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30 List and was selected for The Cherry Bombe 100 in 2018.

Mike Anthony headshot

Chef, Cookbook Author

Mike Anthony

Michael Anthony Michael Anthony is Executive Chef of Gramercy Tavern. Mike joined Gramercy Tavern as the Executive Chef in 2006. Under his leadership, the restaurant has earned a three-star New York Times review (2007) and James Beard Awards for “Outstanding Restaurant" (2008) and “Best Chef: New York City" (2012). In 2015, Mike won the James Beard Award for “Outstanding Chef," a national recognition. His book, V is for Vegetables, won the 2015 James Beard Award for Best Vegetable-Focused Cookbook.

Culinary Council member Dorothy Auer

Pastry Chef

Dorothy Auer

Dorothy Auer is the Pastry Chef at God's Love We Deliver, overseeing our beloved bakery, bringing more than 30 years of experience to the team. Dorothy is an entrepreneur, having started a successful restaurant, bakery, and retail store. Dorothy also has experience in large-scale production, having worked with our friends at Hot Bread Kitchen for many years. We’re thrilled to work with Dorothy, who brings her caring spirit and can-do attitude to all she does.

Marika Bender

Marika Bender is the General Manager for William Gottlieb Management Co., LLC since 1999, which manages and develops more than 100 family-owned properties in New York City and the Hudson River Valley. Among the family’s properties are several farms in the Hudson River Valley, including Heermance Farm in Tivoli, New York. Under Marika’s guidance, the farms are devoted to adopting renewable energy solutions and expanding access to top-quality, farm-fresh produce for New York City’s residents. Marika also created Heermance Art/Gastronomy magazine as a platform to introduce the farms’ products to chefs and restaurants throughout the world.


Mark Bittman

Mark Bittman is the author of more than thirty books, including the How to Cook Everything series, the #1 New York Times bestseller VB6, and Animal, Vegetable, Junk. He wrote for the Times for more than three decades, and became the country’s first food-focused Op-Ed columnist for a major news publication. He has hosted two television series and been featured in two others, including the Emmy-winning Years of Living Dangerously. Mr. Bittman is currently the editor-in-chief of The Bittman Project, the host of Food with Mark Bittman, and on the faculty of the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.

Executive Chef & Business Owner

Renee Blackman

Chef Renee Blackman is a New York City based chef who has turned her passion for food and hospitality into a successful career as a personal chef and caterer. Her talent has landed her amongst the elite with clients such as Odell Beckham Jr, Alex Toussaint and Kevin Durant. Chef Renee has been acknowledged for her culinary contributions by the James Beard Foundation. Chef Renee is recognized for her numerous television credits including recent hit series Pressure Cooker on Netflix. Food Network’s Chopped, Kitchen Crash with Jeff Mauro.


Linda Goode Bryant

Linda Goode Bryant is the Founder and President of Project EATS, a neighborhood-based project that uses art, urban agriculture, partnerships, and social enterprise to sustainably produce and equitably distribute essential resources within and between our communities; especially those where people live on working-class and low-incomes. Originally from Columbus, OH, Linda is a Guggenheim Fellow and a Peabody Award recipient. She was Founder and Director of Just Above Midtown, Inc. (JAM), a New York City non-profit artist space. Linda has a Masters of Business Administration from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in painting from Spelman College.

Chef, Actor, Cookbook Author

David Burtka

David Burtka is a chef, caterer, and award-winning actor who released his first cookbook, Life is a Party, in April 2019. He earned a BFA from the University of Michigan and studied at the William Esper Studios in New York. The talented Le Cordon Bleu chef gained valuable experience training under incredible chefs including Gina De Palma, Cat Cora, and Thomas Keller. He has been seen in cooking segments on “Barefoot Contessa,” “E! News,” “Home Made Simple,” “Rachael Ray,” “The Kitchen,” “Celebrity Dish,” “The Fablife,” and “The Chew.”

Tastemaker and Innovator in Media, Food, and Branding

Dana Cowin

Dana Cowin is an award-winning tastemaker and innovator in media, food and branding. Her work spans advising creatives, founders and non-profits in the restaurant and CPG space and creating editorial through podcasts, social, video, zines and books. She was the Editor in Chief of Food & Wine magazine for 21 years. Cowin recently returned to print with a zine, Speaking Broadly, based on her podcast of the same name, that shares the successes and challenges of women in hospitality. Cowin is on the board of Food Education Fund, Hot Bread Kitchen, the Food Council of City Harvest and Culinary Council of God's Love We Deliver.

Samah Dada headshot

Cookbook author and Founder of DADAEATS

Samah Dada

Samah Dada is a cookbook author and founder of her blog, DADAEATS. She has worked full-time in broadcast television at the TODAY Show where she was both the lead production associate, and an on-air food contributor. She is currently the host of her own digital cooking show, a TODAY Show original series called #COOKING with @DADAEATS. She started @DADAEATS with the goal of sharing her culinary endeavors, food adventures, and passion for creating indulgent yet healthy eats with her audience.  Her highly anticipated first cookbook, DADA Eats, comes out in June.

Chef, Cookbook Author, and TV Personality

Amanda Freitag

Amanda Frietag, through her work in professional restaurant kitchens, as a food television personality and now author, Chef Freitag has become more than a chef, she is The Chef Next Door. While the moniker is derived from the title of Amanda’s first cookbook, The Chef Next Door: A Pro Chef's Recipes for Fun, Fearless Home Cooking (Houghton Mifflin; 2015), it also aptly conveys both her professionalism and warm, accessible personality. These traits have served her well as a judge on Food Network’s hit series, Chopped, and as the co-host of Food Network’s American Diner Revival with Ty Pennington.

Actor and Winemaker

Kyle MacLachlan

Acclaimed actor Kyle MacLachlan has brought indelible charm and a quirky sophistication to some of film and television’s most memorable roles. Since 2005, MacLachlan has channeled his strong interest in the world of wine into a second, equally satisfying professional pursuit, as winery owner and vintner of Pursued by Bear wines. A native of Yakima, Washington, located in the heart of the Columbia Valley wine appellation, MacLachlan has produced five highly rated wines: Pursued by Bear Cabernet Sauvignon, Baby Bear Syrah, Bear Cub Red, Twin Bear Cabernet Sauvignon and Blushing Bear Rosé. MacLachlan is perhaps best known for his performance as FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper in David Lynch’s ground-breaking series Twin Peaks, for which he received two Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe Award. MacLachlan reprised that role with the revival of Twin Peaks, where the story continues 25 years later and was again nominated for a Golden Globe in 2017 for playing three different characters. MacL…

Senior Director of Culinary Operations at God's Love We Deliver

Daniel Metzger

Daniel Metzger, as the Senior Director of Culinary Operations at God’s Love We Deliver, Chef Daniel oversees one of the largest commercial kitchens in New York City. He oversees the more than 4 million meals God’s Love cooks and delivers each year with the help of hundreds of volunteers who join the kitchen team every week. Prior to his current role, Daniel served as an assistant, sous chef, senior sous chef, and the Executive Chef in the God’s Love kitchen. Daniel had extensive culinary experience before joining God’s Love, having worked in restaurants, catering companies, and yacht clubs. Daniel takes great pride in providing delicious, nutritious meals to the clients of God’s Love We Deliver, saying, “Food is medicine, but it doesn’t have to taste like medicine!”

Activist, Pastry Chef, and Writer

Natasha Pickowicz

Natasha Pickowicz is a James Beard award-nominated pastry chef, writer, and activist based in NYC. Most recently, she ran the pastry programs at NYC restaurants Altro Paradiso, Flora Bar, and Flora Coffee. Much of her pastry work explores the relationship with baking and social justice, including ongoing collaborations with seminal NYC institutions like Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, God's Love We Deliver, and Planned Parenthood of Greater New York. Since summer of 2020, Natasha has created her own pastry pop-up called Never Ending Taste, which celebrates the relationship between local farming, social justice, and community bake sales.

Lauren Radel CC headshot

Chef, Entrepreneur

Lauren Radel

Lauren Radel is a chef and entrepreneur based in New York between NYC and the Catskill Mountains.  Her multi-cultural background of Basque, Peruvian, Russian, and Polish is the foundation of her relationship with food.  Learning from her family, the importance of sharing a meal, having a culinary career came naturally.  Pairing her heritage with love of travel, care for people, and professional experiences, her cooking is a testament to her influences. After graduating from University of California, Santa Barbara, Lauren attended Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena California.  Upon completing her externship at Drago Centro she decided to move to New York. Working in kitchens such as Michelin Star, Oceana as tournant, at Porsena as Executive Sous Chef, at Empire Diner as Chef de Cuisine, and a butchering apprenticeship with Dario Cecchini her knowledge and experience in the restaurant and food industry expanded.  Since then, Lauren has branched out into other sects of the culinary world, inclu…

Culinary Council member Bill Ribbecke headshot

Bill Ribbecke

Bill Ribbecke is a home chef who believes in the power of bringing people together at the table. His passion originates from early childhood dinners with his mother’s Italian family in Queens and his father who grew up as the son of a butcher. Bill and his family have been involved with God’s Love We Deliver for many years as volunteers, donors, and through board service – he is currently the Co-Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees. Bill also serves as the Head of Impact Investing for The JPB Foundation, where he has focused on investing in the fundamental change that is necessary in food and agriculture to address the future of human and environmental health.

Chef, Educator, Entrepreneur

Mavis-Jay Sanders

Mavis-Jay is a chef who believes in sustainably raised ingredients, thoughtfully prepared. She is a social equity advocate that has dedicated her career to fighting for food justice in Black and low-income communities. In 2019, she was honored as one of Star Chefs’ New York Rising Star Chef. She is a James Beard Chef’s Boot Camp alum, a mentor to the James Beard Foundation’s Fellowship Program, and a Chef’s Collaborative scholar. She can also be found on the board of the Queer Food Foundation and in the Black Farmer’s Fund pilot community. Mavis-Jay’s food focuses on celebrating Black American heritage, joy, and a journey to reclaim Black food sovereignty. Most recently, she joined the team at Drive Change as Director of Culinary Development and Education.

Lee Schrager Headshot

Lee Brian Schrager

Lee Brian Schrager is the Senior Vice President, Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility at Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, LLC. Widely recognized for his creation of the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach and New York City Wine & Food Festivals, which have raised more than $45 million to date for charity, Schrager is also a regular contributor for Ocean Drive magazine, serves on the Board of Trustees for the Pérez Art Museum Miami and Board of Directors for Food Bank For New York City, as well as a judge for Forbes’ annual 30 Under 30 list and Celebrated Living’s annual Platinum List Awards

Cookbook Author, Writer, Activist

Julia Turshen

Julia Turshen is a bestselling cookbook author. Her latest book, Simply Julia, is a National Bestseller. She has written for multiple publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vogue, and more. She is the founder of Equity At The Table (EATT), an inclusive digital directory of women/non-binary individuals in food, and the host of the podcast Keep Calm and Cook On. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her wife and their dogs.

Director and Producer

Irene Wong

Irene Wong is the magic ingredient that big names in food media rely on. Her food television career began in 1999 at the Food Network where she created and produced highly-rated shows. Six years later she launched IW Productions LLC and produced food, cooking and travels shows for PBS, Style Network, Hallmark Channel, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and of course, Food Network. Irene’s food is inspired by her Chinese-American family, her culinary travels around the world, and her collection of 500+ cookbooks. Her infectious enthusiasm combined with her calming, casual, cooking style instantly makes guests feel right at home.

Pastry Chef, TV Personality

Zac Young

Recognized as one of the country's top pastry chefs, Chef Zac Young is known for his playful takes on American desserts, including the all-in-one Thanksgiving sensation, The PieCaken. After graduating culinary school and learning from France’s chocolate masters, Zac began his career at Bouchon Bakery. He spent four years as Pastry Chef of Chef Alex Gurnaschelli’s Butter Restaurant, developed the dessert program at Flex Mussels Restaurants, and served as Corporate Pastry Chef for Chef David Burke and Craveable Hospitality Group. His recent ventures include PieCaken Bakeshop, a leader in direct to consumer sweets, and Zac Young's Sprinkletown, which focuses on retail treats with partners like Costco, and wholesale foodservice distribution. Zac is best known for his wit and pastry wisdom on TV shows like Food Network’s "Halloween Baking Championship," Netflix's "Nailed It," Bravo's "Top Chef: Just Desserts."