It's no small feat to pull a delicious meal together for a group of people and create harmony at the table. We're endlessly grateful to these facilitators for the time and energy they devote to supporting and healing others:
Allie O'Brien graduated from the Berkeley Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in October of 2012 with a Natural Chef Certificate. She also holds a B.A. in English Literature from Douglass College at Rutgers in New Brunswick. In 2013, Allie began to perform cooking demonstrations, short talks, and classes at Suppers meetings and workshops to help members learn to cook better. Allie and Dorothy have a weekly blog, The Purple Apron, where they showcase stories from real Suppers members and prepare a Suppers-friendly dish for members to try at home. Additionally, Allie is the President of The Garden State Community Kitchen, a non-profit organization which provides hands-on farm-to-table education and support for children and families in New Jersey.
Amy first connected with Suppers in 2010 in a search to lead a healthier life for herself and her young daughter. Over the years, the Suppers table has come to represent community, clean and delicious meals, and most importantly a shared goal of “respect for the body, mind and spirit." This is nowhere more important to her than in the addiction recovery community. Freedom from addictive cravings is what makes recovery possible, but also what makes it pleasurable. With a Masters degree in cognitive neuroscience, Amy is particularly interested in the neural mechanisms activated in addiction that can be mediated by nutrition. “I believe that adding Suppers to recovery programs will help to prevent relapse and also help to rebuild the body, mind and spirit that are so neglected in active addiction.”
Amy Frankel joined Suppers by the suggestion of her doctor after mentioning she needed support eliminating refined sugar and sticking to a healthier diet. After she began attending meetings regularly, Amy learned new kitchen skills and recipes, and discovered a preference for whole foods. Since finding Suppers over three years ago, Amy finds pleasure in sharing the program with others. Having raised three finicky eaters, she will gladly accommodate people with allergies or special dietary needs. Outside of Suppers, Amy enjoys reading, exercising, painting, traveling and a part-time job in retail. She has an Associates Degree in Merchandising and a Bachelors Degree in Textile Science, and worked in the garment industry in New York City before staying home to raise a family.
Anne Trieber came to Suppers in 2015 on the recommendation of her Rheumatologist. She was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and was seeking an alternative remedy for her pain. On her doctor’s advice, Anne has eliminated grains and most white carbs from her diet and worked on repairing her gut. Anne was born in Israel and grew up in New York. She loves to cook and has embraced the Suppers philosophy of clean mindful eating and personal experiments. Anne has found tremendous and loving support from the Suppers family. She has not only found relief from her pain, but has lost 32 lbs. as an added bonus. Anne has trained as a facilitator and looks forward to sharing her kitchen with like-minded people.
Audelle Bodie is a member, facilitator and Board Member -- and supports Suppers because "through the support, non-judgment, and inspiration of these meetings and members, I am healing. I've lost over 30 pounds. I've reduced my need for insulin to treat Type 2 diabetes by more than 2/3. Through experiments, I feel more comfortable in my food choices and want to do whatever I can to spread the Suppers message."
Barbara Jennings is a retired teacher of 38 years. As a student, she was originally pre-med and was always interested in health and nutrition. Eventually she became a science teacher. Early on in life, she considered herself to be a healthy eater, cooking meat, starch and a vegetable. Her grandma cooked full meals every day, typical soul food. Her Nana’s rationale was, “This is what my father wanted. He refused to eat salad.” Barbara was diagnosed with pre-diabetes in 2007. “I was devastated; a woman I loved since my childhood had died of it. My father’s people had diabetes; my grandmother thought it was contagious. I didn’t want to go on insulin. I searched for help on MeetUp and found Suppers, and I discovered like-minded people.” Barbara now co-facilitates general meetings and Soulful Sunday Suppers serving Africa American women, who, like Barbara, come from families where diabetes is prevalent.
Barbara Simpson Vadnais was trained as a vegetarian chef at the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. From childhood, she has loved everything to do with food, and her family’s fine dining restaurant was always a part of her life. With age, she has realized there is much truth in the adage “you are what you eat,” and she has retooled her cooking techniques and philosophy to prepare health supportive meals for herself and family. She has studied macrobiotic cooking with Denny and Susan Waxman at the Strengthening Health Institute in Philadelphia. Barbara has a masters degree in environmental engineering and is the general manager of Muirhead Foods in Trenton.
Carol was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 10 years ago. Managing blood sugars left her physically exhausted and emotionally depressed. Carol experimented to find what foods work best for her, helped her balance her blood sugars, and have more energy. However, she found it difficult to eat this way in a world surrounded by pizza, bakeries and bagel shops. Suppers came to her rescue by providing the regular support and education that is so vital to living with a chronic disease like diabetes. Carol was so passionate about the program that she went through training to facilitate and host Suppers meetings for others who want to discover what healthy eating styles work best for them.
Carolyn Peucker joined The Suppers Programs after a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. The support and encouragement she received helped her with personal experimentation which enabled her to discover food sensitivities and develop eating styles that support her body. She was able to reduce her diabetes medications as her A1C moved closer to her goal. A wife and mother to three boys with developmental, mental health and learning differences, she is implementing eating changes for her family too. An Essential Oil Educator, with a Master’s degree in Food Science, Carolyn helps others understand how to use natural products to assist their bodies in healing. She is also a Rutgers Master Gardener and enjoys photography, bicycling, and baking.
Cynthia Hatton is a chiropractor and has been interested in health for over 20 years. Dr. Cynthia has incorporated nutritional counseling into her practice in Virginia because of her commitment to treating the whole person, not just the parts. She loves to educate people about the simple changes they can make in diet to have maximum impact on their health. Dr Cynthia trained to become a Suppers facilitator because, “My goal is to make healing a social experience. I like to gather people together to learn about these changes, prepare meals together, and provide support for each other in community.” Dr. Cynthia wanted to put the Suppers program to work for her own community in Virginia as well as her clientele.
Dor Mullen is the Founder of The Suppers Programs. The Suppers program design reflects her combining of counseling models learned in a Masters in Counseling program at The College of New Jersey, her background in garden-based education, her passion for preparing delicious food, and her respect for the wisdom and longevity of the 12-step process. Prior to Suppers, Dorothy was the president of the board of the Foundation for the Advancement of Innovative Medicine in New York and a holistic health care practitioner in Princeton.
Eavan Daley is a trained chef, having studied at Johnson and Wales University and Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Health. She is also a devoted member of Alcoholics Anonymous who - through her willingness to break her own anonymity - has become a public spokesperson standing up for the role of nutrition and community cooking in making sobriety more comfortable for people in recovery. Eavan brought Suppers for Sobriety with her when she moved to Boca Raton, Florida.
Erin first experienced Suppers while working at the American Diabetes Association. She was inspired by The Suppers Programs’ mission and knew she wanted to be more involved. Her daughter struggled with digestive issues around 10 months, really as she transitioned to solid foods. After trial and error to find the root of the problem rather than treat with recommended conventional medications – she discovered the issue – her daughter simply has a dairy and gluten sensitivity. If Erin had not been exposed to Suppers she may not have taken this approach. Erin is very passionate about eating whole foods and creating delicious dishes for all ages and dietary preferences. Hosting Suppers is a perfect opportunity to fulfill that passion!
Erin Cook has always been interested in food, but she caught the nutrition bug when she was pregnant. She went to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition on a quest to make her way down the convoluted path of good nutrition for health seekers. “I wanted clarity about nutrition; it’s not that easy to figure out what to feed children.” Erin loves to be in the kitchen and teach others her "cooking hacks" and how to create healthy meals. “Cooking is my passion and creative outlet, creating meals that make you feel as good eating it as it was fun preparing it.” As a young girl, Erin dreamed of being a mermaid or a mom (one of her dreams came true). Her degree is in psychology from Florida State University, and she spent most of her career an event and wedding planner. She now does residential mortgage loans for Loan Depot. “I created my Suppers meeting at the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville, "Food, Faith and Fellowship," because I love my church community and wanted to invite them to nurture and love the bodies God has given them. I envision creating a space where we have more kids involved in making easy-but-healthy meals and appreciating fresh food. I want to see the needs of our physical bodies included in the body/mind/spirit equation.”
Fiona Capstick grew up in the north of England in a farming community where food and cooking were a major part of her life. She completed her education as a registered nurse through the University of the West of England and continued her career as a diabetes nurse consultant in Sydney, Australia. She studied at Duke Integrative Medicine and works independently as an integrative health coach, with clients in the US and internationally. After relocating to the US with her husband and two sons, she discovered The Suppers Programs. “I immediately connected with the benefits Suppers was providing people with diabetes and many other health concerns. After going through treatment for cancer, exploring different ways of supporting my health was never more important to me -- and the knowledge I continue to gather through Suppers is invaluable.”
Heidi joined her first Suppers meeting about five years ago, in hopes of finding support from a community of people who embrace a healthy lifestyle. While she's found that community and has made beautiful friends along the way, the Suppers principle she values the most is non-judgment. Facilitating now for three years, Heidi is grateful for the skills she has honed while in this role. She has also learned to be more open, and to be a better listener and a better communicator -- in all corners of her life. The theme of Heidi's meeting is "Mindful Eating," in which each meeting includes a short meditation and centering before the meal. The meeting has accommodated vegetarian, vegan and omnivore, because according to Heidi: "For me, the how is more important than the what. I enjoy having newcomers to the table and sharing the positive, inclusive themes of Suppers."
Jim Weber enjoys cooking and eating food! Having eaten Paleo and Whole30 for some time before finding Suppers, he was drawn to the program's "how you feel is data" approach. A firm believer in the power of diet and exercise, Jim has beaten cancer and digestive problems without prescriptions. Besides cooking, Jim enjoys yoga and winemaking. Jim hosts a monthly Suppers dinner meeting with his wife, Pat Deeney.
Joe Klinkhoff got involved with Suppers at the suggestion of a doctor friend who was familiar with the program and had attended the training as well. Joe has been cooking since he's been old enough to stand at a stove and help, and more recently has taught foodie-type classes in a fairly regular but relaxed social manner. Joe has 30 years in food service and LOVES food! Each Suppers meeting has been an adventure, and through them -- and their signature, Suppers-style experiments -- Joe has lost weight and has been feeling better and healthier all the time.
Karen Rose Tank is a Certified Health and Nutrition Coach who empowers people living with diabetes and other blood sugar issues to take control of their health and proactively manage their blood sugars. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1996, her coaching comes from a place of compassion and empathy for those living with chronic disease. In addition to Suppers, Karen leads a Princeton branch of another non-profit support group for women with diabetes, Diabetes Sisters.
Kim Booker is from Trenton, NJ. She has a Bachelors degree in psychology from Ohio State University and works for the State of NJ. When her grandmother developed Alzheimer’s, Kim moved back to New Jersey after 25 years in Ohio. “In an effort to reconnect with my community I started going to events I found online and happened to see Suppers hosting a talk about Paleo at the Whole Earth Center. I needed to learn more about healthy eating, so I attended. After that I attended the Sourcing Health Locally event and was amazed with the platform where medical practitioners and farmers came together. I knew that I needed to gain more knowledge and started attending Suppers.” Highly motivated to prevent Alzheimer’s, she is very concerned about the diagnoses common among African Americans such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart conditions. “I truly want to learn more, not just for me but to help my family and friends overcome their health issues and live a life full of vitality. I’m here to serve and make a difference in the lives of others, but first I have to help myself.” Kim runs Soulful Sunday Suppers for Black women with needs for support and goals similar to hers. “As I grow, I pray that those around me will grow.”
Lorraine Morris was first introduced to Suppers through "Teen Suppers" at the Y in Princeton, when her daughter was in high school. She attended various Suppers meetings as part of a larger effort to establish a healthy lifestyle. With a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, Lorraine needed help with experiments to sort out which were her inflammatory foods and which resolved pain and energized her. Her daughter had experienced exercise-induced asthma since age 3, and the two of them embarked on a journey of healthy eating together. She is a massage therapist, and a certified holistic aromatherapist/class instructor. Learning natural, healthy ways to heal and live are always her focus. “Suppers helps me stay on a path to health. On this journey, the support and program policy about non-judgment are important pieces in my puzzle. My experiments are not done. Suppers helps me stay in the process of finding my personal best eating habits. I trained to facilitate so I can share the journey with others.” Lorraine co-facilitates the vegan meetings and Soulful Sunday Suppers.
Marcia Willsie received her professional chef certification through the Seattle Culinary Academy before moving to Princeton. She learned about The Suppers Programs while teaching classes at her cooking school Ezekiel's Table in town, and she started attending Suppers to get a stronger health focus to her own cooking. She loves hosting the facilitators at her place where she can share some professional cooking techniques, and facilitators can talk about their own teaching challenges.
Margaret Kinnevy helps nurture well-being in her practice of Chinese medicine. Her knowledge of history and ethnobotany have led to a deep respect for our forgotten health traditions. After cooking for decades with whole foods, she was delighted to find a complete program to help others find more ease in reversing disorders. She finds much joy in the kitchen adventures and caring camaraderie of a Suppers meeting.
Mireille Delman grew up in France where the social and pleasurable aspect of food is very important. After some personal health challenges, she started paying attention to a lifestyle more conducive to healing. Living on a mini-farm enables her to do that. Mireille is also the co-founder and a board member of the West Windsor Community Farmers' Market, a Holistic Health Counselor and a Yoga Therapy practitioner. She supports Suppers because it "is a unique program, not bound to any commercial agenda, that gives people the much-needed education, tools and direct experience about how to be well and live in greater balance."
Pat Palmer grew up in a family that raised and preserved its own food and cooked at home. After working in food services during college, she avoided cooking for years, until turning to macrobiotics to help recover from an illness. She has studied macrobiotics with Denny and Susan Waxman at the Strengthening Health Institute in Philadelphia, as well as via extensive reading, and wants to connect with more people interested in a healthy diet and lifestyle. She has masters degrees in computer science and public sector management and does programming and system administration for the Phycology Section of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.
Paul is a regular attendee of Suppers as well as a former member of Suppers' Board of Trustees. "I support Suppers because the program emphasizes non-medical approaches to increasing your health, through the hands on preparation of delicious and nutritious meals, in a nurturing and friendly group environment."
Rachel is a Registered Nurse who seeks to make connections between healthy people and a healthy environment, believing that what we eat and how we spend our time matters. Whether that be through growing fresh food, nutrition and health education, sustainability practices or yoga, Rachel is passionate about it all. While managing her own diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and seeking opportunities to combine her diverse skills and interests, she found her way to Suppers. Currently, she is a facilitator for the Immune Group; Food, Faith & Fellowship; works as the Program Assistant; and supports with the Garden Workshop Series. Rachel is happily married to a graduate student at Princeton Theological Seminary where she helps manage the community garden and shares a small flock of ornery hens. These days, she’s wearing more muddy garden boots than scrub bottoms, and she couldn’t be happier about it.
Sharon Downey is a CASA volunteer, working with foster children in Mercer County. She enjoys helping out with a Suppers lunch meeting at Dor's and having fun with her camera as a member of the Princeton Photography Club.
Tish Rock has been interested in ooking since childhood and even married a chef! She enjoys exploring new cooking styles and ingredients. As a professional and mother, she enjoys sharing shortcuts to making fast and nutritious meals the Suppers way.
Trae Burgess-Simmons was looking for a supportive vegan environment to help her make the transition from a carnivorous to a plant-based diet. She was diagnosed with a hormone-based breast cancer in 2013. "I am feel highly motivated to lead a more holistic lifestyle since the diagnosis, but as an African American woman, it's especially challenging to find a community of people who support this way of eating." Her best friend and cousin Lorraine brought her into the Suppers fold. They are co-facilitators for vegan meetings and Soulful Sunday Suppers, a program that addresses the special needs of Black woman who want healthy change for themselves and their loved ones. "The dabbling with vegetarian had to stop." Trae is living in remission with her two children. Her personal motto is: "When you know better, you do better.” Trae invites people into her life who want to embrace the journey with her into a vegan lifestyle.