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ABOUT US

We are a community of industry specialists with culinary, activist and educational backgrounds intent on bridging the gap between food producers and consumers. We believe that making the food sustainability movement more inclusive is critical to reverse the breakdown of our food system—and that lasting change starts from the ground up.

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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 
Olivia Chessé

Passionate about gastronomy, Olivia has always been surrounded by leading Chefs and luxury food brands in France and Asia where she spent several years managing exceptional projects and prestigious events. She arrived in NYC in 2014 and launched Epicurean Nights, a multi-sensorial dining concept to explore of a new perception of taste by blurring the lines between the culinary and the immersive experience. In 2020, she founded Chefs for Impact during Covid-19 pandemic to inspire consciousness.

Olivia Chessé

Founder & President Chefs for Impact

Founder Epicurean Nights

Passionate about gastronomy, Olivia has always been surrounded by leading Chefs and luxury food brands in France and Asia where she spent several years managing exceptional projects and prestigious events. She arrived in NYC in 2014 and launched Epicurean Nights, a multi-sensorial dining concept to explore of a new perception of taste by blurring the lines between the culinary and the immersive experience. In 2020, she founded Chefs for Impact during Covid-19 pandemic to inspire consciousness.

Passionate about gastronomy, Olivia has always been surrounded by leading Chefs and luxury food brands in France and Asia where she spent several years managing exceptional projects and prestigious events. She arrived in NYC in 2014 and launched Epicurean Nights, a multi-sensorial dining concept to explore of a new perception of taste by blurring the lines between the culinary and the immersive experience. In 2020, she founded Chefs for Impact during Covid-19 pandemic to inspire consciousness.

Adriana Marianella

Adriana is VP of Brand Development & Experiential for Standard International. As the company’s resident intrapreneur, she has a history of developing and leading innovative internal businesses, producing notable revenue and expanding brand equity. Befitting her start as Chief of Staff to André Balazs, she has earned a reputation for creating playfully atmospheric hospitality experiences. A longstanding UNICEF NextGen board member, she most recently established UNICEF NextGen in Thailand.

Adriana Marianella

Secretary Chefs for Impact

Chief Development Officer Fotografiska | NeueHouse | CultureWorks

Adriana is VP of Brand Development & Experiential for Standard International. As the company’s resident intrapreneur, she has a history of developing and leading innovative internal businesses, producing notable revenue and expanding brand equity. Befitting her start as Chief of Staff to André Balazs, she has earned a reputation for creating playfully atmospheric hospitality experiences. A longstanding UNICEF NextGen board member, she most recently established UNICEF NextGen in Thailand.

Adriana is VP of Brand Development & Experiential for Standard International. As the company’s resident intrapreneur, she has a history of developing and leading innovative internal businesses, producing notable revenue and expanding brand equity. Befitting her start as Chief of Staff to André Balazs, she has earned a reputation for creating playfully atmospheric hospitality experiences. A longstanding UNICEF NextGen board member, she most recently established UNICEF NextGen in Thailand.

Pauline Lévêque

Pauline is a French illustrator, author and freelance journalist. She is at the board of Doctors of the world, an international health and human rights organization. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and their two children.

Pauline Lévêque

Illustrator

Pauline is a French illustrator, author and freelance journalist. She is at the board of Doctors of the world, an international health and human rights organization. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and their two children.

Pauline is a French illustrator, author and freelance journalist. She is at the board of Doctors of the World, an international health and human rights organization. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and their two children.

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Deshi is the Founder and CEO of Apricot, a high-growth, venture-backed company revolutionizing the way women shop and earn.  Through philanthropy and impact investing, she supports various initiatives in education, sustainability, and advocacy for women and children. Her personal passion and understanding of Ayurvedic food sciences has led Deshi to be particularly mindful about the importance of food education and sustainability. Deshi is also President of the Singh Foundation and an Advisor for the Asia Foundation’s Lotus Circle.

Deshi Singh

Treasurer Chefs for Impact

Founder & CEO of Apricot

With an understanding of Ayurvedic food science, Deshi has long been passionate about mindful food education and sustainability. After a successful career in finance, she helped launch Indie Fresh, a healthy, chef-prepared food company based in NYC. Through philanthropy and impact investing, she supports various initiatives in education, sustainability, and advocacy for women and children. She's currently the President of the Singh Foundation and an Advisor for the Asia Foundation’s Lotus Circle.

Deshi is the Founder and CEO of Apricot, a high-growth, venture-backed company revolutionizing the way women shop and earn.  Through philanthropy and impact investing, she supports various initiatives in education, sustainability, and advocacy for women and children. Her personal passion and understanding of Ayurvedic food sciences has led Deshi to be particularly mindful about the importance of food education and sustainability. Deshi is also President of the Singh Foundation and an Advisor for the Asia Foundation’s Lotus Circle.

Kristin Rapoport

Kristin is the developer of Wildflower Farms, a sustainability-forward farm, restaurant, and hotel in the Hudson Valley. Previously, Kristin served as SVP at Fortress Investment Group where she ran the oil and gas investment team. Kristin also spent 8 years at Morgan Stanley in institutional securities. She graduated cum laude from Columbia University.  Kristin brings her calling to further purposeful hospitality to Chef's for Impact.

Kristin Rapoport

Developer of Wildflower Farms

Kristin is the developer of Wildflower Farms, a sustainability-forward farm, restaurant, and hotel in the Hudson Valley. Previously, Kristin served as SVP at Fortress Investment Group where she ran the oil and gas investment team. Kristin also spent 8 years at Morgan Stanley in institutional securities. She graduated cum laude from Columbia University.  Kristin brings her calling to further purposeful hospitality to Chef's for Impact.

Kristin is the developer of Wildflower Farms, a sustainability-forward farm, restaurant, and hotel in the Hudson Valley. Previously, Kristin served as SVP at Fortress Investment Group where she ran the oil and gas investment team. Kristin also spent 8 years at Morgan Stanley in institutional securities. She graduated cum laude from Columbia University.  Kristin brings her calling to further purposeful hospitality to Chef's for Impact.

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An American living in France for more than two decades, Rebeca is a writer and strategic communications expert focused on advocacy for children’s issues including wellbeing, school lunch programs, education and safeguarding. She has conducted extensive research on the national French school lunch program and the government policies that require all French schools to serve organic and local food daily. Rebeca’s research has been used by local governments and school districts around the world interested in improving nutrition and developing a sustainable food model in their schools.

Rebeca Plantier

Journalist, writer, blogger, and author of French School Lunch

After ten years at Unilever developing marketing in Food, Philippe decided to create a new kind of business. His company FRENCHEFS facilitates chefs’ collaboration. To create the best partnerships for events, private dinners, food festivals or brands, Philippe is actively seeking for the best talents, the most inspiring profiles and the new generation of chefs all around the world.

An American living in France for more than two decades, Rebeca is a writer and strategic communications expert focused on advocacy for children’s issues including wellbeing, school lunch programs, education and safeguarding. She has conducted extensive research on the national French school lunch program and the government policies that require all French schools to serve organic and local food daily. Rebeca’s research has been used by local governments and school districts around the world interested in improving nutrition and developing a sustainable food model in their schools.

BOARD OF INDUSTRY ADVISORS

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Deborah is the founder and CEO of Hearts of Gold, a non-profit helping homeless mothers gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to be able to transition out of the shelter system and become fully independent and productive members of society.

Deborah Koenigsberger

Adriana is VP of Brand Development & Experiential for Standard International. As the company’s resident intrapreneur, she has a history of developing and leading innovative internal businesses, producing notable revenue and expanding brand equity. Befitting her start as Chief of Staff to André Balazs, she has earned a reputation for creating playfully atmospheric hospitality experiences. A longstanding UNICEF NextGen board member, she most recently established UNICEF NextGen in Thailand.

Founder & CEO at Hearts of Gold
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Pascaline, who's originally from Loire Valley, is passionate about sustainable agriculture, hospitality, and organic, biodynamic. and natural wines. She is a Master Sommelier and Managing Partner at Racines NY. Amongst multiple prestigious awards, she won the titles of 'Meilleur Ouvrier de France' and 'Best Sommelier de France' in 2018.

Pascaline Lepeltier

Pascaline, who's originally from Loire Valley, is passionate about sustainable agriculture, hospitality, and organic, biodynamic. and natural wines. She is a Master Sommelier and Managing Partner at Racines NY. Amongst multiple prestigious awards, she won the titles of 'Meilleur Ouvrier de France' and 'Best Sommelier de France' in 2018.

MOF & Best Sommelier of France 2018
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Andrea is a registered dietitian that brings together the worlds of nutrition, sustainability and data management. For over 15 years, Andrea has worked with food-service from fine dining restaurants to fast casual chains, providing nutrition information and wellness insights to operators and chefs. In 2019, she founded Worthy Plates Culinary Nutrition to support companies as they work to create healthier, more sustainable menus while providing transparency around nutrition and allergens to customers. In addition to her work with the food-service industry, she also provides nutrition education to all ages as an educator at the Queens County Farm Museum and in senior centers across New York City. Andrea has a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master in Public Health from the CUNY School of Public Health.

Andrea Canada

Philippe is an investor and serial entrepreneur. Over the course of the past 30 years, he has built and managed multi-million dollar businesses, applying his strategy, operations and marketing expertise in industries as varied as wine and spirits, equipment rental, and technology. Passionate about art, literature and wine, Philippe brings his expertise to further the mission and goals of Chefs for Impact.

Registered Dietitian
Culinary Nutritionist
Founder Worthy Plates Culinary Nutrition
Zaid Kurdieh

Zaid was born in LA but grew up in the Middle East. Passionate about agriculture, he always knew he wanted to become a farmer. Today, Zaid and his wife Haifa run Norwich meadows farm, an organic farm that doesn’t use chemical pesticides at all. The farm encompasses 250 acres and grows over 1,300 varieties of produce. Quickly spotted by the greatest chefs in New York City for the quality, diversity, and taste of its produce, Zaid's farm has been very popular with the City's finest restaurants such as Blue Hill or Eleven Madison.

Zaid Kurdieh

Zaid was born in LA but grew up in the Middle East. Passionate about agriculture, he always knew he wanted to become a farmer. Today, Zaid and his wife Haifa run Norwich meadows farm, an organic farm that doesn’t use chemical pesticides at all. The farm encompasses 250 acres and grows over 1,300 varieties of produce. Quickly spotted by the greatest chefs in New York City for the quality, diversity, and taste of its produce, Zaid's farm has been very popular with the City's finest restaurants such as Blue Hill or Eleven Madison.

Farm Owner Norwich Meadows Farm
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Tony is the founder of Harlem Grown— an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire youth to lead healthy and ambitious lives through mentorship and hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability, and nutrition.

Tony Hillery

Philippe is an investor and serial entrepreneur. Over the course of the past 30 years, he has built and managed multi-million dollar businesses, applying his strategy, operations and marketing expertise in industries as varied as wine and spirits, equipment rental, and technology. Passionate about art, literature and wine, Philippe brings his expertise to further the mission and goals of Chefs for Impact.

Founder & CEO at Harlem Grown
 

THE TEAM

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Hailing from a family of farmers, Theodora has long understood the intersections of food and planetary health. With a desire to educate others on the links food has to all areas of society, she founded the interview series “Getting To The Root” where she speaks to experts and change-makers at the forefront of food, agriculture, and sustainability. She has a degree in international relations and is pursuing a masters of sustainability in the fall with the hopes of bridging the cultural and environmental elements of food in ways that can inspire others to lead healthier and more sustainable lives.

Director of Communications & Programs

Kristin is the developer of Wildflower Farms, a sustainability-forward farm, restaurant, and hotel in the Hudson Valley. Previously, Kristin served as SVP at Fortress Investment Group where she ran the oil and gas investment team. Kristin also spent 8 years at Morgan Stanley in institutional securities. She graduated cum laude from Columbia University.  Kristin brings her calling to further purposeful hospitality to Chef's for Impact.

Theodora Fontas

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Melanie is an experienced PR Specialist and Founder of Le CollectiveM with a demonstrated history of working with hospitality, culinary and wellness clients in the communications industry.

Public Relations

After ten years at Unilever developing marketing in Food, Philippe decided to create a new kind of business. His company FRENCHEFS facilitates chefs’ collaboration. To create the best partnerships for events, private dinners, food festivals or brands, Philippe is actively seeking for the best talents, the most inspiring profiles and the new generation of chefs all around the world.

Melanie Weitzner

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Henry has been involved in sustainability for most of his life, from his teens working on a family-operated maple farm to adulthood working as a butcher in partnership with a network of small, independent farmers. Now pursuing a degree in Cybersecurity, he's continuing his dedication to sustainability by lending his SEO analysis and web development skills to our mission.

SEO Analyst

After ten years at Unilever developing marketing in Food, Philippe decided to create a new kind of business. His company FRENCHEFS facilitates chefs’ collaboration. To create the best partnerships for events, private dinners, food festivals or brands, Philippe is actively seeking for the best talents, the most inspiring profiles and the new generation of chefs all around the world.

Henry Mosser

Kristina Ramos

Kristina is a Filipino-American chef born and raised in New York. She has worked in top restaurants in both New York and France, including Eleven Madison Park, Auberge La Feniere and Oxalis. During the pandemic, Kristina worked with EMP/Rethink to provide thousands of meals to essential workers and communities suffering from food insecurity. Now, she is pursuing her passion for sharing simple, delicious and sustainably sourced food with Chefs for Impact.

Chef Educator & Programs Coordinator

Adriana is VP of Brand Development & Experiential for Standard International. As the company’s resident intrapreneur, she has a history of developing and leading innovative internal businesses, producing notable revenue and expanding brand equity. Befitting her start as Chief of Staff to André Balazs, she has earned a reputation for creating playfully atmospheric hospitality experiences. A longstanding UNICEF NextGen board member, she most recently established UNICEF NextGen in Thailand.

Kristina Ramos

Cali Assaf

Cali is an anti-diet Registered Dietitian, Urban Farmer, and trauma-informed yoga teacher with Lebanese and Polish roots from Austin, TX. Her work revolves around the power of connection and collective healing - ideally over genuinely delicious food. You can find her at the intersection of sustainable urban farming, weight inclusivity, food resiliency, and equitable education.

RDN, Programs Assistant

After ten years at Unilever developing marketing in Food, Philippe decided to create a new kind of business. His company FRENCHEFS facilitates chefs’ collaboration. To create the best partnerships for events, private dinners, food festivals or brands, Philippe is actively seeking for the best talents, the most inspiring profiles and the new generation of chefs all around the world.

Cali Assaf

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Amy has supported C-level executives for over 8 years in the Retail and Transportation sectors. Equipped with a Bachelor's in Business Administration and Sociology, she’s a pro at managing calendars and email, expenses, bookkeeping, and helping business leaders thrive. When Amy's not firing off emails, you can find her cooking.

Executive Assistant

After ten years at Unilever developing marketing in Food, Philippe decided to create a new kind of business. His company FRENCHEFS facilitates chefs’ collaboration. To create the best partnerships for events, private dinners, food festivals or brands, Philippe is actively seeking for the best talents, the most inspiring profiles and the new generation of chefs all around the world.

Amy Thompson

OUR OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEERS

As a nonprofit, volunteers are an integral part of meeting our mission.

We deeply value the passion and energy that each one of them brings to Chefs for Impact.

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OUR VISION

Chefs for Impact envisions a world where our food system has positive, long lasting effects on the health of all people and the planet.