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Behind the Plate From the Team


April 19, 2016
Photo @diginn

Photo @diginn

One of our Behind The Plate questions that we ask interviewees is “If you could get the general population to change ONE aspect of their eating habits, what would it be?” It comes down to this—know your food, as awareness is a crucial element of eating well. Cook. Eat more plants and less animals. And don’t eat too much of anything. Here are ten of our favorite answers.

  1. Sanjay Rawal – Care about who is responsible for your food—whether it’s a farmworker, a restaurant worker or your mom!
  2. Palak Patel (@palaknyc) – Reduce their meat consumption! Even if it means replacing a single meat meal with a vegetarian option. That’s a start.
  3. Simran Sethi – Stop supersizing everything. Let’s recognize how precious food is and stop wasting 40 percent of it (here in the U.S.).
  4. Audrey Snowe (@unconventionalbaker) – Just encouraging the understanding of where your food comes from, how it has been raised/developed/handled, and using your money as a vote to help sustainable enterprise/farmers.
  5. Noni Vaughn-Pollard (@darkchocolatepeanutbutter) – I agree with Michael Pollan, that we as a society need to get back into the kitchen. There’s something magical and exciting about creating nourishment for your body with only a few simple ingredients. Whenever I cook my food, I don’t feel stress or guilt. It’s hard not to feel stress or guilt when food isn’t made by you and becomes a mystery.
  6. Emily Van Raay (@modelsforwellness) – Know where your meat comes from.
  7. Jill de Jong – To eat more whole foods!
  8. Emily Summerlin (@etsummer) – I want more people to realize that a plate doesn’t need meat to be a complete, substantial meal. That mentality is so frustrating to me. I think people are getting better about it, but I can’t tell you how many times I get the question “what do you eat?” when I say I’m a vegetarian. There are so many foods out there that don’t come from animals that are full of protein and are nourishing and filling.
  9. Matthew Preston (@diginn) – Moderation! You don’t necessarily have to cut anything out, just reduce your consumption of it to achieve a good balance.
  10. Matthew Kenney – Eat one plant-based meal a day.
Behind the Plate From the Team


April 19, 2016

One of our favorite Behind The Plate questions that we ask interviewees is “If you could ask the future President to consider a food issue that needs to be addressed, what would it be?” What we learned is that food policy is key to the health and wellbeing of our country. From protecting the land and the workers, to keeping big business and empty calories in check—we want change, and the government can help.

  1. Jeremy Kranowitz (@SustainableAmerica) – We should change food subsidies to encourage healthy, nutritious calories and by taxing cheap calories. It has been said that obesity is the face of hunger because cheap calories are high in sugar, salt, and fat. We should still make those calories available to those that want them, but they should be harder to obtain and more expensive to buy than fresh vegetables, fruits, and grains.
  2. Emily Summerlin (@etsummer) – I would ask the future President to consider the soil! 2015 was the International Year of Soils and a lot of great things happened around that, but I want that momentum to keep going. Not only does healthy soil produce nutritious and delicious food, but it also sequesters carbon! It’s one of the keys to reducing our climate impact and it is very worth taking care of, not only for the future of farming but for the future of the the entire planet.
  3. Rebecca Sparks – At present there is a movement in the government to limit access to SNAP benefits by making it a block grant where states can make decisions of eligibility and access. This is a crime. Every American resident should be guaranteed the right to food.
  4. Matthew Preston (@diginn) – Land access and ownership. The first barrier for young people interested in the farming industry is access to land.
  5. Sanjay Rawal – About 20 million Americans work in the food sector, many of whom barely make ends meet. Without their service we have no food security. Same goes for the 3 or 4 million undocumented workers who are in the food sector (farmworkers, meatpacking, distribution, dairy, etc). Without job security and dignity much less a non-draconian immigration policy, our food system will absolutely disintegrate. I am shocked and appalled that the issue of equity in our food system isn’t being discussed in even the most basic way.
  6. Palak Patel (@palaknyc) – Addressing the increasing role that corporations have on our food system. We must understand where our food comes from. Right now, we’re headed toward a future where decisions about our food are decided in closed boardrooms by executives putting profits before people.
  7. Jill de Jong – I would ask the president to demand that companies take the chemicals OUT of our food. No colorants, preservatives or additives. That would make a huge difference.
  8. Simran Sethi – There should be a lot more scrutiny around the Trans-Pacific Partnership and implications for domestic farmers, preservation of heirloom seeds and transparency around what consumers know about their food sources.
  9. Jessica Sennett (@cheesegrotto) – What concerns me the most is farm workers’ rights and agricultural practices. Limited water resources are a present day reality in California. We have to change our practices and not let a few large food corporations and buyers determine the method and quality of our farming. They control the whole industry and subject farm workers and owners to endless cycles of debt and dependence. The framework that exists does not take into consideration resource depletion.
  10. Massimo LoBuglio – I would love for a lot of things to be addressed, but to pick one… How about an environmental impact statement included on nutrition labels! Data about the carbon pollution associated with food choices.
Behind the Plate From the Team


April 19, 2016
Photo @jfdouble

Photo @jfdouble

One of our favorite Behind The Plate questions that we ask interviewees is “What was your biggest #foodfail?” We’re all human, and even the best chefs have disastrous kitchen moments. Here are ten of our favorite answers.

  1. Audrey Snowe (@unconventionalbaker) – Broccoli cheesecake. Worst idea ever! Don’t judge! I try lots of crazy things—sky is the limit—and I often land on winners that become “cult classics” on the web. But this one was clearly out of range. When I made it at first it was absolutely delicious—tasted nothing like broccoli at all (in case you’re wondering). Just a beautiful pale green cheesecake. I left it in the freezer for a week amidst all my other frozen cakes, and when I re-tasted it later it tasted absolutely horrible. Like broccoli gone horribly wrong with sugar and roses on top.
  2. Noni Vaughn-Pollard (@darkchocolatepeanutbutter) – Homemade injera, never again.
  3. Emily Summerlin (@etsummer) – Ridiculously enough I’ve done this more than once. I make a smoothie and upon the first sip realize that I didn’t rinse the soap out of the blender well enough beforehand. No thanks to soapy smoothies.
  4. Jessica Sennett (@cheesegrotto) – My biggest #foodfail was a persimmon tart. This was before I knew how to pick persimmons that wouldn’t be cloying and drying in the mouth. (If you have tasted an underripe persimmon, you know what I mean.) I tried to cook the tart anyway, and it really wasn’t edible.
  5. Emily Van Raay (@modelsforwellness) – I have food fails all the time. I’m not an expert in the kitchen but I love making new dishes and tend to bite off far more than I can chew… Roasting acorn squash is something that I can NEVER seem to get right! I end up leaving it in for far too long or taking it out way too early and can never get it off the skin. It’s probably one of the easiest things to make. Help!
  6. Matthew Kenney – One of the first times I served raw cuisine to a group I spent a lot of time preparing our zucchini lasagna in sheet pans ahead of time. I had never served this at a large event before, and the extra moisture turned the lasagna to mush. I had to serve a group of my peers this horrible dish and was mortified. I never plated this in advance again!
  7. Jill de Jong – Cauliflower crust pizza. It drove me crazy; I was trying so many different things but I have not been able to master it and have given up!
  8. Palak Patel (@palaknyc) – Generally baking. But my biggest fool fail happened in Paris while I was attempting to make meringues for a French-Indian pop-up dinner. Meringues have a reputation for being easy to make, but that night things got surprisingly complicated for a dish containing just two ingredients! I calculated the conversions incorrectly, plus using a French oven made my meringues lifeless and flat. Needless to say, I proceeded to crumble them and presented the dessert as “deconstructed”.
  9. Margaret Gifford (@MargaretG) – My biggest food fail was the split pea soup I tried to prepare for my stepdad’s birthday. I didn’t know you had to soak the peas.
  10. Jennifer Emilson (@JenniferEmilson) – I made fish tacos. The tortillas were made with amaranth flour. They were thick, chewy, not a texture my hubby liked at all. And I didn’t marinate the cabbage long enough. All in all, too raw a meal. He said they didn’t deserve to be called fish tacos!
Behind the Plate From the Team


April 19, 2016

One of our favorite Behind The Plate questions that we ask interviewees is “How do you define good food?” What we’ve learned is that while good food means something different to each of us, the underlying theme is you can’t have good food without people. Some answers focus more on flavor and what good food brings to the eater, others on process, and others even on the source—who was involved along the way. Here are ten of our favorite answers.

  1. Amanda Fuller (@RootedNY) – I’ll borrow Carlo Petrini’s definition—good food needs both taste (to be delicious to us personally) and knowledge (to tell a cultural and historical story).
  2. Audrey Snowe (@unconventionalbaker) – Easy, wholesome, fresh, vibrant, nourishing, and flavorful are all words that come to mind. And anything from my garden 🙂
  3. Ben Flanner (@brooklyngrange) – Good food utilizes and emphasizes the natural flavors of the ingredients, without preservatives.
  4. Sanjay Rawal – I don’t care if something is organic or sustainable if the people that picked, grew, manufactured or served the food aren’t treated and paid well. Too many people care too much about what goes into their bodies at the direct expense of caring about those responsible for creating that food. Should we eat organic? Sure. But organic doesn’t mean workers were treated well—there is zero correlation. Same goes for local, natural, everything that gets foodies excited. The food movement has left the worker behind. We need to fix that.
  5. Noni Vaughn-Pollard (@darkchocolatepeanutbutter) – I believe good food is any food that gives me pleasure. Whether it’s a fresh hot doughnut or a kale salad, I like food to be simple and delicious.
  6. Julie Qiu (@inahalfshell) – Good food creates value for every stakeholder: the eater, the producer, the chef, purveyor, and environment.
  7. Palak Patel (@palaknyc) – Good food is simple, but packed with flavor. To me good food also creates connections, and it’s how I show love. I grew up in a large Indian family where daily meals were the center of our day. Having grown up with Indian spices and bold ingredients, I enjoy incorporating these ideas into everyday cooking to create delectable, healthy dishes that deliver big flavors.
  8. Omar Rada (@omar) – Olive oil + garlic + salt + pepper + almost anything.
  9. Simran Sethi – Food that has been grown and prepared by people who have been treated well and paid a fair wage, coming from land that has been sustainably managed. And cooked by people who are also treated equitably and love what they do. Delicious food isn’t delicious if people or natural resources are harmed in the process.
  10. Beth Reed (@simplywithout) – Food that is thought about, cared for and loved. It is literally from the moment the seed begins to grow that the food journey starts. Everyone involved in the journey has an impact on the food and can help to make the end result good food. One of my favorite things to do is, not just cook and eat good food, but think about it. Thinking about and planning meals makes the flavors and ingredients come to life—as they take on their own place on the chopping board, pan or plate, they all become important parts of the bigger picture. To me, good food is food that nourishes you, invokes conversation and of course tastes good.
Event Guide From the Team


April 5, 2016
Good Eggs launch event. Photo: Andrew Bicknell.

Foodstand, a community designed to keep people “in the know” about the good food movement, now gives you the best food events online, on app and in your inbox—curated by their community.

In a city like New York, there is never a shortage of food events or openings. In the last decade alone, new restaurant, bar and cafe openings in New York City have risen more than 27 percent.

“A decade or so ago, I would lay out Time Out NY, The Village Voice, New York Magazine and the New Yorker, and I would get overwhelmed with all the events, tastings, and restaurant/theater/gallery openings. Heck, you could even find out where all the free wine and cheese events were taking place each week throughout the city,” Robert Haynes-Peterson, drinks writer for told me in conversation. “Now those publications don’t comprehensively cover any of those topics, and the information is too fragmented or even outdated across the web. Even as someone covering food and drink, I have no reliable, comprehensive resource for finding out what’s going on this week across the city.”

“A decade or so ago, I would lay out Time Out NY, The Village Voice, New York Magazine and the New Yorker, and I would get overwhelmed with all the events, tastings, and restaurant/theater/gallery openings…Now those publications don’t comprehensively cover any of those topics, and the information is too fragmented or even outdated across the web.” ~ Robert Haynes-Peterson 

“Independent artisans and foodmakers, particularly ones that are just starting out, also have challenges when reaching food-interested communities. In speaking with the community, many voiced their concerns that they have to rely on their own social streams, which they are still building,” says Summer Rayne Oakes, Director of Community and Marketing at Foodstand. There hasn’t been one place to share your event or see what else is happening, so we’re glad to be offering that to everyone.”

Foodstand, which produces some of their own events—from the Good Food Spotlight for entrepreneurs to their upcoming Food Book & Film Club, saw the value that people were getting during their in-person events. Randy Rodriguez of @cabalitonyc connected with Jimmy Carbone @jimmycarbone of Jimmy’s No. 43 at one of Foodstand and Slow Money’s Good Food Spotlight events and pretty shortly afterwards was doing a pop-up for his pupusas in Jimmy’s space. Six months later, Randy opened one of the first El Salvadorian restaurants in New York.

This was reinforced after hearing from Foodstand subscribers that the Top 10 Best Food Events that are curated by Foodstand and delivered to their inbox every week, were invaluable. “I often work 6 days a week and don’t get home until late at night. It’s challenging to keep up with everything that’s happening,” Chef Flo @servemenow, shared.

Bread alive! Now local farmers and foodmakers can include their events on Foodstand's app and community calendar.

Butter Believe It!  Now local farmers and foodmakers can include their events on Foodstand’s app and community calendar. Photo of Orwashers Bread.

“Now the community can add any food-related events that they deem interesting and relevant to the community. “Those events are searchable by event and date both on our app and on our website,” says Rachna Govani, co-founder and CEO of Foodstand. “When people ask whether they can get their event featured, we just say, ‘Sure—you can just do it yourself!’ It’s all part of our community-powered ethos.”

“It’s unbelievable the diversity of food-related events happening—and not just in New York,” says Oakes. “Of course, it’s impossible to go to all of them, but in a way, it reveals just how much the community around better eating has grown and is growing. It immediately allows us to feel that we’re part of something much larger than us all.”

Anyone in the Foodstand community can post their own events with location, event date and time, and RSVP link via the Foodstand app, which is available as a free download for iPhone. (Android releases in late April 2016). Events automatically are updated on Foodstand's community calendar online as well, and the best events are shared in a weekly email.

Anyone in the Foodstand community can post their own events with location, event date and time, and RSVP link via the Foodstand app, which is available as a free download for iPhone. (Android releases in late April 2016). Events automatically are updated on Foodstand’s community calendar online as well, and the best events are shared in a weekly email.

And what’s on Foodstand’s radar this month? Check out these events:


Want to post an event in the app? Here’s how to do it in 5 easy steps!

  1. Click on the “+” button
  2. Add a url (information will automatically populate)
  3. Type headline or subtitle (if information didn’t automatically populate)
  4. Provide location, start date, end date, and photo, where needed.
  5. Click the “✓”

BONUS: Automatically share across all of your social media feeds from the app!

Want to “stay in the know” about event happenings in your neighborhood or include some of your own? Download the Foodstand app, sign up to the newsletter, or check out the website.


Featured Photo by Andrew Bicknell
From the Team

#WhatsInYourFood Contest Winners + Insider Food Tips

December 3, 2014

#WhatsInYourFood Contest Winners

This past holiday weekend, we asked Foodstanders to share what ingredients were gracing their Thanksgiving tables. The winning Foodstanders were those who tagged the most ingredients across all posts, because good food starts with celebrating what’s in it. Enjoy!

First Place Foodstander: Paola (@Mokalocks)

Our favorites of what’s in Paola’s food: Apple, Fig, Apricot, Eggplants, Lime, Banana

Signature Dish: Peruvian Shrimp Soup
“I learned to make the Peruvian shrimp soup in one of the first cooking classes I took about ten years ago. This soup is rich and creamy, and for me evokes childhood memories.”

Food Tip: Dutch Foraging Website
“A few months ago, I found this site which shows you where you can forage within the Netherlands. That’s how I found a small street in the middle of Amsterdam where you can pick chestnuts. See my Foodstand post where I’ve roasted them with brown butter and thyme!”

– Paola

Second Place Foodstander: Shannon (@shannonvittoria)

Our favorites of what’s in Shannon’s food: Brussels Sprouts, Lamb, Rosemary

Signature Dish: Cranberry Chutney
“I discovered this recipe for a savory cranberry sauce a few years ago, and it has become a staple of my thanksgiving table. This year, I found fresh cranberries at the 77th street Greenmarket in NYC and combined them with sugar, cider vinegar, shallots, ginger, salt, pepper, and orange zest. The best part: the leftovers!” 

Food Tip: Simple Ingredients
“The Sunday before Thanksgiving, I made my way to the 77th Street Greenmarket in search of fall produce. Brussels Sprouts abounded. I did a simple roast: olive oil, salt and pepper, and added a little lemon juice prior to serving.”

 – Shannon

Third Place Foodstander: Alison (@foodbymars)

Our favorites of what’s in Alison’s food: Artichokes, Carrots, Lentils, Pecans, Dates

Signature Dish: Lentil Soup
“This soup has been my go-to for years now because it’s quick, easy and super healthy yet flavorful. My mother-in-law taught me how to make it and I’ve since added my own spin on it. I made it this weekend to recover from the enormous Thanksgiving feast!”

Food Tip: Shop Seasonally
“My tip when shopping for ingredients is to favor what’s in season when looking for produce. Organic can get expensive, so carry a list of the “dirty dozen” with you, so you know what’s recommended to be bought organic and what doesn’t need to be. And of course, local or as close to you makes a huge difference!”

– Alison

We hope you had a fabulous food holiday. We look forward to seeing your Foodstand finds and helping people discover what’s in their food!

From the Team

The Story of Foodstand

April 23, 2014

Hello there 🙂

By now you may have heard one of us rant and rave about how eating well should be easier, or about how silly it is that millions of great food tips and stories are locked away in the hearts and minds of wonderful eaters and makers everywhere, just waiting to be set free. Well, if those tips and stories are little Rapunzels imprisoned in the towers of foodies’ brains everywhere, consider us your prince! Y’all are about to be rescued!

But before we tell you all about how ridiculously awesome our app is and do everything in our power, short of knocking on your door, to convince you to download it (seriously it takes like 5 seconds), we wanted to share our own story: how we came together and how Foodstand came to be.  

We came together at the Purpose office in the summer of 2013, because each one of us was obsessed with the idea that it could be easier for busy people to buy, prepare, eat, and enjoy great food in a more responsible way.

At first, our operation consisted of nothing more than a whiteboard, a few laptops, and a metric ton of delicious coffee. As with any new venture, there were good ideas and bad ones. Just be glad we decided against “Jay Z does a rap”. You’re welcome.

We reached out to a lot of people to find out what was missing from their lives when it came to eating well. People were desperate to know more about where their food comes from, and how to get more connected to the source of what they eat. So, we set out to create a space where it would be easy to do just that. Foodstand is the result of those conversations, a ton of nerdy data points, and, of course, a ton of blood, sweat and tears.

We’re just about ready to hand Foodstand over to you! Sign up to be one of the first to join the Foodstand community! 


Meet some of the smiling faces behind the Stand.

Rachna Govani

I’m in this because I believe in one simple and universal truism: food is brings people together. Ever since I was a little girl, food was always the common ground upon which my family and friends from incredibly diverse backgrounds came together—celebrated, mourned, squashed a disagreement, or just enjoyed one another’s company. It’s how my immigrant parents defined their ‘American’ identity. It is from those experiences that I developed a passion for hosting and feeding others, sharing the joy that I have been lucky to encounter. And you should know, I whip up a mean pesto, breakfast burrito, and daal, sometimes all at the same time.

But somehow food is also the source of so much inconvenience, cost, and inequity. It’s not our fault, but as a nation we have become less healthy, over-medicated, and undernourished. I joined the Foodstand team to make it easier for all people to make better food choices and love food again. This isn’t just about eating greens I grew on my windowsill (though they are pretty delicious). It’s about returning sanity to the food system as a whole and providing proper nourishment for all.  

First food memory

Standing on my favorite step stool helping my mom cook — at age 3. Most parents tell their kids to stay away from the oven. I did the exact opposite then, and still find my happy place in front of steaming pot of something delicious. 

Snacker or meal-er

Aggressive snacker. I feel like there are so many delicious options, that snacking allows me to try more amazing foods and maximize my happiness! 

Most frequently purchased item (this season/ right now)

Apples on apples. You’d think one would get sick of them, but you can do so many amazing things with apples — sliced with peanut butter, upside down apple cake, muffins, kale and apple salad, apple cider donuts, apple ginger jam, and the list goes on! 

Thing you are excited to try next

Making scallops at home and using my friend’s immersion circulator

Burning food question

When was the “pocket” food invented, and what is the history of it occurring in every cuisine? (e.g. empanada, dumpling, samosa, momo, pierogi, etc etc etc)

One thing you learned from building Foodstand thus far

Every farmer has a wildly crazy / incredible / fascinating story and they deserve massive hugs


Dan Shannon

To be honest I was never much of a “foodie.” I think my favorite food in high school was Kraft mac and cheese. But I was always deeply engaged in social justice issues, and cut my teeth as a “career activist” running campaigns to get fast-food and grocery companies to make basic improvements to animal welfare conditions in their supply chain. This opened by eyes to the systematic problems in our food system, and in particular the intersections of these problems–animal rights/welfare and sustainability, food insecurity and public health, etc.

Becoming more connected with the politics of food connected me more closely to what I was actually eating. So did marrying my wife. Together, we started writing a vegan lifestyle blog, Meet the Shannons, and wrote a cookbook called Betty Goes Vegan. No more Kraft mac and cheese for us.

I joined the Foodstand team to help build a place where people could help each other make more informed choices about what they were eating, and where together we could build a better food system simply by eating better. And most of all, I wanted to give other people the same experience I had–that connecting with food on a deeper level can actually help you love it even more.


First food memory

Stealing veggies out of the salad bowl before dinner.

Snacker or meal-er

Meal-er, mostly because if you put snacks in front of me I literally cannot stop eating them.

Most frequently purchased item (this season/ right now)

I am an unabashed member of the kale bandwagon, breakfast lunch and dinner.

Thing you are excited to try next

Cashew-based hard cheeses! There are a ton of new artisans making these.

Burning food question

Why did I ever think Kraft mac and cheese was delicious?

One thing you learned from building Foodstand thus far

Labels are confusing and unhelpful for consumers; understanding how food is actually produced is the antidote.


Allison Sheren

I’ve always been around food and cooking. When I was young, we cooked all the time, especially for family functions. Most Jewish holidays revolve around big dinners with lots of people and I loved every second of it. As a Sephardic Jew, I spent hours watching specialty Middle Eastern food being made. I always wanted to help make the complicated Syrian recipes like lachamajin, kibbe, and sambusak I watched my grandpa spend hours making. Each dish was made with such precision and love and yet at the same time when it came to quantities the recipe read something like “a little bit of this, a little bit of that and then taste until it seems right.”

When looking at cookbooks, I got used to figuring out how to make non-kosher recipes kosher and how to experiment from the base recipe I was using. When I married my vegetarian husband, it became even trickier. Now I flip recipes from regular to kosher to vegetarian all the time, including vegetarian-izing some of our classic Syrian recipes.

I joined the Foodstand team because food should be fun, interesting, user friendly, and enjoyed with the community around us. I love seeing different people’s perspectives and experiences with food and I LOVE seeing how things are made (hello Sesame Street Crayon Factory trip!).

First food memory

Practicing with play-doh how to flute the edges of a sambusak before I was allowed to do it on a real one.

Snacker or meal-er

meal-er. I like meals, but like 6 smaller meals as opposed to three larger meals… so maybe big snacks?

Most frequently purchased item (this season/ right now)

Sugar. I bake… a lot and therefore I end up going through lots of sugar. 

Thing you are excited to try next

Anything having to do with molecular gastronomy.

Burning food question

What are some failed hybrid fruit experiments?

One thing you learned from building Foodstand thus far

Coding and cooking are actually very similar both in how you develop and execute the result.


Stay tuned for more stories from the rest of the Foodstand team!        

Got a story to share of your own? Shoot us a note at We look forward to hearing from you!