Stacey Ornstein

Founder

Stacey has developed curriculum, recipes, and taught healthy, international cooking classes across New York City – for youth, young adults, and adults since 2007. She began Allergic to Salad in 2010 to share her experiences and recipes in the kid cooking trenches. It has since grown into the project it is today- to after-school classes, parties and more! She has developed recipes with The New York Times’ Mark Bittman on his cookbook, Kitchen Express, the Food Network TV show, Cooking for Real (Sunny Anderson), and recipe tested for Body and Soul Magazine (Martha Stewart Omnimedia). Her writing and recipes have appeared in numerous print and online publications. Her food programming efforts have reached over 100,000 children and adults since 2007. Stacey has a Masters in History of Education from New York University and is a contributing editor to the textbook Contemporary Issues in Curriculum (2006/2011/2015).

McKenzie Ziegler

Programs

McKenzie has been an educator with ATS since September 2019, teaching virtually since spring 2020, and the program manager since September 2022. She loved teaching in NYC schools, equipped with a backpack full of veggies, but decided on suburban life and moved to Holly Springs, North Carolina in July 2020. She is grateful to continue educating students, and now managing the program, states away! McKenzie has taught nutrition and cooking classes for all ages for the past 7 years. She is a registered dietitian nutritionist on a mission to break down diet culture by dispelling nutrition myths and promoting the nourishment of mind in addition to body. Outside her ATS duties, McKenzie teaches nutrition and cooking classes through her local hospital system, and runs her own nutrition counseling practice, McKenzie Ziegler Nutrition. In her free time, she enjoys being active outside, watching old TV sitcoms, discovering new music, and eating charcuterie!

Pia Rahman

Program Assistant

Pia Rahman is a native New Yorker. She completed her master’s in clinical nutrition at the New York Institute of Technology and her dietetic internship at SUNY Downstate, with a concentration on kidney transplants and weight management. She uses her prior work experience in school nutrition education with Allergic to Salad and her clinical skills in her administrative role. Pia’s onboarding approach is built around teamwork. Each person is onboarded based on their experience, work schedule, and the demands of everyday life. “At Allergic to Salad, we want to meet you where you are in your journey and provide you the confidence to teach and cook.” When she is not in the office, she enjoys walking her dog, Kulfi, playing tennis, reading, or enjoying a cup of freshly brewed tea.

Nikita Cassidy

Program Assistant

Nikita has been teaching culinary classes to kids for the past five years and is currently based in New York City as a yoga and culinary educator. She is completing her 500-hour advanced yoga training, and has recently graduated from the Developmental Psychology program at CUNY School of Professional Studies. She has taught yoga, culinary, and English classes in Spain and France, and has served with FoodCorps in Ventura, California. Her passions are health, wellness, child development and education, as well as traveling and exploring different cultures. She loves working with Allergic to Salad, helping connect students to healthy food in schools.

Christy Robb

Educator

Christy Robb is a native New Yorker living just blocks from her high school, Elizabeth Irwin, which she credits with igniting her passions for social justice, activism, and education. Having advocated for communities across New York City for years, Christy became a food justice activist when she saw how many of the families she was working with were suffering from the harmful, inadequate diets on which they were subsisting. She fervently believes that once people have the information and the know-how in regard to food, nutrition, and cooking, they will make sound decisions about their own and their families’ health and well-being. Most recently, Christy was managing the largest soup kitchen in Brooklyn, serving 1,400 meals a day on site and through a mobile soup kitchen. In addition, Christy has been a long-time community chef for Local Produce Link, a partnership program between Just Food, the New York State Department of Health, and United Way of New York City, delivering fresh local produce to emergency food programs in all 5 boroughs. She is also a Stellar Market Culinary Educator for the New York City Department of Health, conducting workshops at Farmers’ Markets throughout the city.

Andrew Lay

Educator

Andrew is a chef, baker, and educator with a strong passion for food justice. Born and raised in Indonesia, they have been exposed to a wide array of flavors and cooking styles. Food is an integral part of their cultural identity and it has always been their dream to share their cooking knowledge with others. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Andrew has the experience and professional skill to teach students cooking skills and help them develop a diverse and healthy palette at an early age. Besides spending hours in their kitchen developing new recipes, Andrew loves going on hikes around nature, taking care of their plants and herbs in the community garden, and enjoying live music around NYC.

Halimah Kihulo

Educator

Born and raised in New York City, Halimah has always demonstrated a passion for justice and serving her community. In 2021, Halimah earned her Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in addition to working as a college writing tutor and hosting poetry workshops for college students. In March of 2022, Halimah joined ATS in order to further her passion for helping her community. With a love for cooking, educating, and creativity, Halimah is always happy to work with her students and help them grow. In addition to teaching from the wonderful ATS curriculum, one of Halimah’s favorite activities is playing food-related card games with her students in order to further their understanding of the wonderful cuisines and foods the world has to offer.

Anna Gorshkova

Educator

As a recent immigrant from Russia, I retained a strong attachment to the food culture of my country. However, my food identity began to form on the first day of Nutrition class at Montclair State University. Professor in the Food Studies department said “Eating is the most intimate process. You put food in your mouth, it nourishes your body, and becomes you.” This inspired me to pursue my further studies and career in Nutrition and Food. Interning at an urban vertical farm focused my attention on the Sustainability Development Goals 2030 which have shaped my long-term agenda to examine the current issues and educate others. Therefore, I believe that food education is essential from an early age. I am extremely excited to work with young learners and offer new perspectives of the world of food to children.

Geneva Thomas

Educator

I was a long time resident of Brooklyn NY, I now reside in Jamaica, NY. I received my Associate’s Degree in Food and Nutrition from LaGuardia Community College and my Bachelor’s Degree in Health Service Administration from New York City College Of Technology. I have over 20 years of experience in the Food and Nutrition Industry. I have a passion for nutrition, public speaking and teaching. 

I am a committed and passionate food and nutrition professional. I have lent my expertise to many positions such as community educator with Cornell University Cooperative Extension (CUCE), adjunct as a college laboratory technician in continuing education and as a instructor at LaGuardia Community College (LaGCC), food inspector with United Way, I have held positions as Food Service Supervisor and Manager at several NYC Hospitals, such as, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Mt. Sinai; St. Luke’s Hospital, Suny Downstate Long Island College Hospital (LICH), Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn NY, and The Department of Education of NYC. I also partner with The LIGHTEN UP BROOKLYN PROGRAM spearheaded by (CUCE) for participants to increase their physical activity, interned at Teachers College University Program in the NUTRITION EDUCATION and CULINARY CLASSES for First and Second graders “THE COOKSHOP PROGRAM”. I am on the ADVISORY BOARD for the DIETETIC TECHNICIANS and FOODSERVICE MANAGEMENT PROGRAMS at (LaGCC). I truly understand the value of having “Healthy Anericans so we can have a Healthy America”.

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An on-site dinner party is an awesome way to spend time together with family and friends. Enjoy a fun evening while showing off your inner chef skills.

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