Our Team

We are a team of hardworking, fun-loving individuals motivated to share how easy it can be to make and eat vegetable-forward dishes at home.

Our Staff

Nafissatou Ba EAT360 Program Coordinator

Nafissatou Ba EAT360 Program Coordinator

If you were a vegetable, what would you be and why?
Versatility is key so onions! You can eat them raw or cooked. They taste sweet or spicy and they are the base of many great dishes.

Who would you choose (current or historical!) to be your life mentor, and why?
Fatou Diome and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. They are both great writers and are not afraid to tell the truth.

What school or community activity was your favorite growing up? i.e. after-school activities
Dance. My dream job was to be Beyonce's choreographer.

What's your real-life super power (talent)?
Creativity. One of my project at uni was to repurpose plastic bags into fashionable items.

Maddy Booth Chief Operating Officer, Interim CEO

Maddy Booth Chief Operating Officer, Interim CEO

Is there a defining moment in your career that led you to VCP? How'd you get to us?
When I moved back to Philly from the UK, I worked as a server at the first Pizzeria Vetri for its first year. The rest is history!

What's an interest that you could go on and on about?

Fortunately, it relates to my job: I will happily talk about food at length. From growing and learning to forage to exploring food cultures from around the world and supporting local Philadelphia restaurants, food is central to everything.

Who would you choose (current or historical!) to be your life mentor, and why?
Michelle Obama for her wisdom, strength, and to remind me to remain kind especially through hard times.

What school or community activity was your favorite growing up? i.e. after-school activities
From a young age through my college years, I spent all of my extra time playing sports - soccer, basketball, and lacrosse. I do think that I missed my calling by not participating in musicals, but there's still time.

Tamyah Brice EAT360 Program Coordinator

Tamyah Brice EAT360 Program Coordinator

If you were a vegetable, what would you be and why?
I would be cauliflower because I'm versatile; I can adapt to any situation with ease.

What's your real-life super power (talent)?
I can dance haha. I really enjoy spending my free time exploring the way that my body moves when I play music. It's my happy place :)

What's the most important (life) lesson you've learned thus far?
Never give up. No matter how easy it may be to give up, don't. Keep striving to be the best you can be; not only for yourself, but as a model for the people that surround you.

What neighborhood do you live in? What do you like about it?
I live in Germantown. I love it! Everyone is so nice here and the community is beautiful. There is a trail a long the river near my house that I like to go to for walks with my partner or jogs.

Mary Bullock Snap-Ed Program Director

Mary Bullock Snap-Ed Program Director

If you were a vegetable, what would you be and why?
I would be fennel because I'm resourceful and happiest when surrounded by a variety of people and perspectives. Similarly, fennel is an ingredient in many different culinary traditions (very adaptable) and you can use every part of the plant to make something delicious (very resourceful)! Roughly chopped fennel seeds or fennel pollen are for spice blends or rubs. The wispy leaves and bulbs can be eaten raw or cooked. My favorite way to eat fennel right now is thinly sliced in a spunky salad with grapefruit, good feta and olive oil.

Is there a defining moment in your career that led you to VCP? How'd you get to us?
One of my dearest friends recommended that I join the team in 2016. We met while working at Fork restaurant in Old City, Philadelphia three years earlier. While she went straight from the kitchen to VCP I took the scenic route, in search of new ways to better connect people and their food. Deciding to leave a career in food production years ago was a major shift-- you could even call it a defining moment in my career. But I think the real agent of change is a friendship that began with a shared passion for food.

What school or community activity was your favorite growing up? i.e. after-school activities
I loved anything crafty when I was young. We used to have Brownies meetings in our school cafeteria after school. I spent so much time on the arts and crafts projects that I was always the last one to leave. Big thanks to my mom who would have to get out of the car line to come remind me that everyone else was gone.

What's your real-life super power (talent)?
I can talk to my cat Mayonnaise. When she meows at me I know exactly what she wants- EVERYTIME. Belly scratch? Playtime? Fresh water? I got you Mayo! And I think she gets me too.

Jie Bin Chen EAT360 Program Coordinator

Jie Bin Chen EAT360 Program Coordinator

Is there a defining moment in your career that led you to VCP? How'd you get to us?
So I graduated from Rutgers New Brunswick with a major in Neuropsychology and have worked in the non-profit sector for the past 5-6 years. My initial focus was working with mental health, substance use, and homeless populations in Atlantic and Cape May County, New Jersey. Then I was promoted to a coordinator position where I had the honor of working with Holocaust survivors and their families and with case management for senior citizens.

My parents owned a restaurant, so I’ve been in that business all of my life. Food has always been a big part of our family and I’ve always loved to cook for my friends/family/strangers. After moving to Philadelphia, I came to Vetri Community Partnership to mix my passion for helping others with my love for food! As I was made aware of the agency by my girlfriend and coincidentally had our second date at Vetri Pizza before I was hired.

What's an interest that you could go on and on about?
I think I can go on forever about food, music and neuroscience.

What life/work/school accomplishment are you most proud of?
I'm very proud of all of the work I've accomplished in assistance of Holocaust survivors and recently being accepted into Master of Science program at Jefferson.

Who would you choose (current or historical!) to be your life mentor, and why?
I would choose Dr. Oliver Sacks. I've read most of his books and has been inspired by his approach as a practitioner and human being.

Kelsey DeCerchio EAT360 Program Coordinator

Kelsey DeCerchio EAT360 Program Coordinator

Is there a defining moment in your career that led you to VCP? How'd you get to us?
When I was in my final year of my undergraduate degree, I was really feeling frustrated and was looking for something to connect my interests (food, culture) and a need for hands-on, giving back type medium. I interned for a similar organization in Philadelphia doing what I do now, and realized that was what I wanted to be doing. It was a mind-expanding experience! I then moved to Italy and taught English for a year, and when I returned, I started looking very hard for an opportunity like my internship, and with perfect timing a position opened up at VCP.

What's an interest that you could go on and on about?
My mom calls me the bartender from Cheers since I could talk about anything, but I could go on and on about languages and dialects in languages, bicycles, environmental justice, art history, the library, and food justice!

What life/work/school accomplishment are you most proud of?
I'm most proud of living abroad in Italy twice, and becoming fluent in Italian over time through school and working. Even more so, I can understand and speak some of the dialect of the area where I lived (which is like another language separate from Italian!)

What neighborhood do you live in? What do you like about it?
I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, went to Temple University (go owls!), and haven't really lived anywhere since. So I've lived in so many neighborhoods in Philadelphia, and I love it all. Right now, I've been in Fishtown for the past four years, and the thing I love most is how much I've connected with my neighbors. It's the best thing about Philadelphia; the neighborly love.

Erika Dorsey Vetri Cooking Lab Program Coordinator

Erika Dorsey Vetri Cooking Lab Program Coordinator

Is there a defining moment in your career that led you to VCP? How'd you get to us?
Finishing my dietetic internship last summer was absolutely the defining career moment that led me to being able to apply for a full-time position at VCP, it was perfect timing!

What's an interest that you could go on and on about?
There are so many: sparkling water, holistic health and wellness, parenting/motherhood, internet culture, and the idea that there are no "bad" music genres; you can find a great song in any genre.

What life/work/school accomplishment are you most proud of?
Running 29.6 miles from North Jersey to NYC for a charity is something I'm super proud of myself for doing...and something I don't feel the need to ever do again, ha!

What neighborhood do you live in? What do you like about it?
I live in South Philly where Point Breeze meets Greys Ferry. My favorite part about it is Tom, my neighbor who has been here since his childhood and tells me stories of what our area used to be like.

Fae Z. Ehsan Development Manager

Fae Z. Ehsan Development Manager

What's an interest that you could go on and on about?
Definitely Harry Potter! I've read all the books multiple times, and I have a series of theories about almost every character.

Who would you choose (current or historical!) to be your life mentor, and why?
My dream life mentor would be Ida B. Wells, a journalist, educator, and civil rights activist. She was the first journalist in the US to report on lynching, and her brave reporting is upheld as the standard in journalistic reporting to this day. She was also committed to obtaining the right to vote for black women. She is my hero!

What is your favorite food?
Pasta! Any kind of pasta is my kind of pasta.

What neighborhood do you live in?
I live in West Philly, and I love it here. There is so much incredible diversity here, and so many great restaurants and parks.

Taylor Griffith EAT360 Program Coordinator

Taylor Griffith EAT360 Program Coordinator

If you were a vegetable, what would you be and why?
I would be a sweet potato! I am sweet, versatile, and provide great energy!

Is there a defining moment in your career that led you to VCP? How'd you get to us?
I joined FoodCorps in 2018-2019. While being a service member for FoodCorps, I really loved what we did and knew I wanted to pursue something just like it when I finished. After searching through different organizations, I fell across VCP. I connected to their mission and vision, and knew it was the perfect place for me!

Who would you choose (current or historical!) to be your life mentor, and why?
There are so many to choose from! One of my mentors would be Chef Ann Cooper. She is an great advocate of healthy food for all children, and she is a champion of school food reform. Chef Ann is also a graduate from the Culinary Institute of America, where I graduated from! I aspire to be of service for all children, especially those who lack the resources, and be an advocate for them to ensure they get the healthy food they deserve.

What school or community activity was your favorite growing up? i.e. after-school activities
I was on a step team as a kid. I loved being around my friends who were also a part of the team, and all the different step routines and chants we came up with. I still remember a few moves to this day.

Michelle Guerrier EAT360 Program Manager

Michelle Guerrier EAT360 Program Manager

What life/work/school accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am most proud of being a new mother.

Who would you choose (current or historical!) to be your life mentor, and why?
My life mentor would be Spirit. She is a licensed relationship therapist who is such an inspiration to me.

What school or community activity was your favorite growing up? i.e. after-school activities
As a teenager I loved singing on the choir. I looked forward to weekly rehearsals and singing at local services and events through out NYC.

What is your favorite food?
My favorite food is papaya.

Shannon Herlihy EAT360 Program Coordinator

Shannon Herlihy EAT360 Program Coordinator

What's an interest that you could go on and on about?
I could go on about fermenting food. I love to make kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fun fermented food/ drinks. The health benefits are spectacular and I love the taste, so I could go on about ferments for a while.

What life/work/school accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am proud of the time I spent farming right after graduating college. I am proud of farming through Americorps right after graduating, but particularly the most proud of the trip I took to India to farm for two months the fall of 2018. The farm in India is called Navdanya, and was created by Vandana Shiva. She is a woman who visited my college campus to speak about food security and sustainable farming, so it was really rewarding to be able to work on her farm and learn from her and her staff.

What school or community activity was your favorite growing up? i.e. after-school activities
I started to play volleyball in late middle school and it was my favorite activity. I played every season in high school, a bit sporadically in college, and still play a rec league in Philadelphia now.

What's your real-life super power (talent)?
My super power is definitely my aptitude for claw machines. Not any of the fancy electronics claw machines, but there's never been a stuffed animal claw machine I haven't conquered with a couple dollars.

Amelia Kaselaan Mobile Teaching Kitchen Program Coordinator

Amelia Kaselaan Mobile Teaching Kitchen Program Coordinator

Who would you choose (current or historical!) to be your life mentor, and why?
Brené Brown! She is a research professor who studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame. For starters I absolutely love research and evidence based information and I find these topics particularly interesting in how it relates to us as individuals and how we interact with others in the world. After reading her book "The Gifts of Imperfection" it helped me to reconsider the way I viewed my strengths and weaknesses. One of my favorite parts of her book says "creativity, which is the expression of our originality, helps us stay mindful that what we bring to the world is completely original and cannot be compared." I could learn so much from her!

What school or community activity was your favorite growing up? i.e. after-school activities
I was more of the artsy kid growing up. I was never really good at or interested in athletics or numbers, but I loved to draw, listen or play music, and spend as much time outside. Anything that let my imagination run wild!

What's your real-life super power (talent)?
Being able to make a quick meal out of the random things we have in our pantry and fridge without a recipe, and still somehow making it delicious.

What neighborhood do you live in? What do you like about it?
I live in a small South Jersey town. I like having the best of both worlds because we can get to many places really quickly - we are just a few minutes from Philly and a short drive to the shore. Plus having a backyard for my two energetic dogs is a bonus!

Christin Kwasny Development Director

Christin Kwasny Development Director

Is there a defining moment in your career that led you to VCP? How'd you get to us?
Out of college, I started working for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. It was there that I realized that my passion for supporting members of my community could be a career. This then paved the way for me to do fundraising for the National Kidney Foundation and after 9 years, happily the joined Vetri Community Partnership team!

What's an interest that you could go on and on about?
The Sixers (and probably Eagles too). I love Philly sports!

What life/work/school accomplishment are you most proud of?
Being a mom to 2 amazing boys!

What school or community activity was your favorite growing up? i.e. after-school
After school, I loved playing soccer with my friends. Early on, we would play on the school yard but as I grew older, I was a member of my school team.

Sam Landsberg Volunteer & Program Coordinator

Sam Landsberg Volunteer & Program Coordinator

Who would you choose to be your life mentor, and why?
Julia Child! She changed the world without compromising the weird and wonderful person she was.

What school or community activity was your favorite growing up?
I loved any kind of art class. I was especially focused on drawing and it's still something I do almost every day.

What's the most important life lesson you've learned thus far?
The most important life lesson I've learned so far is to listen. Everyone I meet knows something that I don't know or has experienced something that I haven't and listening and taking those things seriously has made me more compassionate. I'm grateful to everyone that has taken the time to teach me something!

If you were a vegetable, what would you be and why?
I think I'd be a radish, because I'm friendly and adapt myself to most situations (ie. salads, tacos, etc). I'm also a little spicy and go great with butter.

Ted Lozier EAT360 Program Manager

Ted Lozier EAT360 Program Manager

If you were a vegetable, what would you be and why?
I'm pretty sure I'd be a carrot. There's something about root vegetables being roots that has always appealed to me. Also, they're just as good in a salad, a stew or eaten raw by themselves. You can't get much more versatile than that.

What's an interest that you could go on and on about?
I could successfully talk anyone's ear off about music, golf or grass.

What school or community activity was your favorite growing up? i.e. after-school activities
We used to get a book of logic puzzles for each semester when I was in elementary school. The idea was that we could each do a puzzle or two after lunch every day, but I would usually just blast through it in a few days.

What's the most important (life) lesson you've learned thus far?
There's something to be learned from every experience, positive or negative. You're always getting better.

Celia Mason Vetri Cooking Lab Program Manager

Celia Mason Vetri Cooking Lab Program Manager

Is there a defining moment in your career that led you to VCP? How'd you get to us?
I've always worked with kids or in education in some capacity and firmly believe that students learn by (and are empowered by) DOING. In the past I taught yoga and mindfulness to kids of all ages, then worked with college students studying sustainable agriculture and community development in Central America.

I had a particular interest in food systems and the impact they had on humans and the environment, but it wasn't until I was diagnosed with celiac disease at age 25 that the profound impact of diet on health really resonated with me. I started teaching for Vetri Cooking Lab in 2017 and was immediately hooked by the mission of the organization and the people I worked with.

VCP combines my passion for food, individual and community health, AND my love for hands- on education that celebrates each student as an individual and creates an environment for them to thrive. I am grateful to work with such an incredible team.

What school or community activity was your favorite growing up? i.e. after-school activities
Dance. I loved the movement, music and self- expression all in one! So therapeutic for me.

What neighborhood do you live in? What do you like about it?
I live in the Passyunk Square neighborhood near the Italian Market. I Absolutely LOVE my neighborhood because of the diverse communities and small, independent businesses that make it what it is. Within 5 minutes of my house I can eat Vietnamese on Washington Ave, stop at the Asian Supermarket, get fresh tortillas and tamales and tacos on 9th street, access the produce stands, butcher shops, bakeries and cheese shops in the Italian market, and then stroll down Passyunk Ave to pop into any of the dozens of restaurants, coffee shops and bars there. So many flavors and cultures intermingling here to create a strong food culture, and I love it :)

What is your favorite food?
My all time favorite VCP recipe is our chimichurri chicken thighs with coconut rice- YUM. In my personal life right now it's a toss up between Vietnamese and Indian food. (I know thats a few things, but how could I choose just one?!)

Tara Mataraza Desmond Program Educator

Tara Mataraza Desmond Program Educator

If you were a vegetable, what would you be and why?
A tomato. It's versatile, adaptable to change, gets along with lots of other ingredients. You can make something fancy with tomatoes, but they also stand on their own without a lot of extra.

What's an interest that you could go on and on about?
Food's impact on mental and physical well-being!

What life/work/school accomplishment are you most proud of?
Writing and releasing three cookbooks over the same stretch of six years during which I became a parent of three.

What's the most important (life) lesson you've learned thus far?
Quality over quantity... in friends, work, education, and, of course food.

Emily Oppenheim Education Programs Director

Emily Oppenheim Education Programs Director

If you were a vegetable, what would you be and why?
I would be a sweet potato! Despite my absolute love my veggies, I also have a crazy sweet tooth. This is why a sweet potato is my happy medium between the two while still being an excellent source of nutrients the body. It's nature's candy!

Who would you choose (current or historical!) to be your life mentor, and why?
I have great interest in animals and the natural world and I would love someone like David Attenborough to be my mentor due to that fact. David has great knowledge about our planet and that which inhabits it. His interests and passion for the subject shines through in his work and I would love the opportunity to learn from him and his vast number of experiences throughout his 60+ years in the field.

What's the most important (life) lesson you've learned thus far?
Never doubt that one person can make a difference.

What is your favorite food?
Tacos! I love how versatile they are with their many combinations, flavors and toppings. They also remind me of warmer weather which is always a plus.

Chelsea Schmidt Operations Director

Chelsea Schmidt Operations Director

Who would you choose (current or historical!) to be your life mentor, and why?
My aunt is my unofficial life mentor (because I've never told her...). She is the most boss lady in every way - she's this powerful personality who makes her own way and her own success. She's just strong.

What school or community activity was your favorite growing up? i.e. after-school activities
I loved playing sports in high school. You could be dragging yourself into the gym for 6AM practice or playing in rain or 90° weather but you had a whole team around you doing the same thing and making you better....it's actually what I feel from our team at VCP!

What's your real-life super power (talent)?
I can tell a baby's exact age from like 1 week to two years old. After that I have no idea how old anyone is.

What's the most important (life) lesson you've learned thus far?
My mom always tells me to "stand up straight." It's kind of amazing how feeling taller and stronger can give you this boost of confidence (plus it makes

Tom Whitney Finance Manager

Tom Whitney Finance Manager

What's an interest that you could go on and on about?
I love music! I have been playing saxophone in & around the Philadelphia area for the past few years, performing anything from Billy Joel to Duke Ellington. My weekends are often filled with performing, going to shows, or jamming out in my apartment.

What life/work/school accomplishment are you most proud of?
In college, I got my hands on the demo of a video game, and replaced all of the sound effects & music with my own. Getting so see all of the pieces fall into place at the end was extraordinarily satisfying.

Who would you choose (current or historical!) to be your life mentor, and why?
I would love the opportunity to follow & learn from Ben Franklin. He seemed to have an insatiable curiosity, and wisdom beyond what a person should be able to gather in one lifetime.

What's your real-life super power (talent)?
I can speed up time! Often on the weekends, I'll sit down to do something I enjoy, and 10 minutes later it'll be dinner time!

Our Founders & Board

Marc Vetri Founder, Board Member

Marc Vetri Founder, Board Member

Vetri Cucina

Jeff Benjamin Founder, Board Member

Jeff Benjamin Founder, Board Member

Vetri Cucina, Fitler Club

Michael Forman Board Chair
DaCarla Albright Board Member

DaCarla Albright Board Member

Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

Kimberley Brown Board Member
Sandy Brown Board Member

Sandy Brown Board Member

NFI Industries

Walter Buckley Board Member

Walter Buckley Board Member

Seminole Capital Partners

Sylvia DiBona Board Member

Sylvia DiBona Board Member

Fred's Footsteps

Lisa Dykstra Board Member

Lisa Dykstra Board Member

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius

Jaimie Field Board Member

Jaimie Field Board Member

Entercom

Jameer Nelson Board Member

Careers & Internships

Join our team!

Have an interest in nutrition education and cooking? Vetri Community Partnership offers both full-time and part-time positions and internships.

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