Favorite spice: Paprika…because it can be sweet, smoky or spicy…like me!
Last meal: I have no clue, but bread, avocado and cheese should be involved.
Favorite aspect of the job: The people…by FAR! Hearing someone tell you that you changed their life never gets old!
Fun food fact: I’ve liked watching cooking shows since before kindergarten. I love all aspects of planning and preparing a meal.
I’m new to Cooking Matters, but not to nutrition education. I have been teaching my friends how to eat nutritiously on a budget for years. Not to mention nourishing my precocious kiddo for the past 9 years…that should definitely count as at least 16 years of adult nutrition education! As an AmeriCorps cooking instructor, I not only provide nutrition education to the masses, but I also help Cooking Matters Georgia with their digital communications and social media outreach.
Manager of Strategic Partnerships
Fun food fact: I spent a year as a lunch lady with City Schools of Decatur. My favorite part of that work was introducing kids to their new salad bar.
First food industry job: Salesperson at Hickory Farms
Most recent food industry job: Butter churner for Banner Butter (a locally produced cultured butter)
I’m a Registered Dietitian, a health educator, and an enthusiastic home cook. Before becoming a dietitian, I worked in public health for over 15 years in health education, program planning, and program evaluation. Working with Cooking Matters allows me to do so much of what I love – cooking, teaching, and working for positive change in community settings.
I believe that food is so much more than the sum of its nutrients, and I believe that everyone has the ability to prepare healthy and delicious food for themselves and their families. I love to cook for family and friends, and I am proud to have raised two adventurous eaters who can now cook for themselves.
Brandi A. Banks
AmeriCorps Cooking Instructor
Favorite spice: Berbere...an Ethiopian spice
Last meal: Grilled salmon, cold crisp salad
Favorite aspect of the job: Teaching people to cook foods they have never eaten...and seeing their faces when they taste it for the first time. Wow! They love it!
Fun food fact: I love eating "street food" in different countries
I began my hospitality career over 45 years ago, holding various positions including General Manager at the University of Pennsylvania Hotel. I have lived and worked for over 5 years, in Accra, Ghana West Africa. My project while there was to develop an infant and children feeding programs in a village near Accra. On returning to the USA, I developed feeding programs for the homeless in Philadelphia, PA. My true mission in life is “Women and Minority” issues in the hospitality industry. In retirement, I have lived my life’s dream of service to others: working for Cooking Matters.
Favorite Seasoning: Adobo... I love using it when making guacamole.
Fun Food Fact: During my childhood my grandparents ran a full, mixed-use farm. Because we ate what was raised or grown, I’ve tried many different parts of animals. The most surprising was cow’s tongue. It was surprisingly good.
This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program- SNAP-Ed.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
Meet the Team:
Cooking Matters Dietician
Satellite Coordinator-S. Georgia
Favorite spice/seasoning: Fresh Dill
Last meal: Turkey meatloaf
Favorite aspect of the job: Creating and trying out new innovative programs that keep health education fresh and interesting.
Fun food fact: I enjoy cooking and baking with my 4 year old son. Which always ends up being a lesson of food safety and hand washing as well.
Favorite spice(s): Curry (because so many varieties), Five Spice Powder and SMOKED Paprika (cannot live without it)!
Favorite Foods: Caribbean, Asian and Nawlins’ Creole! Too many foods to list individually!
Last meal: Lamb Chops, Orzo and Asparagus…
Favorite aspect of the job: Teaching Children and Parents in underserved communities
Fun food fact: I am always in search of the perfect Key Lime Pie! I ate ¾ of an entire Pecan Pie in a car in less than an hour which was made by this sweet petite Amish lady in Hagerstown, Md. EVERYTIME I visit I try to make it to the Amish market for that darn pie!!! Get in my Belly!!!
Los Angeles, California is home! D.C. Metro Area is my second home! Now in So. Ga., I have learned so many interesting culinary/cooking and farming rituals from my southern friends and family to add to my experiences. As a chef, I will taste anything at least once and that is my mission when teaching and explaining to our clients why “Cooking Matters!”
Favorite spice- Old Bay because I may live in Georgia now, but I’m a Maryland girl through and through
Not sure. It would probably be a weird collection of grilled burgers, fancy
tacos, Maryland Eastern Shore corn, crabs, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, and
wine. But no matter what I eat, I hope I’m surrounded by friends and family
Favorite aspect of the job- I haven’t done much yet since I’m so new. But I’ve really
enjoyed meeting new community partners. Everyone has been very friendly and
wonderful to work with
Fun food fact- I love to try new meat, though I am not a big meat eater. I have eaten
kangaroo, camel, antelope, alligator, bison, octopus, wild boar and probably
more that I can’t remember
I am new to Cooking Matters, but I have been a Registered Dietitian for several years. I
have worked in a hospital for most of my career, but I am excited to work in
new setting where I can help make a difference.
Fun food fact: I have grown food on 4 continents!
Favorite aspect of the job: The constant opportunity to learn. With an agricultural background I have a deep understanding of the process which produce the food we cook, but this position affords the opportunity to constantly learn with participants about how they use that food and the nutritional impact of our food choices.
Spirit fruit: a kiwi! Because its exterior is hairy and a little odd at first glance, but once you open it up it holds a wonderful tangy surprise. Plus I spent several years living in New Zealand!
As an Atlanta native I returned to my hometown in 2017 bringing my international agricultural experience with me to fulfill my passion of connecting people with their food. While pursuing my master’s in agribusiness innovation in Costa Rica I developed my Spanish fluency which I use to serve as a nutrition education resource for Atlanta’s fastest growing community.