Eating at a Meeting Podcast

The Eating at a Meeting podcast explores a variety of topics on food and beverage (F&B) and how they impact individual experience and inclusion, sustainability, culture, community, health and wellness, laws and more.

Each 30-45 minute Eating at a Meeting episode features an expert on food and beverage who will educate listeners on how to create safe and inclusive food and beverage experiences through their respective lens. The mission is to share authentic stories that illustrate the financial, social, emotional, and mental impact food and beverage have on individuals, organizations, and the earth.

The Host – Tracy Stuckrath

Tracy is an event planner and international speaker with food allergies based in New Bern, North Carolina. She launched thrive! meetings & events in 2010, changing the trajectory of her event planning career to educate organizations on how to feed attendees with dietary needs. 

She is a daughter, sister, aunt, friend and entrepreneur who drives a mini-cooper convertible, takes her nieces and nephews on experiences trips, and ALWAYS talks to strangers. She has co-authored two books — Humans@Work and You@Work, working on her third (Eating at a Meeting), and has been named Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry, Meetings Industry Change Maker and one of the Top 500 Event Professionals in North America for her work on the topic of inclusive food and beverage.

The Guests

Guests on Eating at a Meeting are event and meeting planners, doctors, lawyers, farmers, eaters, chefs, human resource managers, and more, sharing their experiences, knowledge and expertise on how F&B impacts experiences and business. As experts in their fields, they can help listeners think differently about food and beverage. We hope to help listeners better navigate their dietary needs, palates, plates at meetings and events, in the workplace and their communities, and across the earth so they are healthier, safer and included.


Listen to the podcast on your favorite podcasting platform. New episodes weekly.

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The Eating at a Meeting Facebook group share more information on the podcast episodes and organizing safe and inclusive food and beverage events.

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Check out the episodes below.

April Cunningham. Woman in a pink chef's jacker standing in a kitchen
Episode 18: Catering during COVID & for Food Allergies

October 27, 2020  •  Catering | COVID | Food Allergies

April Cunningham, owner of April’s Table Catering company talks about how she manages food safety regulations during COVID as well as accommodating dietary needs of her catering clients. How do you staff an event? How do you share your food safety practices? How do COVID and dietary needs mix?

April’s Table is a full service catering company offering quality food, locally sourced ingredients, and custom-designed menus to suit every event.

Find April:  Instagram  |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Pinterest

Stepheni Norton Dickinson Farm community
Episode 17: Farming’s Heirloom Apparent

October 22, 2020  •  Farming | Nutrition | Sustainability

Stepheni Norton’s journey from chief yeoman in the U.S. Coast Guard to Southern California community farmer of pre-WWII fruit, vegetables and herbs began with a dream … and an insect bite.

As farmers at W.D. Dickinson, Stepheni and her husband Mike, are working to preserve community, local foods, cultures and traditions, and to ensure that everyone has access to good, clean, and fair food. They also offer what they call a FARMacy CSA, which offers members fruits and vegetables that meet anti-inflammatory, Candida, and diabetic dietary needs.

Find Stepheni:  Instagram  |   Facebook

Tinia Pina Re-nuble in a garden house food waste
Episode 16: Equal Eating – What does that Mean?

October 20, 2020  •  Food Waste | Nutrition | Sustainability

In 2012 Tinia Pina was volunteering for a SAT prep program in Harlem when she noticed that the food options available to the students — processed and fried — were not feeding them nutritiously to stay alert and the best chance to be productive.

She saw an opportunity use a waste stream as a way to catalyze a more sustainable growing near the urban areas to create Re-nuble, headquartered in New York City, and enable farms to transform Food Waste into Plant-Based Fertilizer for Soilless Cultivation.

“We just want to do what’s right for everyone….I’m in this business to get people to think and do differently for the benefit of the environment, for the benefit of people in nourishing ourselves.”

Find Tinia:  Instagram  |   Facebook  |   Twitter  |  LinkedIn

Kyle Dine
Episode 15: Equal Eating – What does that Mean?

October 15, 2020  •  Food Allergies | Catering | Event Planning

Kyle Dine is an internationally trusted food allergy advocate, educator and performer. Having severe allergies himself and having “married into” celiac disease, he is very familiar with the struggles of communicating his dietary needs to people who are responsible for making and/or ordering food for him at restaurants and events.

What amazes me are the lengths, that people will go to, especially adults with food allergies…to not get embarrassed because of their food allergy.

After experiencing the worst food allergy reaction of his life in 2005, he decided to begin helping other food allergic individuals avoid anaphylactic reaction like his by spreading food allergy awareness and education through music.

Find Kyle:  Instagram  |   Facebook  |   Website

Dianne Davis Tulnet Eating at a Meeting
Episode 14: Planning Events When you have a Life Threatening Food Allergy

October 13, 2020  •  Food Allergies | Catering | Event Planning

Dianne Davis owns an event planning business in Tulsa, OK that plans and executes events all across North America and the islands for corporations and associations. One of their specialties is doing events in nontraditional spaces.

With a life-long allergy to tree nuts and medically-required avoidance to peanuts since the age of 4, she does not know what a peanut butter sandwich tastes like.

“None of us that have this kind of allergy want to have this kind of allergy….I don’t want to be made a big deal of, but it’s so serious that we don’t have a choice.”

In this episode, Dianne and I chat about the seriousness of food allergies, lack of safety in events around allergies, cultural and religious preferences, attending events with an allergy and advocating for ourselves.

Find Dianne:  Twitter  |   LinkedIn

Chef Joel Schaffer
Episode 13: Celebrating & Cooking Foods Allergen-free & More

October 6, 2020  •  Food Allergies | Catering | Chefs

Chef Joel Schaffer and his wife Mary are Your Allergy Chefs. They are dedicated to providing tips, guidance, and resources for those with and/or provide food for individuals with food allergies, intolerances and/or other dietary needs.

Using their own personal dietary needs and their culinary training they have create a thriving business educating hotels, chefs, cooks, food manufacturers on how to create delicious and safe food options for guests.

In this episode, Joel talks about how restaurants, catering and food service operators to revamp their menu items to easily accommodate guests with dietary needs. He also shares how best to eat out with dietary needs – great info coming from a chef and as someone with his own dietary needs.

When he started as the Culinary Development and Special Dietary Needs Manager for Walt Disney World Resort they had ~66,000 food allergy requests. Years later, after creating and implementing a process and training for all staff, they were successfully serving over 300,000 food allergy requests.

Find Chef Joel: Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |   LinkedIn

Ruchi Gupta, MD MPH data
Episode 12: Food Allergies are Real

October 6, 2020  •  Food Allergies | Workplace

In her 2019 research, “Prevalence and Severity of Food Allergies Among US Adults” it was found that 1 in every 10 adults has food allergies. Dr. Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH wants to make sure that the general public is aware of food allergies, and food related conditions, how common they are and how significant they are.

These potentially life-threatening conditions should not be taken lightly. In this conversation we talk about the prevalence of food allergies, the need for workplace policies, public awareness, why there are so many food allergies, research and potential cures. Her passion and commitment to help us all is very inspiring.

“How do we make the workplace a place where they feel comfortable and confident and get the support and resources they need to even eat in their environment.”

Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, has more than 16 years experience as a board-certified pediatrician and health researcher and currently serves as the director of the Center for Food Allergy and Asthma Research (CFAAR), where she is actively involved in clinical, epidemiological, and community-based research. Dr. Gupta is the author of the Food Allergy Experience, has written and co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed research manuscripts and has had her work featured on major TV networks and in print media.

Find Dr. Gupta: Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |   LinkedIn

Chef Nina Curtis
Episode 11: The Responsibility of Cooking for Others

October 1, 2020  •  Food Allergies | Vegan | Food Transparency

Nina Curtis is Adventist Health, Roseville Campus Vitaliz Café and Culinary Arts department director and executive chef.

Recently named America’s Top Hospital Chef, Nina Curtis is passionate about cooking for others, putting love into every meal she makes because she is honored that people trust her to cook for them. There is a lot of responsibility cooking for others. As a chef means to compassionately work to service food items, provide food menus and engage guests with the highest form of presentation that meets most all guests’ food needs; allergens, preferences, and more.

When attending events herself, she is amazed by the lack of creativity, thought and care that goes into making a vegan dish:

“Think about it… what is going to be sat in front of me…as a professional chef, ‘Is this the best that you could do?'”

Her culinary career over the last 20 years includes working with The Ranch at Live Oak, Malibu, the Marriott Group, Hilton Hotels, Baxters, Manhattan Beach, the El Caballo, Oakland, Pure Food and Wine in New York, and the Springs Restaurant and Wine Bar in Los Angeles. She presents lectures and demonstrations on health, nutrition, and whole foods around the world. She has developed wellness training programs, set up kitchen operations, and has worked closely in conjunction with culinary master gardeners to develop seasonal garden-to-table recipes that are essential to having a delicious plant-strong culinary experience.

In this episode, Chef Nina and I chatted about plant-based eating, food safety and the responsibility she holds in making food for others.

Find Chef Curtis:   Instagram   |  Website  |  thrive! interview

Chef Curtis’ Suggested Resources: Nutritional Facts  |  Pulses  |  Oldways Whole Grains Council:

Colleen Kavanagh ZEGO Foods
Episode 10: Having Confidence in the Food You Eat

September 29, 2020  •  Food Allergies | FDA | Food Transparency

In May 2020 during and because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which oversees U.S. food regulations, announced temporary flexibility policy regarding certain labeling requirements for foods for humans during COVID-19.

Our mission of bringing more transparency to the food system so people can be their best selves is directly tied with how big and prominent the company can get.

As a food manufacturer that makes superfood-based products, Colleen Kavanagh found of ZEGO Foods does testing and set quality standards for 400+ agricultural pesticides and toxins in the ingredients so that their products support the long-term health of our family and planet. The facility is also free from the top 13 allergens — peanut, tree nuts, milk (dairy), soy, egg, fish, shellfish, mollusks, sesame, lupin, sulfites, mustard, wheat — and no corn or corn derivatives are used on equipment, packaging or processing aids.

In this episode, Colleen and I chatted about the FDA regulation and what it means to food production and safety for individuals with dietary needs.

Find Aimee & Jesse:   Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Website  | Twitter

Aimee Francaes Jesse Hassinger Belly of the Beast Restaurant
Episode 9: Comfort Food Mindfully Made

September 22, 2020  •  Food Allergies | Childhood Hunger | Food Equality

Using hyper-locally food, butchering whole animals in-house, solar power, and preserving in-season fruits and vegetables to use throughout the year, Aimee Francaes and Jesse Hassinger owners of Belly of the Beast in Massachusetts feed their community without waste and with foods they can trust, eat and share.

“If we get enough people, or if see that there is a trend or a request for a certain thing, we will find a way to have it be part of the menu.”

Making everything from scratch, they – and their staff – know everything goes into the menu items, how it is prepared and that it is a necessity, they are teaching what it means to be hospitable with the food with they serve. Jesse said, “It is an adventure….I think people to look at like that rather than a burden.” And, Aimee, If you’re not taking things seriously, you are not doing it right.

Plus, with a mission to give back to the community, they are also producing and donating 100 meals a week to the local school system.

“You will never see a tomato on our menu outside of August thru October unless it is pickled.”

Find Aimee & Jesse:   Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Website

Chef Cliff Lyles Revolution Foods Eating at a Meeting
Episode 8: Leaning to Good Foods that Everyone Can Eat

September 22, 2020  •  Food Allergies | Childhood Hunger | Food Equality

Chef Cliff Lyles, Vice President of Culinary Excellence and Product Development at Revolution Foods has traveled all over the world as a chef. One of the things that he has always wanted to do and felt is important is for everyone, in any type of eating environment, to enjoy the food and just have high quality good food to eat.

When he found out about Revolution Foods and their mission, he just had to be a part of it. They didn’t come looking for him. He went looking for them. Now, he and the team at Revolution Foods, which is mission driven to support communities with culturally relevant, healthy meals, are feeding two to three million people a week based on our capacity and where we are throughout the country.

From feeding kids at school, the elderly in nursing homes and helping World Central Kitchen feed front line workers, Chef Lyles is taking his knowledge, skillset and love for feeding people to ensuring that those are who feeding others that “you can feed a person a great, healthy meal on a very tight budget, successfully. You don’t always have to spend a lot of money to do it.”

Cliff is an award-winning chef who specializes in elevating food. From turning airplane meals into a hot commodity to making clean, gluten-free dishes delicious, Chef Cliff is known in the U.S. and abroad for creating high-quality food at scale. Chef Cliff grew up knowing firsthand the impact of childhood hunger while growing up in Midwest.

Find Chef Cliff & Revolution Foods:   Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Lianne Mandelbaum advocates for airline companies to keep food allergic patients safe
Episode 7: Making Air Travel Safe for People with Food Allergies

September 18, 2020  •  Food Allergies | Air Travel | Epinephrine

Lianne Mandelbaum founded No Nut Traveller in 2013 after a negative flight experience that she encountered with her son. She speaks at conferences nationwide and encourages individuals with food allergies to share their travel stories both positively and negatively, to reach out to legislators and help them create policies that help individuals with food allergies.

Lianne is passionate about educating the general public on what it’s like to live with a food allergy and is on a mission to make the skies more accommodating for those with food allergies.

“When did food become more important than a person’s mental and physical well-being?”

Policies, labeling, transparency, personal responsibility, auto injectors, cleaning, training, emergency in the air, Lianne talks about the business opportunity airlines have to create a safe and inclusive travel experience.

Through her website, social media and advocacy efforts Lianne has helped change the lives of so many people with food allergies when they travel.

Find Lianne: Website  |  Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Mark Cooper IACC
Episode 6: Meeting Room of the Future 

September 15, 2020  •  Dietary Needs | Sustainability | Event Design

Almost 90 percent of event organizers say that food and beverage is a key part of the meeting design and event experience. Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC delves into the 2020 IACC Meeting Room of the Future™ report sharing how organizers and venues have a greater appetite for using food and beverage to positively affecting the senses, engaging and contributing to local communities and looking after attendees dietary needs to create experiences that are unforgettable.

The IACC Meeting Room of the Future report combines research and insights into the top issues facing the global meetings and conference industry. The 2020 IACC Meeting Room of the Future™ report brings together insights from meeting and conference venues, hotels and urban conference venues across 3 continents, as well as suppliers including global meeting space designers, architects, technology companies, furniture manufacturers and nutrition experts.

Find Mark & IACC: Website  |  Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Emily Brown Food Equality Initiative food pantry food policy
Episode 5: Food Equality: Increasing Access to Free-from Foods

September 10, 2020  •  Food Allergies | Equality

Food Equality Initiative has seen a 300% Increase in service requests as a result of COVID-19. There was need before the pandemic, but it has magnified the need. Eighteen percent of individuals who are visiting food pantries will be visiting them for the first time. The systems the US has in place for vulnerable families with food insecurity are failing the families with special dietary needs. The food is not there. They do not have adequate policies for distribution. From sharing the price differences in the cost of free-from food items to how she is advocating for families who are food insecure, Emily Brown, founder and CEO of Food Equality Initiative, explains how there is a gap in the safety net to assist food insecurity for those in need.

Find Food Equality Iniative: Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Chef Murray Hall | eating at a meeting
Episode 4: Expectations Have Changed – The Vegan Meal had be as Good or Better Than the (animal) Protein meal.

September 8, 2020  •  Food Allergies | Sustainability | Seasonal

Chef Murray Hall of Dolce Hotels & Resorts talks about he incorporates local and seasonal ingredients into his menus to meet the demands of consumers wanting to know from where their food comes while balancing budgets for his clients. He also shares how he is creating menu items to make them vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free — ensuring the flavor remains — to make meals more plant-forward while also reducing the number of specialized plates, and offering something unique for the event and property.

Find Chef Murray Hall : Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  IACC  |  Website

Mary Vargas head shot blue shirt water background civil rights
Episode 3: What Equal Access for Food Allergic & Celiac Guests Means

September 3, 2020  •  Food Allergies | Inclusion | Disabilities | ADA

What does equal access look like for those with disabilities, including those with medically-necessary dietary needs (food allergies, celiac disease, cancer) mean for meeting planners and food service providers? Mary Vargas talks about culture misconceptions about having a disability…a major life impairment. She wants everyone to know they have a right to equal access. How to create a safe, inclusive and “like” food and beverage experience? It does mean someone sits a room with nothing to eat while everyone else eats.

Mary Vargas is an attorney who does nationwide impact litigation on behalf of individuals with disabilities including those with food allergies, celiac disease and non-celiac gluten Sensitivity. She is a founding partner at Stein & Vargas, LLP.

Find Mary:  Website  |  Facebook

Ben Chapman standing in front of a brick wall
Episode 2: Food Safety – What do Meeting Planners Need to Know?

September 1, 2020  •  Food Safety | COVID-19

At the “onset” of COVID-19 shut-down, Tracy chatted with Ben Chapman, food safety specialist, extension specialist and professor at North Carolina State University on what and how meeting organizers should be concerned about as it relates to food safety in general and with the coronavirus.
From cleaning and sanitizing, seating, service methods (everyone touching the tongs), standard operating procedures, time and temperature control, food sourcing, health inspection scores and more, Ben spends almost 55 minutes sharing his insights on how to be and provide a safe food and beverage experience.

Erin Malawer
Episode 1: Food Allergy: A Real World Perspective on What they are and what its like to live with them

August 29, 2020  •  Food Allergies | Inclusion

Food allergies don’t go on vacation. “This is life.” And so it makes living day to day very different having to manage the condition. Erin Malawer, Executive Director of AllergyStrong, CEO of Allergy Health, and founder of the blog Shmallergy talks about how she does it all the time, no matter where her family is, no matter where they go and how she is helping other individuals and families as well as the medical community, understand how their patients live with the diagnosis.

Find Erin:  Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Tracy Stuckrath pink jacket
Welcome to Eating at a Meeting

August 29, 2020  •  Nutrition | Inclusion

Tracy Stuckrath launches the Eating at a Meeting podcast, explaining how she got here and what she will focusing on with the interviews and information provided in each show.