About our Board

Slow Food SouthWest Florida Board Members

David Rashty


Chef de Cuisine at Jacks Farm to Fork at the Pink Shell Resort & Marina, Chef Rashty also serves as a board member for the American Culinary Federation, a Local Leader for Chefs Collaborative, and has recently partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program which helps consumers and businesses make mindful choices for healthy oceans

  • Chef’s Collabrative 60%
  • Healthy Oceans 29%
  • Volunteerism 9%

Pyro Rodriguez

Vice President

Chef Pyro Rodriguez opened Pyro’s Creations in February 2011 in Naples. The company specializes in fine dining, weddings, holiday and corporate events, in addition to offering cooking lessons. Chef Pyro was trained at the Institute of Culinary Training in New York City and has worked at a L’Absinthe, Tao, and Aquavit in New York as well as Absinthe, La Playa, Pure and Crave Culinaire in Naples. He is heading up Slow Food Southwest Florida’s Chef Corps.

  • Truffles 80%
  • Saffron 19%
  • Okra 1%

Kristina San Fillipo

Treasurer/Ag education

As the chef instructor for culinary classes at The Good Life of Naples cookware store, Chef Kristina San Filippo uses locally sourced and sustainably harvested ingredients to present healthful and creative recipes that any home cook can conquer for delicious meals.

  • Teaching others how to use available foods 40%
  • Dog Lover 40%
  • Wine 20%

Courtney Fraser


Vice President of the Institute for Culinary Awareness, Research & Education, Ms.Fraser has long been a proponent of locally produced food. Most recently, she and her husband purchased a farm in Buckingham where they raise livestock and fresh produce in an effort to be closer to their food.

  • Clean Fair Food 60%
  • Educational Programs 29%
  • Supporting local community enrichment projects 9%

Janet Blanchard

Secretary and Farm, Market and Producer Relations

Janet has been getting Southwest Floridians back into their kitchens for home cooked meals for several years and is now plying her wares at Neighborhood Organics in North Naples as owner of My Dinner Factory and as co-owner to the Neighborhood Organics, Janet brings a wealth of knowledge about Florida’s market regulations and cottage industry policies. She will help in our educational efforts and as an advisor liaison between producers, markets, and the public.

  • Ravioli 25%
  • Beach 50%
  • Kids 25%

Gina Birch

Fort Myers Region

Gina has worked in various media outlets for the last 22 years; Radio, TV, magazines and newspapers. Her passion for music, travel, food and wine has gelled into a freelance career where she can follow her heart and her tastebuds to each new adventure. With Slow Food Southwest Florida she works to showcase the talent of our local chefs while highlighting the bounty of our local products and producers.

  • Travel- to learn and attempt to dispel the “tacky American myth 35%
  • Friends, Family, Colleagues 35%
  • Food and Wine and the Perfect Paring 30%

Julie Glenn

Naples Region

Julie Glenn is a freelance writer in Estero who holds a Master’s Degree from Slow Food’s University of Gastronomic Sciences in Colorno, Italy. She’s been a devotee of the Slow Food movement since she first heard of it in the early nineties and looks forward to making our Southwest Florida Convivium into a local resource to get good, clean, and fair food to all.

  • Writing 5%
  • Having Written 80%
  • New Wine Discoveries 15%

Ken Ryan

Community and School Gardens

Not a computer fan, Ken Ryan (or Farmer Ken as many call him) is a man of the earth whose Herban Gardens supplies the area’s best restaurants with carefully grown and nurtured greens and vegetables. The winner of the 2014 Innovative Farmer Award from the University of Florida’s Small Farms Focus team, Ken started his farming life in New Hampshire in the mid 80’s. Now in his 14th year in North Fort Myers growing 100% of his produce in containers, Ken’s micro-greens, herbs, and edible flowers are carried only by the best chefs who care about quality local ingredients. Otherwise, Ken wouldn’t sell to them! He will be our guide as we work to add school and community gardens throughout Southwest Florida.


  • Farming Herbs 50%
  • Farming Fruit 25%
  • Farming Veggies 25%

Lyset Zelaya

Naples Region

Lyset Zelaya is the worlds’ least intimidating sommelier at the renowned SeaSalt Restaurant in Naples.  Her credentials include Certified Sommelier by the Master Court of Sommeliers and  Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators. She is also a budding gardener, which presents challenges to the uninitiated in Southwest Florida. Her passion for fresh local ingredients is what led her to enthusiastically join our board where she will help lead educational outreach efforts and events in the Naples area.

  • Aged Barolo, Barbaresco and Bordeaux 33.3%
  • Finding the first veggies in the garden 33.3%
  • Bees and Ladybugs 33.3%



Jill Backman

Fund Raising – Events


  • Food events 85%
  • Local Gardens 70%
  • Volunteering 50%

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