About us

A Note from

Terri McClernon, (she/her) Owner and Founder of The Food Fairy®

As a young adult, I was a late-blooming hippie who spent seven years homesteading, building a house, raising children, gardening, and spending as many as eight hours a day cooking. A homestead in New York’s Catskills was my Culinary Institute, and a simple Coleman stove was my chef’s station. The land nurtured me, and I nurtured myself with everything the land had to offer.

When I moved to the Chapel Hill area with my three children in 1996, I immediately fell in love with the area. I met wonderful people who were doing important, worthwhile things but often lacked nourishment and nurturing. I had held onto an article about a personal chef association that a friend had cut out of the newspaper and given to me when I was still in New York. I took another look and thought to myself, “I can do this. I want to do this.”

I became a personal chef, which is almost like becoming part of the family. Now we have a gaggle of food fairies and we all get to make a difference in people’s lives every day, doing what we love. Every Food Fairy® serves a main course of love and sunshine, smothered in happiness!
The Food Fairy®

Introducing the Food Fairy® family....

Amanda ~ Serving Raleigh, NC area

I'm one of the Raleigh Food Fairies and started working for the Food Fairy in 2014. Actually, I'm also one of the rare Raleigh natives! I learned to cook from my mother who made everything from scratch. I enjoy cooking in the same way as my mother but I also have learned so much more from working with the other food fairies. Cooking for my own family has brought me deep pleasure although now my family is getting smaller as most of my daughters have grown up and left home. My husband and I spend some free time as advocates for foster and adoptive families, encouraging and supporting them through the myriad of processes.To tend to my own health I truly enjoy running, swimming and biking, depending on the weather, of course! I am especially drawn to the health power of food for individuals and families. In my family, sitting down and eating together has been a great way for us to slow down and connect with each other while enjoying good, wholesome food. Family dinners are important not only for healthy bodies but also healthy communication. I like to help other families do the same

Anna ~ Serving Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Knightdale, Durham, Chapel Hill

My food journey began while growing up in the piedmont region of North Carolina with a large garden that harvested everything imaginable. I remember our front yard being taken over by pumpkins as if we lived in a magical pumpkin patch! I loved to eat raw spinach from the garden with grated parmesan cheese, olive oil, and vinegar. My first job was at a small diner when I was 15 and every job I’ve had since then has involved food. When I was 21, I moved to Raleigh and enrolled in culinary school at our local community college. My passion for food and traveling began to merge as I developed an ever-expanding palate for tastes and flavors. I worked as a personal chef right out of culinary school while still working in restaurants. My love for cooking inspired me to share my passion and bring healthy and delicious food into homes for busy families. I began teaching as a Chef Instructor at Sur La Table in Durham in 2013. Within a year, I was promoted to Resident Chef and ran the program as if it was my own restaurant! I reveled in my newfound ability to mentor other chefs in manifesting delicious food through their love of cooking. After having my daughter in 2016, I was contracted to develop recipes for a health and wellness website and studied to be a health lifestyle coach and wellness advocate. I enjoy being a Chef Instructor and a Food Fairy®, helping others live a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Gwen (She/Her) ~ Serving Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Pittsboro, Durham

When I came home for my first summer after my freshman year at UNCW, I waited tables at Margaret’s Cantina. Right away, I was exhilarated by the atmosphere, bustling vibe, the quirky people, the delicious food and aromas, and the lifestyle. After college, I spent 10 months as a volunteer in AmeriCorps. With time to reflect on my true passions, I realized I wanted a career in food. I fell in love with Michael, an old friend who shared my passion, and we decided to make and eat great food together for the rest of our lives. We moved to New York City and both attended the French Culinary Institute. I studied pastry and Michael studied savory. Our dream was to open a restaurant to maximize our specialties. Fast forward to today and here we are in Chapel Hill with a house and a yard, a crazy dog, and two fantastic girls, Ruby Jane and Winnie. Creating a family rather than a restaurant became our primary focus and we have no regrets. I’ve had chef jobs and fantastic experiences around Durham and Chapel Hill, while my job at the cooking school at A Southern Season allowed me to work with incredibly talented chefs from all over the world. Although I’ve enjoyed being pastry chef at great local restaurants, including Bin 54, Jujube, and Mateo, the restaurant scene is not where I want to be. I am thrilled to be able to infuse love into people’s kitchens and nurture folks that need it. I love families… yours and mine! I’ve seen how much joy and connection, laughter, and understanding we get from our family dinners, and I couldn’t be happier to help make that a reality for others.

Karen (She/Her/They/Them) ~ Serving the Charlotte Area

My food journey began as a small child as I often helped my mother, grandmother, and aunt with meal preparation. When I had a family of my own, I replaced most of the canned and processed ingredients that my mom used with fresh vegetables and homemade breads and desserts. I was faced with my first big challenge when my daughter, then a toddler, developed asthma and a severe case of eczema. The cure for her was dietary with the removal of dairy, poultry, eggs, and tomatoes, so we had to adapt our family’s favorite meals to meet her needs. I was amazed at the myriad of ways one can prepare tofu: burgers, lasagna, “chicken-like” nuggets, and even cheesecake all tasted great! When I experienced my own health challenges, I began cooking gluten-free, vegan meals, again adapting traditional recipes from various ethnic origins (although I do still cook traditional favorites the old-fashioned way). I recently expanded my audience beyond my front door and have joined the ranks of personal chefs who shop and cook for others. Being a personal chef with The Food Fairy allows me to be creative and give the gift of nourishment!

Sydney (They/Them) ~ Serving Raleigh, Wake Forest, Durham

My passion for the kitchen started early, thanks to my mother, who is an accomplished baker. From a young age, I learned to associate the making of food with expressions of love and quickly figured out how to hold my own in the kitchen. I asked for an Easy Bake Oven for every birthday and Christmas from age 7 to 11, and never got one! My mother claimed I could use the real oven and didn’t need the toy one. My love of cooking continued to grow. In college, I would watch the Food Network until it switched to paid programming late at night. I learned to cook from the greats – Emeril, Alton Brown, Giada, to name just a few. After college, I did a brief stint in culinary school before a journey that took me to some of the best restaurants in the mid-Atlantic. Working alongside enormously talented chefs, I honed my skills and learned a ton of new techniques, from fermentation to molecular gastronomy. It’s my honor to bring my experience and knowledge to The Food Fairy®, both as manager of the new commercial kitchen and as a chef, working directly with our clients and providing them healthy, delicious, and nourishing meals tailored exclusively to their needs.

Patrick ~ Serving Cary, Apex, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham

My culinary adventure began as a high school student in a culinary arts program. I joined my local chapter of SkillsUSA and not only assisted in multiple competitions, but helped my team win a bronze medal in a front-of-house competition. My culinary class also earned gold in a Chefs Taste event and silver in Chefs Presentation. While attending Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island, I started working as a prep cook for a farm-to-table kitchen and local craft beer bar. On my first-weekend shift, they threw me on the line to cook brunch for over 200 people. After that shift, I found a passion for the culinary industry. The owners took me under their wing and taught me everything they knew so I could hone my skills. This allowed me to develop my creativity and palate and taught me how to overcome the limitations of cooking local, seasonal New England cuisine. I relocated to North Carolina in 2021 to stay close to family. I am excited to bring my passion and experience to The Food Fairy® and the tables of the Triangle’s families.

Leigh ~ Serving Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, Raleigh, Pittsboro, NC

I grew up in Durham, NC, watching my mother cook from scratch every day and my father make our family’s yogurt and granola every Saturday. After moving away for a period of time, I returned to my roots back in the Triangle and came to the realization that I love being in the kitchen, cooking with love as my family had shown me throughout my childhood. Intent on following this passion, I began to attract a variety of cooking and catering jobs, from farm lunches for 20 at Pickards Mountain Eco-Institute to preparing strictly macrobiotic meals for a family in Chapel Hill. I find great pleasure and fulfillment in menu-planning for events, which spark my creativity. The desire to nurture and nourish are deeply fulfilled when preparing meals for people following diets for health concerns such as autoimmune diseases and other chronic conditions. I live in Carrboro with my teenage daughter and two cats. I am a voracious reader, and love traveling within the US, especially to national parks. My sister and I engage in a friendly contest to collect the most National Park stamps in our passbooks! I am grateful to The Food Fairy® and feel fortunate to be able to work with so many warm, wonderful, and supportive chefs and cook for clients every week.

Whitney ~ Social Media Coordinator

I am a dreamer, visionary and a culinary alchemist. A classically trained chef and herbalist, I was raised in the LA farm-to-table movement at the iconic Hollywood restaurant, AMMO, nurturing celebrities and other industry elite. After launching multiple restaurants in New York City, I decided to turn to the private kitchens of my high-profile clients for a time. Since returning to my roots in North Carolina, I’ve been working intimately with local herbalists, farmers, beekeepers, mycologists, foragers and other food industry philosophers. I strive to use my unique skillset to integrate these traditions and elevate food consciousness. As I spend precious kitchen time preparing for and nourishing four hungry gentlemen in my family – husband Ben and three sons, Jack and twins Hugh and Cosmo, I am retiring from The Food Fairy’s client kitchens. Instead, I’m applying my social media experience to help The Food Fairy® build relationships with local residents!

Amelia - personal chef at the Food Fairy Chatham county NC
Amelia (She/Her) ~ Serving Chatham Cty, Cary, Apex, Chapel Hill and anywhere in between

Originally from North Alabama, I have lived in Chatham county since 2014 with my partner and now two small children. I have a passion for seeing food come full circle, from the farm/garden to the table of loved ones. I especially enjoy gathering food from our own garden & preserving it for use at home and in the community. I have a background in guest services and hospitality. My time spent in California as a chef at an exclusive guest ranch in the redwoods of Mendocino county translated into working with farmers & cafes here in North Carolina. I graduated from the Natural Chef program at CCCC in 2015 and have since provided customized meals to families in Chatham Cty. for special occasions & for specific diets. I’m an avid reader and am always eager for our next book club gathering. My other passion is learning about herbal medicines. When I have free time I enjoy visiting botanical gardens across our beautiful state of North Carolina. I understand the importance of and enthusiastically support the nurturing of a connection between our younger generation and our food system. I believe in welcoming everyone to the table.

Whitney MacDonald ~ Serving Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Durham, Efland

After twenty-five years of teaching, I have returned to my culinary roots and joined the Food Fairy. Long ago, I was lucky enough to be trained by a series of excellent chefs with a wide range of styles and skills. Chefs from Thailand, France, and here in the US piqued my curiosity and helped me develop techniques in a variety of cuisines. Over the years I have maintained my love of cooking and been lucky enough to spend extended time working in various parts of the world, expanding my familiarity with many cultures and flavors. Though hard to choose, Chinese, Italian, Central American, and Indian tend to be my favorites. I am also thoroughly familiar with many types of diets, from raw foods to vegan and vegetarian, to low-carb, and gluten-free, to name a few. Most of all, my love of cooking comes from the satisfaction of feeding people healthy, tasty, and nutritious food. I believe food brings us all together and helps us understand each other.