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

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.

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.

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!

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.

Charlotte ~ Serving Durham and parts of Orange County

Food and cooking for others are lifelong passions of mine. My culinary adventure began as a young adult, working in restaurants large and small, fancy and neighborhood spots, in New York City and Minneapolis. I later embarked on a 30-year career with Whole Foods Market where, among other things, I developed weekly special diet-friendly recipes using fresh, in-season ingredients on a budget. Since moving back to my native Durham, NC several years ago, I have enjoyed exploring the rich, diverse food scene that has developed in the Triangle - shopping at our farmer’s markets, meeting purveyors and producers, and reconnecting with old friends over delicious meals. I am passionate about every part of the process - planning, preparing, and sitting down to eat with friends and family - and always have a focus on the freshest and most seasonally available ingredients. I look forward to connecting with new people through the language of food and am thrilled to be part of The Food Fairy team.

Sean ~ Serving Clayton / Raleigh and Surrounding Areas such as Knightdale, Smithfield, Garner and beyond

The culinary world has been a part of my life for quite a while now. I remember as a teen cooking meals for my family, and this interest in food led me to my first job in the fast food industry while in high school. After high school I attended an international culinary college in Maryland, where I learned the ins and outs of the professional cooking/baking world. During my time there, I worked in several different food service concepts including cafes, restaurants, hotels, a conference center, retirement communities, and even on a river boat! My most rewarding experience was working at a residential treatment facility where patients with various eating disorders were cared for through in-person coaching and food therapy. The philosophy was based on the understanding that food is more than just for simple consumption. They emphasized that food nourishes the body, mind, and soul. I also taught weekly cooking classes at the facility - the participants benefited by having more confidence in their food choices and portion sizes. It was uplifting to see clients flourish from recipes I created and to witness them wanting to experience food rather than deny their bodies of the essential nutrients. My work there felt like cooking for my family which I’ve always enjoyed the most. In my spare time my wife and I enjoy taking our two young sons, ages 4 and 10, to play in the ocean. When I am not cooking for my family, or for clients, I relax by playing hockey and pinball games. I moved to North Carolina in 2023 and I continue on this path of creating memorable meals that satisfy more than just the palate. I enjoy the creativity of cooking meals for those wishing to eat gluten-free, low fat, vegetarian or vegan as well as pescatarian and so much more! Being a part of the Food Fairy team is allowing me to share my passion for culinary arts on a more personal level to the homes of families of all sizes; to those that enjoy the special touch that our services offer by bringing family meals to another level.

Taylor ~ Serving Raleigh, Wake Forest, Knightdale, Creedmoor

My journey into the world of flavors began with my childhood fascination for the alchemy of the kitchen. From experimenting with simple recipes to mastering complex culinary cuisines, my passion for cooking has been a dynamic force in shaping my individuality and helping define my purpose. My mother played a huge role in nurturing my love of food and meal preparation. She started teaching me to cook at the age of 3 & the rest was history! While attending UNCC, I had to learn to cook nutritious meals on a college student budget. In the process, I fell in love with making sourdough. I also began to read, watch, and learn everything I could about different cuisines and began to experiment with various dishes to develop a better understanding of flavors.  Wanting to know and learn more about cooking led me to change course toward the study of culinary arts. I love blending innovative dishes and tastes with tradition and crafting menus that tantalize the taste buds and leave a lasting impression. I am beyond delighted to be part of the Food Fairy® team and I can’t wait to touch your life through my food creations.

Chloe ~ Serving Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough & Chatham County

Somehow my mother, a single mother of four, always managed to keep a garden and to serve us home-cooked meals most every night. Because of her dedication my relationship with food has always been adventurous and wholesome. I began cooking my own meals in high school when I decided to try out veganism and I was attending weekly potlucks with friends. My first cookbook was the Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen (a gift from my mother), and I still steal back to it often for inspiration. I was lucky enough to grow up near Manhattan where I was exposed to an infinite variety of cuisines (Ethiopian is my favorite). Surprisingly, I feel lucky to have grown up with scarcity, forcing me to become innovative in the kitchen; working with limited ingredients is definitely where my most creative dishes arise from. I have been studying and practicing different modalities of healthcare since my early twenties, including a high phytochemical food-healing and qi-gong seminar hosted by Jeff Primack, author of Conquering Any Disease. I have been attracted to the healing arts for as long as I can remember. I enjoy reading about Ayurveda, eastern medicine, and folk remedies, which all use food and herbs as the foundation for healing. I believe that food is medicine and the ritual of planting, harvesting, cooking, then coming together for meals is a sacred act which is why I love to cook!

Abbi ~ Serving Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill areas

I am Chef Abbi! Originally from Durham, I am a mother of one child and a feisty chihuahua, a farmer, a chef, and a citizen of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation one of the eight recognized Native American tribes in North Carolina. I studied culinary at Johnson and Wales, and now have over 10 years experience in hospitality and cooking. My love for cooking and creating has pushed me to own and operate our family farm, Handèwa Farms, which allows me to offer farm to table foods. Also with this privilege of farming, I teach children and teens how to grow their own food during our growing seasons. I am a lover of all things art and healing. In my spare time I enjoy exploring the woods and bird watching, as well as reading, researching herbs and plants, and spending time with my family.
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