Here’s how Terri McClernon became The Food Fairy.
“For me, a homestead in New York’s Catskills was my Culinary Institute, and a simple Coleman stove was my chef’s station.
“I was a 23-year-old late-blooming hippie. I spent seven years homesteading, building a house, raising our children, gardening, and spending as many as eight hours a day cooking. The land nurtured me, and I nurtured myself by taking advantage of it.
“When I moved to the Triangle in 1996, I appreciated all the area had to offer. And I looked around and saw people doing important and worthwhile things, but needing to be nourished and nurtured with healthy and home-cooked meals. So I’ve become a personal chef, which is almost like becoming part of the family.
“Now I get to make a difference in people’s lives every day. I serve a main course of sunshine – with a side order of happiness!”
Meet Our Food Fairies
Jan Coerper (NC)
Karin Crippen (NC)
Whitney Dane (NC)
Karen Ferguson (NC)
Julia McClernon (NC)
Becket Royce McGough (NC)
Jason Powers (NC)
Krystal Rosso-Feren (NC)
Leigh Sparacino (NC)
Amanda Stonehouse (NC)
“I couldn’t be happier to have these wonderful fairies flying around kitchens all over the country!” ~Terri
Jan Coerper ~ Serving Chapel Hill, Carrboro & Durham, Siler City, Pittsboro, NC
I started working for The Food Fairy in 2011 as an intern after completing the Natural Chef Course at Central Carolina Community College. Soon after I began cooking with The Food Fairy, I found I easily relaxed into this role of carefully and lovingly preparing food for people who needed our services. I didn’t know at the time how powerfully this vocation would move me further into nurturing roles. In 2015, still cooking and also studying and exploring Waldorf philosophy & education, I found myself preparing to bring a new little life into this world, “mon petit chou”, if you will. After all, cabbage is my most favorite vegetable!
I live in Pittsboro with my husband, Jeremy and our baby, Rosemary Willow. In our free time, we like to hike, garden and play music together. We savor visits several times a year with our extended families in NY state and Virginia.
Karin Crippen ~ Serving Chapel Hill, Carrboro & Durham, NC
My food journey, (love for eating as well as cooking), began when I was young. I grew up in Petersburg, Alaska a town settled by Norwegians in the early 1900’s. My mother subscribed to the adage that butter made everything better, one that any “true” Scandinavian will attest to! Every season brought a little something different to the table depending on what was readily available, salmon, Petersburg shrimp, halibut, blueberries, rhubarb and at Christmas a bounty of Scandinavian treats made with butter of course!
From the age of 12 till about 4 years ago I would periodically find myself agreeing to be crew on either my dad’s purse seiner or my brother’s boat. Many of those summer’s I did double duty as cook, a job practically no one wanted! Creating good meals on a boat can be a challenge with bad weather, lack of sleep and only little slices of time available to prepare. Anyone can heat up a pot of beans and bake a salmon fillet, but cooking meals that bring up crew morale is a must!
When my husband and I moved to North Carolina to be near my oldest daughter and her family my food horizons expanded exponentially! Part time employment as a kitchen lead has offered a wealth of exposure to great chefs in the triangle area. I enjoy working with them, learning their particular techniques as well as standard procedures for baking and cooking great meals. I hope to continue to pass on some of these meals to my clients in my position as a Food Fairy as well. Many thanks to Terri for taking me on and helping me further along on my food journey!
Whitney Dane ~ Serving Chapel Hill, Carrboro & Durham, Apex, Moncure, Siler City, Pittsboro, NC
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.
I desired to return to my roots in North Carolina and in doing so I have been working intimately with local herbalists, farmers, beekeepers, mycologists, foragers and other food industry philosophers. I strive to use my unique skill set to integrate these traditions and elevate our food consciousness on the whole.
In 2012 I came to work with The Food Fairy for three years and ceased due to the imminent arrive of my twin boys in 2015. I am returning now on a very part-time basis so I may continue creating culinary delights for our clients and still have time and energy enough to care for and feed my family….husband Ben and my three sons – Jack and twin toddler boys, Hugh and Cosmo.
In my spare time, scare as it may be, I enjoy teaching kids and adults to cook, offering workshops through Abundance NC, The Eco Institue at Pickards Meadow, Midway Community Kitchen & I was a panelist in Chapel Hill’s 2016 Terra Vita Festival. I’m truly happy to be back in the fairy-fold!
Karen Ferguson ~ 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 to feed, I replaced most of the canned and processed ingredients that my mom used with fresh vegetables and home-made breads and desserts.
My first big challenge came about 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. The challenge was 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, even cheesecake all tasted great!
About ten years ago I faced my own health challenges and began cooking gluten-free vegan meals, again adapting traditional recipes from various ethnic origins. By the way, I do still cook traditional favorites the ‘old fashion’ way for those who wish. I have 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 gives me the opportunity to be creative and give the gift of nourishment to those who reach out to us.
Julia ~ Serving The Triangle and beyond, NC
I have been cooking for as long as I can remember. My mother, Terri (The Food Fairy), began teaching me how to cook and bake when I was around three years old. I think there is a picture of me from that time standing on a chair making chocolate chip cookies. Most of my family also loves to cook, so our holiday family meals are generally prepared by the whole group. Some of my favorite memories have been spent in the kitchen. During the summers of late middle and high school, I worked sporadically for The Food Fairy–often waitressing at parties, or even doing food preparation and pattering. Once I went to college, I gained a reputation as the resident chef among my friends. I often made elaborate dinners for groups of friends because cooking is actually a way I manage stress. I could often be found “stress baking” near the end of each semester as exams drew closer. Shortly after graduating, I landed a good job in the corporate world. After three years, I realized that I was sacrificing my happiness in the pursuit of what I thought I needed to do to be “successful” by traditional standards. I was advised to find something that I would do for free and turn it into my employment. The answer came easily to me, but it still took another year to take the leap out of my corporate job and into The Food Fairy. I resumed working for The Food Fairy in February, 2016, and I’ve never had a career that fulfills me and nourishes me like this one. It’s truly a joy to wake up each day and know that it isn’t work if you love it!
Becket Royce McGough ~ Serving The Triangle and beyond, NC
My first real memory of cooking was making cookies for my bus driver, Mr. Taconi, and beating the batter beyond submission. This was my introduction to the concept of “mix only until ingredients are blended.” I remember my mother taking a bite and commenting “The poor man, he’ll break a tooth.”
Things have gotten considerably better since then. I’ve studied cooking at Peter Kump’s in NY and Le Cordon Bleu in London. I owned The General Store Café in Pittsboro. I have worked in the kitchens of Miss Fork Catering (Reading, MA), The Open Kitchen (Weston, MA), The Catering Company and Windy Oaks Inn (both Chapel Hill) and, now, The Food Fairy. Terri took me under her wing (pun intended, I’m afraid) and gave me the skills I needed to be a personal chef. I worked almost full-time as a Food Fairy for nearly five years. Since 2013, I have focused more on my other career as a voice over artist by working in a recording studio and recording audio books. I have remained with The Food Fairy, however, as the Scheduling Fairy and most recently I’m double winging it as bookkeeper as well!
Jason Powers ~ Serving Silk Hope, Siler City, Pittsboro, Apex, Cary, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Durham, NC
I came to the Food Fairy in a rather circuitous fashion. After attending college at Appalachian State and Guilford College and earning a degree in Sociology and Anthropology, I found myself employed in the corporate world and reporting to an office five days a week. While the work was sufficient to provide for my family and myself, it did not allow me to engage my creativity or give to others in the way I had always imagined I could. In the fall of 2016, I left the office and a few months later came to work for the Food Fairy – her first male employee ever!
I live in the Silk Hope Community with my wife Elizabeth and our young daughter Eleanor. We have a wonderful community and share our gardens, bread, livestock and labor with one another. We are truly fortunate.
I have a great deal of interest and experience in whole animal butchery and charcuterie, a unique skill set for The Food Fairy. I’ve dug pits and roasted whole pigs as well as have experience with grill-top Carolina Barbecue. I’m very much enjoy creating and serving NC Seafood Boils which I have done for family and friends on multiple occasions. I love ethnic food and the experience and challenge of creating delicious meals for folks on unusual or restricted diets. I am always ready to dive into a new recipe! I look forward to working with clients to find foods that satisfy their needs and desires.
Krystal Rosso-Feren ~ Serving The Triangle and beyond, NC
I worked with The Food Fairy from 2003 until 2008 when, still having young children, I left to work with them in a preschool setting. In 2013 with my three children, fully fledged elementary, middle and high school students, I flew back to The Food Fairy. Now I get to do what I love professionally–help families cope with their dietary needs and challenges by creating delicious meals that meet all their individual personal or medical food requirements. I enjoy working in any environment whether surrounded by children and pets or in a quiet home as long as I can share my gifts while nourishing your family!
When I am not a food fairy I spend the rest of my days as a wife and mom who loves to watch our children in their sports and arts activities and rejoice in their academic achievements. My husband and I enjoy dining out at a myriad of different ethnic restaurants and I am also an avid reader when time permits. I really love the challenge of trying out new recipes for my family that sound as though they could never work but know in my “food heart” they will be amazing and often they are! I take great pleasure in providing nourishing meals for my family and also for yours!
Krystal is unhesitatingly testing out a new recipe, Chocolate Covered Bacon on a Stick. Together with her teen son, Gavin, they created an easier version of this tempting food combination. Get the recipe here!
Leigh Sparacino ~ Serving Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Durham, Raleigh, Pittsboro, NC
I grew up right down the road in Durham, NC, watching my mother cook from scratch every day and my father make our family’s yogurt and granola every Saturday. Typical of many young people, I moved away from North Carolina and found satisfaction in other endeavors.
Years later, returning to my roots back in the Triangle, I gradually realized I loved being in the kitchen, cooking with love just as my family had shown me all throughout my childhood. Intent on following this passion, I began to attract cooking and catering jobs. I enjoyed a variety of jobs from farm lunches for 20 at Pickards Mountain Eco-Institute to preparing strictly macrobiotic meals for a family in Chapel Hill.
I also love baking almost anything sweet, and enjoy eating it as well! I find great pleasure and fulfillment menu-planning for events for some of my most creative moments are sparked by such needs. Also the creativity and 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 16 year-old 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 Terri, The Food Fairy, and every member of our sweet little company. I feel fortunate to be able to work with and meet so many warm, wonderful, and supportive chefs as well as clients every week.
Amanda Stonehouse ~ Serving Raleigh area, NC
I learned to cook from my mother who made everything from scratch. Now, with my own family, I enjoy cooking, too. I like to try new recipes from other cooks and online resources. Over the years, my husband has come to enjoy vegetables that he thought he didn’t like. I also cook because I think that family dinners are so important for healthy communication and healthy bodies.
I started working with the Food Fairy in 2014. My foster girls had left our house and my own girls were getting older. I love to help other families to be able to sit at night with each other and enjoy a yummy, healthy meal.