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Around the Table: Episodes 3 & 4 Recap

Around the Table is an original collaborative broadcast, aired Live on our Facebook page and YouTube channel. ATT pulls together esteemed panelists that discuss topics ranging from healthy eating, the importance of community, balances within the mind and body, and how Plates as a platform can assist Diners and Chefs in leading healthier, happier lifestyles. Hosted by Rich “Ace” Akullian, episodes Three and Four of the series opened the doors to diverse and inspirational discussions.

Episode 3: Starting Fresh

This episode was all about starting fresh. These are unprecedented times, but Rich and the panelists assured us that we can all make a difference in our lives on both micro and macro levels. 

Rich went around the table introducing each panelist, starting with Doug McGuire, a previous worker for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Doug has spent 30 years living abroad and has settled on the Eastern end of Long Island where he aims to bring sustainable livelihood and natural resources to the community. The next panelist was Gia Golinello, an integrated nutrition health coach from the New York metropolitan area. Gia has previously run a vegan chocolate business, and presently spends her days as a motivational coach keeping her clients active and healthy during quarantine. 

The third panelist was Marie-Pierre Dillenseger; a Master of Chinese Metaphysics and an author in the process of writing her second book. Marie-Pierre is originally from France and now lives on The Cape in Massachusetts. 

After introductions, the discussions began.

First Course: Fresh Wounds

Rich opened the conversation with the shocking fact that nearly 54 million Americans are witnessing food insecurity due to COVID-19, whether it be from unemployment or inaccessibility to the food they need. The panel assured the audience that although we are in unprecedented times, we should take this opportunity to look at what connects our food system. Having connectivity between the food source and the consumer should be top priority. The challenges we are facing today are new, but present us with opportunities for change. 

Second Course: Fresh Thinking

On the topic of change, the panelists further discussed how to harness and implement new behaviors. This included setting new health goals, thinking outside the box, connecting more with your community, and remembering that it is a marathon, and not a sprint. Change will continue to happen for everyone right now, but connecting your mind and body to move in a new direction starts at home.

Third Course: Fresh Opportunities

The discussion wrapped up with great ways to start fresh. The advice passed around the table included connecting to one another locally, making use of downtime, and keeping yourself as healthy as possible overall. Gia left us off with some ways to meal prep using real, fresh ingredients, before leading us in a discussion during the Dessert. 

Dessert: Make Your Bed, by Admiral William H. McRaven

Gia had finished reading this novel and decided to share some key pieces of advice with the Plates family. Her tips are as follows: 

Make your bed: start your day with a task completed and we will be more productive.

You can’t go it alone: people need others to lean on for support. 

Show up, even in the darkest moments: we must show up for others, but also for ourselves when we need it the most. 

If you want to change the world, never ring the bell: we must show up continuously for ourselves, but no one else can do our work for us. 

The show ended with Rich’s gratefulness for the featured panelists and the wisdom they shared with the audience. He reminded everyone to stay tuned for the following episode, episode 4, which aired the following week. 

Episode 4: Building Healthier Neighborhoods

The episode began by introducing our three panelists alongside host, Rich Akullian. The first panelist was Plates’ very own Reza Mahdavi, CEO and Founder of the company, joining us from The Cape. Next, we had Jean-Claude, a chef and yoga instructor from London. Jean-Claude has previously been featured in a Chef Spotlight on the Plates blog and was welcomed back with open arms. 

Last but not least, we had Mary Morgan from Drawdown East End, joining us from Long Island, NY. Together the panelists led conversations that drew on healthy lifestyles, community, and drawing neighborhoods together.

First Course: Start With You

The conversation opened up with an acknowledgement to the ongoing pandemic and its influences on people everywhere. We were reminded by Reza that as a community we must rely on one another, and that neighbors are an extension of ourselves. We must also rely on the Earth to nurture us and by shopping local we can feel the change in our bodies from having proper nourishment. By starting with ourselves as individuals, we can influence the bigger picture.

Second Course: Helping Others

From an ecological perspective, we can help each other and the world by doing things such as composting instead of discarding our leftovers. Composting reduces the amount of methane gas released into the atmosphere that then reduces the impact on global warming. By reducing food waste, we reduce the harm it causes on our neighbor. This is what makes Plates the successful sharing platform it is, where Chefs can contribute in the fight to end hunger and waste.

Third Course: Making Real Change

A study done about ten years ago had found that only 15% of Americans know how to cook or enjoy cooking at home. Today, that number has dropped down to 10%. These numbers are an astonishing reflection of our food system, and reinforces the importance of cooking at home. To make change happen, we need to get back to the kitchen and start eating food that is locally sourced. It is the solution we all need in order to lead healthier, more nourishing lives.

Dessert: Jean-Claude’s Advice for Improving Overall Health

Jean-Claude gave us a list of five tips on keeping ourselves healthy in the mind and body. Doing so helps us ground ourselves, become better in touch with our bodies, and thus better in touch with one another. His tips are as follows: 

Pay attention to your breath: mindfulness plays a huge role in our lives. Breathing calms everything down and we can start to see life from different perspectives.

Feed the five senses: we are all connected to the elements. In yoga, mudras help connect our body’s energy flow, and the same is replicated when using the elements to cook a meal. Smelling, tasting, and feeling all send us back into the flow state. 

See yourself from the other side: it is important to look at ourselves from a new perspective that comes from a place of compassion, connection, contentment, and love. 

Journal your thoughts and visions: When we lose the flow state, we lose our creativity. Writing thoughts down in the form of words or illustrations helps us stay clear minded and gives us a space to refer back to. 

Create a reminder: It is important to remind ourselves to go back to our breath, the five senses, to see ourselves from the other side, and to journaling. To re-mind is to re-root. 

The episode wrapped up with reminders to think of food as our resource, and to think of Plates as the platform that will help all of us be part of the solution. Having the right intentions will reflect on the foundations of our lives. Good intentions enable us to build, start small, and partake in a greater cause.

Keep an eye out for more episodes soon to come! Follow us on our social media pages; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, and LinkedIn all @joinplates. Keep up to date with our website at where you can access our blog, meet the team, and find more information on how to get started on the Chef and Diner apps.


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