HUDSON VALLEY, NY — Janet Irizarry, the founder of Hudson Valley Eats, spoke with Brian Brodeur about her latest initiative, “Cooking For A Cause”. Irizarry started Hudson Valley Eats, whose main goal is to “make sure that everyone in the Hudson Valley eats, not just those who can afford it.” 

During the pandemic, it is hard for people to afford their basic necessities, including food. Irizarry is working to help people who are food insecure, by organizing five Zoom classes with five chefs who are popular in the Hudson Valley region, called “Cooking For A Cause.” The money raised goes towards non-profit organizations that help people put food on their tables.

The five classes take place virtually with different chefs cooking a dish of their choice. Attendees can attend a single class or all five. Prior to each class, a recipe and a list of ingredients for the dish to be prepared is sent to participants, as well as a Zoom link. The event is interactive, which allows guests to ask questions and talk with the chefs, including preparing the dishes at home simultaneously. Irizarry said, “I cooked alongside the chef in my own kitchen, and it was so much fun.” 

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Irizarry founded Hudson Valley Eats around three years ago, to “highlight the food entrepreneurs and restaurant owners in our area.” Irizarry also shares her own personal food adventures on the organization’s website. About a year ago, Irizarry was trying to think of a way to make a difference and realized she could use her platform to “make sure that everyone in the Hudson Valley eats and give exposure to those non-profits that are providing food relief.” 

Irizarry also uses her website as a resource to help get people in contact with non-profits that can provide food, find volunteer opportunities, and help raise money for those organizations. “The more people get involved, the more people we can help,” she said.

To learn more about Hudson Valley Eats and “Cooking For A Cause”, or if you are interested in attending a class, visit