We have surrounded ourselves with expert advisors to bring you safe, delicious, nutritious foods that we feel great about feeding to our kids and hope you do too.
Rupa Mahadevan, MD FAAP
Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Northwestern Medicine
Dr. Mahadevan completed a specialized fellowship in Integrative Medicine through the University of Arizona after her pediatric training which sparked her passion to educate and promote wellness in children. Prior to medical school, Rupa worked as a nutrition counselor, and she is passionate about educating parents how to cook healthy meals for their children. She has her own blog promoting wellness in kids which you can find at www.kidchendoc.com or you can follow her on instagram at @kidchendoc
“I believe ‘Food is Medicine’ and I try to incorporate nutrition-based counseling during all of my pediatric clinic visits. I am also one of the ‘Cooking up Health’ facilitators offered at a Chicago based medical school. My research interests include mindfulness-based therapies for children exposed to toxic stress, culinary medicine, as well as reducing physician burn out through wellness. In my free time, I enjoy yoga, cooking, and traveling.
I became involved with lil’gourmets because when I first met Shibani her enthusiasm was contagious. As a mother and an entrepreneur, she had a passion for building a brand that was healthy and trust worthy.
There are so many baby food companies on the market but after I tried all her products, I was sold at the first taste! The purees are rich with nutrients and burst with flavor at every bite. I really like the HPP preservation process as well as her strong desire to make sure every product tastes fresh and like real vegetables and fruits. The spices work to enhance the flavors instead of masking them. As a pediatrician, I always promote homemade blends and her products taste like they were made in your kitchen!”
Certified Clinical Nutritionist
Marcy completed her MBA from Northwestern University and her Master of Science in Human Nutrition at the University of Bridgeport. She is passionate about helping people address their health needs through nutrition.
“Being a nutritionist is my third career—number one was my financial career, number two was a full-time mom. As a mother of three grown children, my interest in the foods they ate started during my first pregnancy. I learned the importance of whole foods to support not only basic health but also to reach the developmental milestones.
Because available options for baby food mainly involved highly processed and high sugar products, I chose to make my own. However, when we were on the run, I settled for the best prepared baby food options available. If only lil’gourmets existed back in the 1990s!
I’m excited to be involved with lil’gourmets because they provide nutrient dense, flavorful, convenient food choices for your child. They understand the importance of creating food that is natural, not overly sweetened with fruit, and not heat processed. Heat processing depletes the nutrients and flavor in our food so they are often synthetically added back in (enriched). All of the ingredients in lil’gourmets contribute to your child’s health and development. Teaching your children healthy habits and developing their tastes for vegetables, herbs and spices will set them on a path of wellness as they grow.”
Jane V. Leland, Ph.D.
Food/Flavor/Taste Science Consultant
Dr. Leland is an international food industry leader with over thirty years of taste, flavor, and food research and development experience. She formed Leland Global Enterprises LLC after retiring in 2015 from Kraft Foods, where she rose to the position of Technology Fellow in recognition of her technical and organizational leadership, pioneering R&D partnerships to address challenging food/public health concerns such as sodium and sugar reduction, and track record of building strong results and relationships across cultures and geographies.
She is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, and past chair and current executive committee member for their Agricultural & Food Chemistry Division. She has also served as a U.S.D.A. research panel reviewer and Advisor to the Cornell Institute of Food Systems.
Leland holds a B.S. in Food Science from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in Flavor Chemistry from University of Minnesota. She currently consults primarily with small to medium for-profit and non-profit organizations. In her free time, Jane loves to travel and is a Chamber & Orchestral string musician.
“I’m excited about being involved with lil’gourmets so we can bring uniquely spiced fresh vegetable-based nutrition to babies. And excited for the opportunity to help bring an entrepreneur’s dream to life.”
Executive Chef, Product Developer & Recipe Innovator
Suzanne Florek’s professional life has been influenced by her passion for good food and its power to create moments of personal connection. This passion is both the inspiration and driving force behind her distinguished culinary career as a 5-star executive chef. After earning degrees in both business (from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business) and culinary arts (from The Culinary Institute of America), Suzanne’s career launched at the famed Chicago restaurant, Spiaggia, where she worked her way up to the position of Executive Chef.
Since then, Suzanne has developed her own culinary consultancy and has researched and developed new food products for both independent food companies and Fortune 500 clients. From 2016-2018, Suzanne ran her own restaurant and retail location, Salty Fig, in Western Springs, Illinois. As owner, chef, and operator of Salty Fig, Suzanne developed incredible menus and led a diverse culinary team of 30. Suzanne joined lil’gourmets in 2019 as our product development expert and recipe innovator. She is the creative mind behind the development of our latest global flavors, which are as healthy as they are delicious.
When she’s not whipping up new taste combinations for lil’gourmets, Suzanne lives in Western Springs, Illinois with her husband Anthony, enjoying spending time with him and their three sons, who live nearby.
“I joined lil’gourmets because children are happier, healthier and more confident when they are exposed to the world. Spices, flavors and organic vegetables are an important part of opening their eyes. Aside from being smart, amazing women, Shibani and Becky have a fabulous vision that I enjoy being part of, pushing the boundaries of prepared vegetables into a world of flavor!”