Meet the Women Behind Hudson Valley Eats

  Janet Irizarry  

Janet Irizarry is a business consultant specializing in “Helping Restaurant Owners Earn More and Stress Less.” Her industry experience spans over 35 years, including owning and operating three successful, full-service restaurants. Today, drawing on her broad background and understanding of what works and what doesn’t work in this industry, she trains and coaches restaurant owners so that they can achieve even greater success.  She is the owner of JI Restaurant Consulting.


Janet works with both existing businesses and startups, helping her clients avoid costly mistakes, open new restaurants in a timely manner and poised for long term prosperity, and finding solutions to problems existing businesses are facing through providing expert advice, strategies, training, and support. 


She has written three industry white papers: Five Reasons Restaurant Owners Should Not be Worried About Rising Food Costs, 7 Successful Strategies Restaurant Owners Use to Maximize Profits from Restaurant Week, and Create a Winning Concept and Establishing Your Brand, as well as numerous article on the restaurant business which can be found at


As a public speaker and presenter Janet presents trainings and workshops on how to improve operations, attract and retain customers and increase profits. She is the co-founder of Positively Profits, which features large workshop dedicated to sales and service training of restaurant owners and employees.


She also consults and volunteers for Dutchess Outreach’s Lunch Box program and is involved with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, two local organizations dedicated to feeding the hungry in our community.

 Anne Maxfield

When Janet approached me about HudsonValleyEATS I jumped at it!


What a great opportunity/excuse to really explore all the wonderful food the Hudson Valley has to offer.


Years ago, when my husband and I first came to the area as weekenders from the city, we were always surprised at the amazing food we’d find in the most unlikely places.


There was an incredible chicken Caesar salad in the middle of a biker bar and a Mexican grocery store that had everything you’d ever need for any Mexican dish.


Now, Janet and I have the chance to share all our discoveries with you. Whether you're a visitor or a local, we'll let you know about places you might normally pass by, and help promote and grow all kinds of local food-related businesses.

Along with a love for food, we both have a passion for business!


We love working with all types of businesses, helping them with marketing, finances—whatever it takes to help the owners reach and exceed their goals.


We look forward to making, the go-to site for consumers and business owners and having fun along the way!

Contact me for a free 30-minute call; we can talk food or business--your choice.


Some of my other projects:

Radio Show: Catch my weekly show, the Accidental Locavore Live! on Pawling Public Radio Mondays at 5:00 ET, where we’ll be talking about food and business. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, email me and let me know what you’d like to talk about.

Speaking: I’m looking for speaking opportunities on women-owned business issues, particularly in the food space. I can also lead seminars, webinars.

Boards: Currently: Advisory Board of Gogogolosh, Trinky Things.

Former board posts: Marketing and Membership for the Red Hook Golf Club Board of Directors, Consultants 2 Go, Marist College, University of Delaware

And in my ample leisure you can find me skiing, figure skating or on the golf course.

 Candice Irwin Smith

After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a journalism degree, I realized that jobs were scarce and salaries were meager.  I followed friends to NYC and was hired as a sales rep for Honeywell, Inc. 

I loved my job so much that I stayed for 40 years working as an account manager, consultant and technical writer.

I retired at the end of 2016, and I am spending my time only doing the things I love!

I volunteer as a Wish Granter for the Hudson Valley Make-A-Wish Chapter.  What could be better than to help an ill child’s heartfelt wish come true? 

I am also a Family Support Volunteer with Regional Hospice and Palliative Care, and the president of the Brookfield, CT Lions Club.

For excitement and adventure, my husband and I are long distance hikers.  We recently walked the 190 mile Coast to Coast trail in the UK Lake District and the 500 mile El Camino de Santiago in northern Spain.

Being a foodie, craft beer lover, wine enthusiast and a journalist, I am thrilled to be writing for and sharing with our readers all that the fabulous Hudson Valley has to offer! 

I am excited to uncover Hudson Valley’s unsung heroes for our  HVEats Heroes page.  There are so many businesses who give back to their community in creative and meaningful ways.

Come join me as I scour the Hudson Valley for the stories that will have you grabbing your friends, jumping in the car and discovering a Hudson Valley treasure.