Meet the Women Behind Hudson Valley Eats

  Janet Irizarry  

Janet Irizarry is a restaurant consultant with 30+ years in the restaurant and hospitality industry. She started working in restaurants when she was 15 and has owned and operated three full-service restaurants as well as worked for the world’s largest contract food service company.


She is an entrepreneur, who likes to create and help others as a restaurant consultant, Janet has helped clients with all aspects of the restaurant business. For entrepreneurs interested in opening a new restaurant, she helps them avoid the costly mistakes many times made in the restaurant startup phase and make sure they are set up for long term success. For more established restaurants, Janet expertise is helping owners find solutions to the issues that have blocked their business growth.


Janet is an Adjunct Professor, in the School of Business Management, at the Culinary Institute of America where she introduces students to the Hospitality industry. Sharing her expertise in the industry, she teaches students about different career opportunities in the Hospitality Industry, leadership skills, what true hospitality is and how to use it to exceed customer expectations.


In 2017 Janet co-founded with the purpose of connecting the Hudson Valley community to local restaurant owners and food entrepreneurs. For Janet, Hudson Valley EATS became a way of keeping her pulse on the restaurant business as well as bringing exposure to the food businesses in the area that make up the incredible food scene of the Hudson Valley.


The bigger picture for Janet is to use Hudson Valley EATS as a platform to “give back” and contribute something meaningful for society.  Guided by her mother’s motto, "If you are going to be part of the community, you need to find something you can do that will make a difference.”  For Janet, that difference is helping to fight food insecurity and get food to people who would otherwise go hungry.


As of 2020 Janet has made it her mission to connect everyone in the Hudson Valley with food, not just those who can afford it.  She has created an online community that brings together restaurant owners, foodies and the nonprofits in the Hudson Valley that offer food assistance, food rescue and food education programs.


Janet is committed to “Making Sure EVERYBODY in the Hudson Valley EATS.”, not just those who can afford it.

 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.