The AVA is proud to introduce the honorary members of our Advisory Board. Each Advisory Board member brings exemplary qualifications that qualify them for this prestigious position. We are grateful and honored to have them with our organization.

The board members will have input into multiple issues such as The AVA Awards Programs, Tastings (food shows), and numerous other related activities. Any AVA member that has a question for the AVA board can email them through the AVA website.

Board Members:

Leonard S. Torine

Len was born into the food business, being raised in his father's grocery & produce market in Newark, N.J. After a stint in the Army, and Fairleigh Dickinson University, he established a successful deli-catering business in the mid-70's in Bayonne, N.J. Len created, and was consultant to many trend-setting concepts and natural foods restaurants in the New York metro area, including: 'Veggies', 'The Celery Bunch', and 'The Slimmery'. His book, "Light Cuisine" sold almost 1 million copies.

Len went on to open his own franchised chain of health-conscious restaurants, The Diet Gourmet Shoppes. The concept was featured on CNN, the Regis Philbin Show, and in many national trade and consumer publications. Len was on the Advisory Board for Restaurant Business magazine, a featured speaker panelist on "Future Menu Trends" for the National Convention of Multi-Unit Food Service Operators (MUFSO). Len was also chosen to be a participating member of Project Lean, funded by the Kaiser Foundation, along with other food dignitaries including Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, and Martin Yan. Len also worked with the Rutgers University Food Science Department to assist in the development of meals-ready-to-eat (MRE's) for the armed forces. In 1994 Len co-founded VeggieLand, a strictly vegetarian manufacturer in Parsippany, N.J. Len was Executive Vice President of VeggieLand, and enjoys an R & D role creating new products for some of the largest chains in the U.S. Len enjoys boating with his family, and since out of the restaurant business, loves cooking at home.

Roxanne Armstrong

President, Ingredient Innovations, Inc.

Roxanne considers herself the consummate definition of a "Food Enthusiast", passionately interested in nearly every aspect of food: growing, storing, preparing, presenting and especially eating it. This level of interest certainly started in the womb, but began professionally with an economic development grant to write a business plan to market organically grown chickens in Kansas. This led to a six-year position as General Manager of a grain processing plant, manufacturing instantized grains and seeds for the food industry. Following a brief interlude marketing and selling hard white wheat products, Roxanne started a food ingredients' brokerage in 1997. Among the products offered industrially are vegetarian flavors, cereal products, and the Morningstar Farms? line of soy-based meat alternatives.

Roxanne earned a B.S. in Management/Organizational Behavior at Babson College. She is a member of the Association of Cereal Chemists and Institute for Food Technologists. In addition to learning Italian, she presently chairs a community-based committee to write and publish a cookbook called "Eating Well at the Water's Edge", due to be printed in late 2003.

Susan Etzi, MD, MPH

Dr. Etzi is a public health physician who has directed various medical education projects about obesity, diabetes, weight loss, nutrition, allergies, geriatrics, healthcare insurance and risk management. She also has a clinical background, and has participated in various health promotion and patient education activities. Dr. Etzi advocates a healthy lifestyle and is passionate about cooking, preparing, and eating natural and unprocessed foods.

Dr. Etzi received her Medical Degree from Jefferson Medical College and a Master of Public Health degree from Columbia University. She completed a residency in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University Hospital and also a residency in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Dr. Etzi is Board-Certified in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine.

Diane Henderiks, R.D.

Diane received her Bachelor of Science degree from Monmouth University and proceeded to graduate from The Dietetic Internship at The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey with the Award for Clinical Excellence. Diane is a wife and mother of two boys, a Registered Dietitian, a fitness expert, a culinary educator, nutrition counselor and the founder of Diane M. Henderiks, R.D.& Associates, LLC, a nutrition consulting company in Monmouth County, New Jersey. As a leading associate and creator of Dietitian in the Kitchen ™, she has successfully integrated this innovative concept into her practice with several office locations and Registered Dietitians throughout New Jersey. Her practice specializes in diabetes management, weight management, eating disorders, heart healthy nutrition, pediatric, prenatal and postnatal nutrition and gastrointestinal disorders. Diane instructs fitness at area gyms and also teaches health conscious culinary classes, kids healthy eating and fitness workshops, supermarket tours and prenatal nutrition workshops. Her practice also serves Monmouth Medical Center as nutrition consultant for their Bariatric Surgery Center. Diane also conducts various cooking classes for doctors, pharmaceutical companies and the general public.

[Click here for the Dietitian in the Kitchen ™ website]

Kenneth P. Megarr, MS, CCC

Director of the Panasonic Research & Development Test Kitchens.

Ken is a 1986 Honors Graduate of the Culinary Institute Of America. He also has a Baccalaureate of Science Degree from Montclair State University and has received his Masters of Science from RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology). He is Currently working on his Doctorate in Food Technology.

Ken has been employed as a Research Chef for General Foods and Nestle, Senior Research Technician for Nabisco and since 1990 has been with Panasonic heading up the Research & Development Test Kitchens for North America. He was appointed to Dr. Kesslers FDA/USDA advisory committee that was responsible for the sweeping changes in the 1995 and 1999 Food Codes. He works with Chefs, Nutritionists and Food Service Directors in developing recipes and menus for the industry.

Michael Morrison

President & Executive R&D Chef, FlavorChefs

Michael has had a love for food for as long as he can remember. His career in the restaurant industry began at age 12, when he sold hot dogs and kraut at a local golf course. He spent his summers as a teenager working in restaurants at the Jersey Shore, and obtained a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University in 1991. He has held various positions since then, including Food Service Director, Executive Chef, Garde-Manger Chef, and has owned his own restaurant and catering business. While working as Executive Chef for a major flavor house in NJ, he was educated about flavors and their use in food and cooking, and realized that he had found his niche in the food industry. Since then, he has held positions as Research and Development Chef for an ingredients supplier, incorporating yeast extracts and savory ingredients in prepared food products, and for other flavor houses. Michael started his own chef consulting company in 2001, FlavorChefs. Also AS SEEN ON QVC from time to time. He is currently, and has been a member of the Research Chefs Association and the American Culinary Federation since 1991, the American Vegetarian Association, and the Institute of Food Technologists. He enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and their little son. Cooking is still his love and as long as he is in a kitchen some of the day he is happy.

Mark Newman

Flavor Chemist, MN Flavor Consulting, Inc.

While doing his undergraduate studies in Chemistry at the U of MN, he went to a seminar given by a Food Science & Nutrition Professor.  He thought; “Food and Chemistry Together?!?”  

The rest of his undergraduate days were spent researching the enzyme kinetics of milk proteins in the Dairy Technology Laboratory and assisting in the Pilot Plant with the production of customer’s products.  After he finished his Chemistry Degree, he managed the Flavor Analysis Laboratory of Dr. Gary Reineccius at the U of MN for 3 years and entered the Master’s Degree Program in Food Science. After school, he was Director of Product Development for the Grains and Foods Group at SunOpta for 5 years formulating soy, rice, oat, sunflower, and other various grain-based products.  

Mark enjoys his free time taking his Siberian Husky to the most geographically challenging places in Minnesota to hike, snowshoe, and cross-country ski.  
He also is a Test Snowmobile Rider and Test Skier for a Performance Winterwear Company.

MN Flavor Consulting Inc. provides Flavor, Food, and Processing Chemistry consulting services to the Natural, Organic, Functional and Medical Foods areas.

Vivian A. Pincus R.D.,C.D.E.

Vivian Pincus completed her Dietetic Internship at Cook County Hospital and attended the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she took graduate courses in Nutrition. She completed an undergraduate Nutritional Science curriculum at Montclair State University and obtained a B.S. in Economics and Communications at the State University of New York at Oneonta.

Vivian Pincus has been a Registered Dietitian for over 10 years, and a Certified Diabetes Educator for over three years. She is currently practicing at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center as a Senior Out-Patient Nutritionist, where she has been employed for the past six years. Her specialties include Diabetes, Obesity, Gastric Bypass and Celiac Disease. She also counsels patients in her own private practice emphasizing the importance of wholesome and functional foods, and lectures to health care professionals and to individuals in the community.

In Memoriam:
Rynn Berry

Vegetarian Historian

Rynn Berry was the historical advisor to the NAVS (North American Vegetarian Society). In his lectures, articles, and books, he specialized in the study of vegetarianism from an historical perspective... [..MORE..]