The Foods of New York Tour Staff
The Foods of New York Tour Staff
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* Office Staff *

Todd Owner, Since 1999

As the man who started it all, I never get tired of eating and exploring. Not in the slightest! My days and nights are spent on my own private food tours with friends and family, in the eternal search for the perfect NYC food and cultural experiences. I favor small Mom & Pop establishments with a certain charm and character. You won't find another tour company owner quite as dedicated as me. In fact, I work 6-7 days a week and have for the past 15 years! My commitment extends to providing tour guides and office staff with great salaries, benefits, and even a retirement plan. I keep my staff happy so that they can, in turn, keep you happy! You will often find me walking the streets or watching in the background, just to make sure each and every tour operates to the high standards I set back in 1999. The good part is... I still love my job!

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: A slice of pizza from Joe's, a hot dog, mustard and sauerkraut from Katz Deli, a lobster roll from Luke's Lobster (no mayo!), a porchetta sandwich from Porchetta, and garganelli with an oxtail ragu from Macelleria Restaurant.

What is your favorite spot in NYC: Cycling along the Hudson River, Paddle Boarding in the Hudson River, and spending time in Washington Square Park

Amy Director of Operations, Since 2006

I didn't dream of a career in the food industry. I spent 12 years as a Career Counselor and by 34 I was working at NYU teaching seminars such as 'Don't Quit Your Day Job'. That is, until... I quit my day job. With a family history deeply rooted in NYC's mom & pop shops, and 2 years of giving food tours on weekends for Foods of NY Tours, I officially quit my day job in 2008 and began working full time behind the scenes. I supervise our 15 tour guides and maintain relationships with the staffs of our 50+ restaurants/food shops. I'm a 4th generation Brooklynite but I was raised in a seaside resort community in NYC's backyard (Hampton Bays). My first job was at a chocolate shop in the Hamptons called The Fudge Co. where I worked for six summers - and even one summer after I already had my Masters Degree - since the 'chocolate tasting perks' were so delicious. I've lived on the Upper West and Upper East Side, and in Greenwich Village. And now, I am back to my roots in (Bay Ridge) Brooklyn.

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: The Rice Ball at Faiccos on Bleecker Street

What is your favorite spot in NYC: The stoop of my apartment on Cornelia Street in the Village where I met my husband

Tours I give: Original Greenwich Village Tour & (I designed and give our) Nolita/NoHo Tour

Danielle Logistics / Marketing, Since 2015

I am a native New Yorker whose grandparents joined the mass exodus from Brooklyn to Long Island in the 1940's. I have come back to my Brooklyn roots, after delicious stints in Washington, D.C. and London, and I now live in the Italian food mecca of Bay Ridge with my husband and son. I adore exploring food and history everywhere I travel and live, and I love that I can still discover something new every time I explore NYC. I come from a marketing and product development background and I am very excited to use that experience to enter the tourism industry. Tourism is where my heart has always wanted to be. I've enjoyed putting together mini tours for family and friends that center around themes such as Christmas in NY and Summer Fun at Coney, and there is always amazing food involved in these tours! I met Amy, our operations director, at a New Moms group in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and as we walked and talked, the puzzle pieces of a new role and new job came together wonderfully.

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: I am an avid David Chang follower and love the pork belly buns at Momofuku Ssam, love to wander around Eataly and am excited to see what wonders Anthony Bourdain's new food hall will hold. For comfort food, Rocco's vodka sauce pie in Bay Ridge.

What is your favorite spot in NYC: Can't beat the fun, excitement and people-watching at Coney Island on a hopping summer day, The Rockaways for an off-the-beaten path food and beach day, and beautiful green gems such as The Cloisters and Central Park's Conservatory Garden.

Jacqueline Logistics / Social Media, Since 2015

Originally from Panama City, Florida, I moved to Manhattan in 2011 then to Greenpoint and finally to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. My BFA in Dance from the University of Florida led me to NYC where I perform with two Ballet Companies and teach ballet and swimming to all ages. I have also worked as a Barista and as an Account Manager with Pret A Manger - and those experiences fueled my interest in food and drink. Aside from Dance, my great passions are music, food, coffee, chocolate, traveling and the French Language. I have loved experiencing the many cultures that make up this City. Seeking out the food gems of New York has been one of the most exciting parts of living here and I am continuously amazed by the wonderful world of food we have right at our doorstep.

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: Wild Mushroom Risotto at Antibes Bistro or Spicy Hot Chocolate at Chocolate Bar.

What is your favorite spot in NYC: Transmitter Park in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Laying out by the water or watching the sunset go down, it's the perfect park to be right on the water with a nice breeze, an Ovenly coffee and cookie.

Joanna Logistics & Tour Guide, Since 2015

A Southern California native, I am a graduate of the University of Santa Barbara with a degree in music with an emphasis in voice performance. In 2006 I moved to NYC to pursue my professional performing dreams. Since then I have performed all over the U.S., and have explored five of the seven continents while singing aboard cruise ships. Through my travels, I discovered that the best way to learn about a culture is through its food. I can still vividly recall the the bucket of mussels I savored on Prince Edward Island or the llama I ate at the base of Machu Picchu (tastes like chicken)! After many years on ships, my husband, whom I met working for Holland America Line, and I decided to give "living on land" a try. Moving back to NYC has given me the opportunity to make new food memories. As a tour guide I am thrilled to have the opportunity to help visitors, and native NYers, explore this amazing city and make their own memories through food.

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: Any and all doughnuts, but especially the Peanut Butter and Jelly Doughnut from Doughnut Plant in the Lower East Side. Also the Xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) at Shanghai Café in Chinatown.

What is your favorite spot in NYC: Madison Square Park, where my husband took me to lunch, at the Original Shake Shack, the day he proposed.

Tour I give: Original Greenwich Village Tour

Mason Operations and Tour Guide, Since 2014

With 25 years of restaurant experience, a Theater degree, International Business MBA and a passion for all things food and drink...you would say food tours are in my blood. It all started as a busboy in a family run Italian restaurant, to a dishwasher/prep cook at a Korean restaurant and pizza maker in College. What followed was a passion for restaurants and food exploration which has taken me as far as Istanbul and Rome. Now I have found a home back in NYC as a third generation New Yorker working with Foods of NY Tours. I have lived in Park Slope, Midtown west, Upper East Side and worked in restaurants all over Manhattan. My love of craft beer has morphed into a hobby as I home brew delicious beers with obscure ingredients like black truffles, thai basil or green tea.

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: Tacos in Chelsea Market or tasting menu at Lupa.

What is your favorite spot in NYC: A picnic in central park.

Tours I give: Original Greenwich Village Tour

* Tour Guides *

Bert Tour Guide, Since 2011

I have been living, working and playing in nyc for nearly 20 years. I'm originally from Alabama. I fell in love with food and being in the kitchen at a very early age. I quickly realized that if I was being helpful in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother that I didn't have to be outside in the yard working. I liked that. I first became a tour guide as a hobby and I fell in love with it! Now it's my full time job. If you can take something you do for fun and turn that into your profession, I highly suggest you do that! Showing people my New York City is truly a dream job.

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: Late nite cheese fries! Hot out of the fryer, dripping with cheese. It's so awful and so good! Also at least once a month I must have a fresh chicken cutlet sandwich from Faicco's with homemade mozzarella and pesto.

What is your favorite spot in NYC: My all time favorite spot in NYC is standing in front of Bethesda fountain in Central Park. Admittedly, a bit touristy, but when I first moved here and took my first walk around Central Park, I stumbled upon this fountain and found it absolutely magical. To this day that spot still resonates with me. If I'm feeling overwhelmed or even underwhelmed or just a bit disenchanted. I can go back to Bethesda fountain, stand in my spot, feeling a rush of nostalgia and remember why I came here, what makes this place amazing is around corner is another magical fountain.

Tours I give: Original Greenwich Village Tour, Gourmet Chinatown Tour and soon... Nolita/NoHo Tour!

Cindy Tour Guide, Since 2001

Born here in New York. moved to the Hawaiian Islands in elementary school. Transferred to NYU Tisch School of the Arts from the University of Hawaii. An actor when not doing tours. I've always loved the history of New York City and fell into tour guiding by an old friend's suggestion. I have lived in Greenwich Village since coming to NYU but I now reside in Brooklyn, near the location of EBBET'S FIELD where my dad used to Broadcast from! I started working for Foods of New York Tours back at the invention of the wheel, that's how cool my boss is! I could talk about the historical brick patterns of the old town houses and how streets got their names but my friends don't want to hear me anymore so luckily I can occasionally give a food tour and chat while others chomp great food.

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: Challah French Toast at "BonBonAire" in the West Village

What is your favorite spot in NYC: Rockaway Beach Surf and all Parks

Tours I give: Original Greenwich Village Tour & Chelsea Market Tour

Curt Tour Guide, Since 2004

I have been working for foods of New York for over eight years now, and I love it! Being a tour guide affords me the opportunity to bring my Love of food and my love of New York City together. The great thing about being a tour guide, is that when people show up they are here to have fun. My passion for food really began when I lived in northern Italy in my early 20s. The Italian cuisine is so much about combining quality ingredients rather than fancy techniques of preparation, and this simplicity has always appealed to me. It is a great opportunity for me to give these tours, knitting architecture history cultural offerings together with great food presented in a fun light hearted way.

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: Ramen at Momofuku

What is your favorite spot in NYC: Staten Island ferry with the harbor and skyline views

Tours I give: Original Greenwich Village Tour & Chelsea Market Tour

Darrel Tour Guide, Since 2007

Originally from Dallas, TX, I moved to NYC 18 years ago after studying theatre and cinema at Southern Methodist University. I have lived in many neighborhoods from the West Village, Astoria, Queens to the Upper West Side to Midtown Manhattan where I currently reside. I worked as a successful musical theatre performer nationally and internationally on Broadway's The Scarlet Pimpernel and West End's The Rocky Horror Show among many others. I enjoy my other vocation as a tour guide entertaining and making new friends every week in the Meatpacking District for the last eight years.

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: Beef Wellington at the Stanton Social Club on the Lower East Side

What is your favorite spot in NYC: Strolling along the beautiful High Line on the West Side

Tour I give: Chelsea Market Tour

Jordan Tour Guide, Since 2016

Originally from the motherland- Las Vegas, I couldn't be more thrilled to be part of the Foods of NY team. Brooklyn is home now as I have lived in the same borough for nine years. Since I was 14, I have always had a job working in a restaurant or a bakery. Food is my true passion! While not dining out or wandering about my favorite area of the city, Greenwich Village, I can be found in front of the 350 degree oven at the bakery I also work for. Aside from biking, baking, and film history I have a strong passion for wedding cakes, ice cream, and delicious shrimp tacos.

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: The Emmy Burger at Emily's (that pretzel bun is everything!). And always two scoops of "snap, mallow, pop" from Ample Hills

What is your favorite spot in NYC: Aside from Greenwich Village it's definitely Red Hook, Brooklyn! Red Hook has everything from Valentino Piers, the food trucks at the Ball Fields, delicious-ness on Van Brunt Street, those meatballs at Ikea, and Fairway (my favorite grocery store!)

Tour I give: Original Greenwich Village Tour

Marie Tour Guide, Since 2007

I hail from Rochester, NY. In my teen years (the late 1980's) I began visiting NYC to pursue my interest in theater. I studied at The American Academy of the Dramatic Arts, the oldest English speaking acting school in the world. I performed in downtown clubs, theaters and for small films - a life filled with many, many adventures. I met people from all areas of the art world and literary figures from different eras. I also worked in the food industry for much of my life here. It was a happy accident that led me to work for Foods of New York Tours. I was asked by an artist friend to attend a party of which I was not too keen on going to, but being a good friend, I agreed to stay for 1 hour. While at this party, I was seated next to a friend of our owner, Todd Lefkovic. That led to an interview and the rest is history! My interests lie in film, theater, history and good eating!

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: Summer rolls at Pho Banc in Chinatown, they are shrimp and chives rolled up in rice paper and are perfect anytime of year and inexpensive and I LOVE the spicy peanut dipping sauce!

What is your favorite spot in NYC: Fiat Cafe in Little Italy, the owners are long time friends. It is where I hang for breakfast most mornings.

Tour I give: Original Greenwich Village Tour

Paulette Tour Guide, Since 2015

I was born in California but I was raised in Utah, (No, I'm not a mormon, not that there's anything wrong with that...)

My rather intense love of food, eating it and learning about it, had me leave Utah when I was 18 years old to pursue my dream of becoming a pastry chef which landed me here in NYC back in 1997. I graduated from The French Culinary Institute Pastry Arts program and my first job upon graduating was in the pastry kitchen of Le Cirque! That was over 17 years ago and since then, I have worked along side some of the best names in the industry, I've had cakes published in "New York" Magazine Weddings issue and "Brides" magazine.

My passion, knowledge and sense of humor got me my first job on tv, The Cooking Channels "Unique Sweets", where I get to travel around this wonderful country and eat some amazing food. I have also been featured as a judge on The Food Networks "Sugar Dome" "King of Cones" and "Beat Bobby Flay" I am also on Mgo.com series of Dinner and a download and because I just cannot get enough about all things food, I write about food on my blog www.pollycooksandeats.com

In case you didn't get it yet, I love food. All of it. Thank Buddha I have no allergies and can eat everything, cuz I do.

My greatest love in life is being able to introduce people to new foods, in fact, my motto is "I will never steer you wrong when it comes to food" and that's a true story.

I live in downtown NYC and I love walking everywhere! It allows me to keep on making new discoveries in this great city.

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: This a very difficult question to answer, as I usually have an ongoing love affair with a few different foods that are on rotation... The tuna bowl with extra sauce at Soba-ya in the east village is a Sunday supper favorite along with the ankimo (monkfish liver) when it is in season, that's right, monkfish liver has a season. I'll travel all the way to the upper west side for a warm chocolate chip cookie from Levain and Extra Virgin in the west village serves a rigatoni bolognese that is so good, it's as if you are eating a warm loving hug in the most romantic atmosphere, even if you are by yourself.

What is your favorite spot in NYC: Does Governors Island count? I love riding my bike over there, it's like traveling to a secret island back in time and The Jazz Age lawn party that is held there every summer is pretty spectacular.

Tour I give: Heart of the Village Tour

Raheem Tour Guide, Since 2007

I moved to NYC from Virginia Beach, VA in 2000 to study Fine Art at the School of Visual Arts. After finishing my BFA, I was able to focus on my true passion, food, full-time. I have been touring with FONY tours since 2007. In that time I have gained 45lbs and made over 23,700 new friends. I hate olives, but love olive oil. I believe pizza is the perfect food, and the Yankees are the greatest team ever. I live my life by the same mantra as the great director, Federico Fellini "Life is a combination of magic and pasta". My tours have been featured in Time out New York NBC News and Fox's Hells Kitchen.

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: DiFara Pizza

What is your favorite spot in NYC: The Natural History Museum

Tours I give: Original Greenwich Village Tour, Heart of the Village Tour and Gourmet Chinatown Tour

RJ Tour Guide, Since 2015

Born and raised here in New York, and a graduate of The New England Conservatory of Music. I've spent the last 29 years as a drummer in New York, Korea and on Broadway too. I was lucky to have a chance encounter (at jury duty) with Foods of NY owner Todd. He saw something in me that I hadn't seen in myself, and I'm so glad he did.

I've always been passionate about History, Science and Documentaries. Now I have a useful outlet for all my weird history factoids and I can stop annoying my wife with things she doesn't care to know (or has heard me say 1,000 times).

I'm proud to be a Foods of NY tour guide, and I can't wait to share my favorite neighborhood with you.

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: Corned-beef on rye with Russian dressing, half sour pickles and a can of Dr Brown's cream soda from PJ Bernstein's on the upper east side.

What is your favorite spot in NYC: Standing on the sidewalk early in the the morning, when the streets are completely empty and watching the city fill with people and come to life.

Tour I give: Original Greenwich Village Tour

Robin Tour Guide, Since 2014

This January marks 20 years of living/working in New York City for me. Born and raised in Rhode Island, I moved to New York armed with a degree in theatre and a dream. But dreams are expensive, so between acting jobs I have worn many hats to pay the bills: waitress, hostess, receptionist, singing flower for the Macy's Flower Show, restaurant manager and bartender. Most of these jobs (not the flower) focusing around the food industry because they were flexible and because I love great food and drink! Currently, I work at The Delta Grill in Hell's Kitchen with another Foods of NY Tours Tour Guide, the fabulous Darrel Blackburn! I have lived in Hell's Kitchen, The Upper East Side and The East Village and I currently reside in West New York, NJ right across the Hudson River.... I can see NYC from my house!!

What is your favorite food/meal NYC: Sinfonia di Paste paired with a wine from their $25 a bottle wine list at Becco on W 46th Street, in Hell's Kitchen!New Favorite Craft Beer Bar: Beer Culture on W 45th, in Hell's Kitchen!

What is your favorite spot in NYC: A Broadway, Off- Broadway, or off-off Broadway theatre, as long as the show is good.(Great app for theatre tickets Today Tix)!

Tour I give: Original Greenwich Village Tour

Susan Tour Guide, Since 2008

I am a native New Yorker, and an urban fiction writer/essayist who has published widely in journals and anthologies, in mainstream magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, and online. Guiding is a more recent expansion of my forever-freelance working life, and I especially enjoy leading people off the beaten path, which fits in perfectly with Foods of New York's purposes. Having finished school at Barnard/Columbia, I've made my home on the Upper West Side my entire adult life, but I'm happy to be spending even more time down in Greenwich Village than I did when I was a kid, hanging out (like all New York kids) in Washington Square Park.

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: I'm kind of an oyster fiend, and not at all an oyster snob: I'll always go for vast quantities over a precious few. Two Greenwich Village venues I frequent for their daily oyster deals are Mermaid Oyster Bar on MacDougal (along the route of my Heart of the Village Tour) and Fish on Bleecker (along the route of the Original Greenwich Village Tour).

What is your favorite spot in NYC: Beyond Washington Square, anywhere along the Hudson River, but particularly in Riverside South, the extension of Riverside Park just below W. 72nd Street.

Tour I give: Heart of the Village Tour

Ted Tour Guide, Since 2012

I was born and raised in the snow belt of upstate New York, but have lived in New York City for a long time now. I lived in Greenwich Village for most of that time but now live in upper Manhattan. Although I love to travel, I always miss New York and am happy to get back home. I also work for the Municipal Art Society of New York, so I am passionate about the history, architecture, and culture of the Village and all of New York. I enjoy doing volunteer work with the Center for Architecture Foundation, God's Love We Deliver, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, The City Reliquary Museum and Loft Opera.

What is your favorite food/meal in NYC: Impossible to choose just one! In addition to the places we feature on our tours, I like Arturo's on Houston Street, Hummus Place on 7th Ave S or St. Marks Place, Bite on 14th Street, and Harlem Tavern on Frederick Douglass Blvd.

What is your favorite spot in NYC: Also impossible to choose just one. But I'll say Coney Island on Friday nights in the summer for the free fireworks.

Tour I give: Original Greenwich Village Tour and Heart of the Village Tour