Staff - Brooklyn Birthing Center

Providing evidence-based care with a compassionate touch.

Staff

Brooklyn Midwifery Group

Jessica Henman APRN, CNM, CPM

Jessica has been a nurse for over 20 years and completed her Master’s degree at Frontier Nursing University to become a CNM in 2010. Prior to becoming a midwife, Jessica worked internationally in humanitarian aid, practiced as a nurse in ER and cardiac surgery, and was a childbirth educator and doula. Jessica is very active in family and church life and supports the midwifery and mothering community through her role on the state Board of the American College of Nurse Midwives and The Sparrows Nest Teen Maternity Home and as a mentor in the New Heights program for school kids. She has lived in St Louis for most of her life and loves being a wife and the mother of 3 big kids, spending time with them reading, making music, cooking and of course eating. Jessica is excited to be in NYC to help the Brooklyn Birth Center grow, and help launch Jazz Birth Center, to give women more safe and enriching birth options.

Meredith Barish, CNM

A native New Yorker, Meredith began her career in 2003 after graduating from Columbia university as a Certified Nurse Midwife. She has previously worked at a private practice delivering at both Maimonides and Methodist hospitals. She joined the Brooklyn Birthing Center in April 2020 providing per diem full scope midwifery care. Meredith strives to provide holistic care where every person has access to evidence based information and participates in making informed decisions about their health and care during pregnancy, birth and beyond. She believes that all birthing people have the right to safe and respectful health care experiences.

Yuen Chan, DNP, CNM

Yuen earned a BS in Health Care Management at SUNY Stony Brook in 2003, and went on to earn a BSN from the same university in 2007. After completing her BSN, Yuen began her career as an RN in North Shore University Hospital's Level III NICU. She also promptly enrolled in Stony Brook's Nurse-Midwifery program, and completed her MSN in 2009. Yuen has since cared for women and infants in a variety of settings, including Brookdale Hospital's OB/GYN Department, Lutheran Medical Center's Chinese Health Clinic, the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, and a private OB/GYN practice. She also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Adelphi University's College of Nursing. Yuen earned her DNP in Nurse-Midwifery at SUNY Stony Brook in 2014, and joined the Brooklyn Midwifery Group in 2015. She is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese.

Christiane McCloskey, CM

Christiane McCloskey has been a practicing midwife for over 16 years. Her journey began with the birth of her first son and an introduction to the birth world in New York City in the late 1980s. She started working with Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York, and quickly became a “birth groupie”. Along the way, she taught prenatal and postpartum exercise classes, started her own doula service and supported many new mothers through their breastfeeding experience. After the home birth of her second son, it became quite clear that she needed to take her experience and love for birthing to its logical conclusion. She graduated from the SUNY Downstate Midwifery program with a MS in Midwifery and was credentialed as an ACNM Certified Midwife in 2002.

Ximena Rossato-Bennett MSN, FNP-C, CNM

Ximena's journey to midwifery began in 1998 with the birth of her first child at a birth center birth in New York City. The normalcy of birth had never been a question, but her midwives were role models and the spark of her career journey. Ximena was born in Cordoba, Argentina, and moved with her family to Miami, FL in 1982. She settled in New York City in 1996 and has lived in the Lower East Side ever since. She has two grown children who also live in New York City. She started her studies at Frontier Nursing University (FNU) in 2013. She obtained her master's degree in nursing with a specialty as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) in 2016 and her post-graduate certificate in midwifery (CNM) in 2017. From 2018 to 2020, Ximena worked as a full-spectrum midwife at the Connecticut Childbirth & Women's Center with delivery privileges in both a free-standing birthing center and Danbury Hospital. Now, Ximena is excited and honored to be working as a midwife in the free-standing birthing center model of care at the Brooklyn Birthing Center and Jazz Birth Center. Throughout her clinical career, Ximena has focused on holistic care of the entire family with a particular interest in women's health and reproductive rights. The midwifery model of care has always guided her approach to families and their health.

Feeta Caphart, CNM

Feeta Caphart became a midwife to help womxn live informed, empowered, healthy lives. It is important to Feeta that the people she touches feel seen, heard, cared for. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Montgomery County, Maryland, she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Miami in Florida in 2011. After working as a Labor and Delivery Nurse for a few years, she attended Georgetown University’s Nurse-Midwifery and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Program in Washington, D.C., graduating with her Master of Science in 2017. Prior to her role as Senior Midwife, Feeta served Brooklyn families as a Midwife and Nurse Practitioner in a private OB/GYN practice. When she is not catching babies, Feeta enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, and spending time with her family and friends.

Mary Di Masi, CNM

Guided by her passion for women’s health and knowledge of advanced evidence-based medicine, Mary Di Masi, CNM is a trusted medical practitioner. After graduating from her certified nurse midwife program with honors, Mary started caring for women throughout the greater Washington, D.C., metro area. She is very happy to be returning to New York where she was born and raised. Mary is known for patient-centric care where she spends time educating each of her patients on preventive medicine and treatment plans. This supportive type of environment allows women to share in the decision-making process for gynecological care, prenatal care, and delivery options. Mary even helps with family planning. Whether a woman is interested in selecting the right type of birth control or is ready to start getting pregnant, Mary offers compassionate care every step of the way. Patients of Mary adore her natural caring and nurturing demeanor. She’s highly skilled at helping women find peace and comfort during the most difficult and overwhelming stages of pregnancy and delivery.

Julia Faidley, CNM

Julia Faidley grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania, but has called New York City home for the past 30 years. She studied economics and Spanish in college but learned about midwifery in a Women's' Studies course. She was drawn to the idea of birth as a healthy, normal life transition, but took a long and winding road to become a midwife herself. During those years, she worked as a labor support doula, raised two children, and spent several years as a hospice nurse. She also contributed to the business side of things, as an auditor, a member of the quality and compliance team, and a clinical educator. When the time was right, she enrolled in Frontier Nursing University's midwifery program and graduated in 2017. Julia's "long road" to midwifery has provided a diversity of experience that she brings to midwifery care. She is committed to making out-of-hospital birth options available to women who desire them and is excited to join Jazz Birth Center providing family-centered, evidence-based prenatal, and postpartum care. When she is not working as a midwife, Julia enjoys writing poetry and cooking.

Midwifery Fellows

Johanna Allen, CNM

Johanna comes to New York from Tacoma, Washington, via El Paso, Texas. She recently graduated from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center’s Graduate School of Nursing with a Master of Science degree in Nurse-Midwifery. Over the past 6 years she has completed midwifery training and provided care at an academic medical center and a busy birth center on the Mexico/US border in El Paso; a medical and birth center in Nairobi, Kenya; and as a Labor and Delivery and Postpartum Registered Nurse at a hospital in Edmonds, Washington. Johanna speaks English and Spanish and spends her time reading novels and short stories (tips welcome!), hiking (excited to get to know the Catskills), running, cooking (recipe ideas also welcome!), writing, and being with friends and family.

Johanna looks forward to developing respectful, positive relationships and providing holistic, evidence-based guidance to people in her care at Brooklyn Birth Center. Her ultimate goal is to provide and advocate for increased access to high-quality health care for everyone, and to become an educator of forthcoming midwives and health care professionals in order to expand the knowledge base.

Margaret Ragen, CM, LM, CLC

Margaret attributes her inspiration to pursue a career in midwifery to the home birth midwives who tended to her care during two pregnancies, and providers in general, who advocate for natural childbirth. Midwifery is a 'third' career, having previous experience in the arts in NYC and Portland, Oregon, and yogic studies in India. In 2013, Margaret began working as a doula at Carriage House Birth, then moved onto graduate school at SUNY Downstate to complete her degree in Midwifery in 2018, including clinical experience at Brookdale Hospital and Jacobi Medical Center. In early 2019, she started at BBC as a birth assistant, and in August joined BMG as a Midwifery Fellow. Margaret is committed to providing and advocating for women’s empowerment, and to supporting families in their right to choose where and how they receive maternal care. She is a member of the NYC Midwives community and of the NYC Chapter of ACNM.

Shayna Eliav, CNM

Shayna became a childbirth educator and doula in 2004 after being inspired by the powerful births experiences of her 2 oldest children. She taught and supported women in labor and birth for over 10 years before returning to school to realize her dream of becoming a midwife. During this time, she also gave birth to another 4 children, the last 3 of whom were born at home. Shayna graduated from Beth Israel School of Nursing in 2016, and received an MS in Midwifery from Thomas Jefferson University in 2019. She has abundant experience in out-of-hospital birth, both as a doula having worked side by side with NYC’s most seasoned midwives and as a midwifery student, having done part of her training with a midwifery practice in New Jersey which attends births in home, hospital and birth center settings. She is excited to join the BBC as a midwifery fellow, where she looks forward to being “with women” by providing holistic care that is respectful, supportive, informative, and caring.

Makeda Rambert, CNM

Makeda’s journey to midwifery began when she attended her first birth in the comfort of a family’s home in New York City. The beauty and serenity that permeated this particular birth is what convinced her to follow her calling into the profession. Makeda was born in Brooklyn, New York, and later moved to Silver Spring, Maryland in her early childhood. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Emory University and later received her Master of Science in Midwifery from Philadelphia University. Makeda is currently studying herbalism under Aviva Romm and, in the future, she plans to integrate this discipline into her midwifery practice. Makeda is excited to return to the New York City area and join the Brooklyn Birthing Center as a Fellow Midwife.

Katherine Rowe, CNM DNP

Kate was born and raised on a farm in New Zealand and spent time living in London and New York before beginning her journey into Midwifery in Seattle in 2016. Kate graduated with her Master of Science in Nursing from Seattle University in 2018 while concurrently starting her Doctorate earlier that year. Kate has spent her time since graduation in reproductive health in Everett, WA while finishing her DNP, and now that she has graduated, Kate is excited to join BBC as a midwifery fellow to pursue her deep passion of birth work. Kate has worked at state and national levels focusing on equity, inclusion, belonging and anti-racism within midwifery and teaches obstetrics in nursing at Everett Community College. In her free time, Kate loves to garden, needlepoint and cook for her family.

Birth Assistants

Carmen Mojica, CPM

Carmen Mojica is Afro-Dominicana born and raised in the Bronx. She is a midwife, writer and reproductive health activist. Carmen trained as a doula in 2010 through a fellowship program with Hudson Perinatal Consortium in Jersey City, NJ. Her epiphany was when she learned of the three-fold higher risk and complications incurred by Latina and Black which alarmed and motivated her to act. She trained at Maternidad La Luz, El Paso, TX, a midwifery school and birth clinic. She is an accomplished primary midwife at over 38 births and has had an active role in over 88 other births. In 2017, she passed the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) exam and became a Certified Professional Midwife. It was due to the pandemic that Carmen suspended her studies to begin working at BBC as a Birth Assistant for its valuable experience in out of hospital birth and choice to women. She aspires to continue expanding education to Black people about their pregnancy and physiologic childbirth and continue her midwifery training

Consulting Obstetricians and Owners

Norma Veridiano, MD, JD, MBA

As co-founder of the Brooklyn Birthing Center in 1999, Norma Veridiano, MD. has guided and supported the birth center in delivering over 1500 babies. In the last 10 years, she has taken active executive positions in the leadership and oversight of the Brooklyn Midwifery Group, Brooklyn Birthing Center and the new opening of the Jazz Birth Center of Manhattan. She is a board certified OB/ GYN, recently retired from performing gyn surgery right up to the time of Covid-19 and from her position as founding partner of a large private practice for over 40 years in Brooklyn. She has been awarded numerous awards in recognition of her care to women over decades, and yearly her yearly mission work globally. The award, however, that she is most proud of receiving is the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) Professional Achievement Award in 2018, Texas, for her active contribution to the advancement of birth centers.

James Ducey, MD, FACOG

James Ducey, MD is a board certified OB / GYN and Perinatologist (high risk specialist). He is Director of both the Division of Maternal / Fetal Medicine and the Center for Women’s Health at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) North Shore LIJ. He will not permit any attending OB physician at SIUH to perform a primary elective cesarean section. He recognizes that the maternal mortality rate in the US is on the rise because of the dramatic increase in unnecessary cesarean sections. Dr. Ducey is available 24/7 for consultation on any question regarding our clients. He reviews all new OB charts, and reviews all client charts at 36 weeks to ensure that clients are eligible to birth at BBC in compliance with our Policies and Procedures.

Specialists and Educators

Tova Ovits, IBCLC

Tova graduated from Pace University with a BA in English. While nursing her youngest child, she read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and discovered how much she didn’t know while nursing her older kids. Tova has been dedicated to providing lactation support ever since. She became a La Leche League Leader and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant to help even more families enjoy a healthy, happy beginning.

Our Dedicated Team at Jazz Birth Center of Manhattan

Interim Midwife Director

Jessica Henman, CNM, CPM

Jessica APRN, CNM, CPM, has been a nurse for over 20 years and received her Master’s degree from Frontier Nursing University in 2010. Prior to becoming a midwife, Jessica worked internationally in humanitarian aid, practiced as a nurse in ER and cardiac surgery, and was a childbirth educator and doula. Jessica owned and led a birth center in MO for 10 years. Jessica is very active in family and church life and supports the midwifery and mothering community through her role on the Boards of the Missouri Affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives and The Sparrows Nest Teen Maternity Home and as a mentor in the New Heights program. She has lived in St Louis for most of her life and loves being a wife and the mother of 3 big kids, spending time with them reading, making music, cooking and of course eating. Jessica is excited to be in NYC to help lead the BBC and Jazz Birth Center to give women safe and enriching birth options.

Senior Midwives

Dr. Susanrachel Condon, LM

Susanrachel Condon is originally from Northwestern NJ. She is a partner at River & Mountain Midwives, a full scope midwifery and home birth practice in the Mid-Hudson Valley. She is also a certified cooperative childbirth educator, a sexual health instructor, and a massage therapy instructor, who has taught broadly in numerous programs and venues throughout the U.S. Susanrachel graduated from the SUNY Brooklyn Midwifery Program in 1998, has served as a clinical preceptor for four midwifery programs, and has served on numerous professional and leadership committees a the local, state, and national levels. She was one of eight graduates in the inaugural class of the Doctorate in Midwifery at Jefferson University, studying the long term impact of conventional maternity care practices on mental health and well being. Her research was centered on consent, collaborative decision-making, overt obstetric violence and subtle, unconscious coercive practices as barriers to respectful care. Susanrachel is actively engaged in healthcare research and is working on reproductive and racial justice projects. She is a mother of three and an avid knitter. While she enjoys very little spare time, she spends most of it in the woods.

Shannyn Dewey, CNM

Shannyn Dewey is a Certified Nurse Midwife from Hudson, NY. She got her Master’s degree in Nursing with a concentration in midwifery from the University of New Mexico in 2017. She obtained her Bachelors of Nursing in 2007 from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She has a strong background working with infants and mothers as a Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive care nurse as well as spending time as a Labor and Delivery nurse. Shannyn loves catching babies and educating new parents during prenatal care in her role as a midwife. She is currently enrolled in a bioregional herbalism course so she can further enrich her relationship with the plants that grow around the Hudson Valley and how they can be useful to women, especially during the childbearing year. She is also passionate about working with mothers who struggle with addiction and looks forward to developing this interest as her career progresses. In her free time, Shannyn enjoys kayaking and biking. She also enjoys hiking in the Catskill mountains with her rescue dog Piñon.

Whitney Hall, CNM

Whitney lives in Hurley, NY. She completed her Masters of Midwifery in 2003 from SUNY Downstate. She has many years of excellent experience in home birth, birth centers, and hospital childbirth. She is an educator and she sits on several committees at the NYS Department of Health and in midwifery professional organizations. Her most recent recognition was her appointment to the NY Governor’s Maternity Covid-19 Task Force. She holds positions as the current elected secretary of the New York State Association of Licensed Midwives and the current president of the New York State Chapter of the American Association of Birth Centers. She is dedicated to her political activism and engages in legislative committees representing midwives at Lobby Day in Albany and Washington, D.C. Her strong efforts in the past 7 years produced the Midwifery Birth Center legislation and its approved regulations providing an alternative birth center that allows midwives as clinical directors.

Jennifer Johnson, CNM

Jennifer became a midwife because it encompasses everything she loves to do and how she wants to make an impact on the world. Originally from Akron, OH, she received her BA in Psychology and Women's Studies from the University of Michigan in 2010. There, she first met a midwife--her favorite Women's Studies professor--and the idea of becoming one was planted. After graduation, she embarked on a backpacking journey in SE Asia, followed by a post-baccalaureate in Boston. She then moved to New York City to attend Columbia University for nursing and midwifery school, and even caught her first baby in the Brooklyn-based hospital where her mother was born! Jennifer became a Certified Nurse Midwife in 2016 and has since worked in home, birth center, and hospital-based settings in NYC, Nashville, TN and Boston, MA. She loves teaching women about their bodies, and advocating for reproductive justice. Jennifer is thrilled to be back in New York City to help open the Jazz Birth Center, especially during a time in history when birth choice feels so critical. She hopes to someday be involved in teaching healthcare provider students of all disciplines about consent-based language, the history of midwifery, and the importance of collaborative practice. In her spare time, Jennifer loves reading, cooking, boxing, traveling, and tending to her plants.

Ximena Rossato-Bennett, CNM

Ximena's journey to midwifery began in 1998 with the birth of her first child at a birth center in New York City. The normalcy of birth had never been a question, but her midwives were role models and the spark of her career journey. Ximena was born in Cordoba, Argentina, and moved with her family to Miami, FL in 1982. She settled in New York City in 1996 and has lived in the Lower East Side ever since. She has two grown children who also live in New York City. She completed her Master’s degree in Nursing at Frontier Nursing University (FNU) with a dual specialty as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Midwife (FNP, CNM). As a midwife, Ximena has worked in the home, a free-standing birth center, and hospital settings. Throughout her clinical career, Ximena has focused on holistic care of the entire family with a particular interest in women's health and reproductive rights. The midwifery model of care has always guided her approach to families and their health. Ximena has been a senior staff midwife at Brooklyn Birthing Center and excited to join the Jazz team to catch babies in Manhattan as well.

Jennifer Seymour, CNM

Jennifer has been learning about birth since 1988, supporting families in the home, birth center, and hospital settings. She holds a BA in Anthropology from Ohio University, a BS in Nursing from Case Western Reserve University, and a Master’s of Science in Nursing from Frontier Nursing University. She is certified in advanced evaluation and management of psychiatric illness in reproductive age women, is a certified breastfeeding educator, and offers care from a functional and holistic health perspective which sees simple lifestyle choices as being the foundation of health. As an active member of the ACNM, AABC, and past board member of the New York affiliate of the ACNM, she strives to serve her Calling on many levels. She’s the owner and Director of Cocoon Wellness and Birth, a clinic set to open this year as the only service to provide obstetrical and same day well-woman care in Tioga County NY in a setting that is nurturing to the staff as well as the clients. A mother of four grown kids including a set of identical twins, she also owns and operates Heron Haven, a small permaculture homestead and wetland preserve where she raises pastured poultry and lots of purple vegetable varieties. She is hoping to one day soon attend the births of mothers whose own births she attended when they themselves were born.

Midwife Fellows

Sarah Logan, CNM

Sarah graduated in January from Frontier Nursing University as a Certified Nurse Midwife. Her entrance into midwifery was born from her experience of living in a cross-cultural setting overseas, a passion to meet an urgent need, and a strong desire to empower women to care well for themselves. She comes from Virginia, where she worked as a Medical-Surgical nurse for seven years. That experience laid the essential foundation for caring for human beings with dignity and a draw toward public health. During that time, she was able to participate in many community health initiatives including refugee resettlement and primary health care trips to the Middle East. Sarah recently began a DNP program with the intention of committing to anti-racist work, provider bias, and decolonization of midwifery. She is passionate about public health education and relationship-based care as a basis for empowerment. She plans to engage in academic teaching and humanitarian travel to support midwives abroad, in addition to actively working toward policy change and reproductive justice in the USA. When not working, she enjoys cooking anything, feeding others, and reading as much as possible.

Latosha Ruiz, CNM

LaTosha Ruiz, CNM, MSN, is a Licensed Midwife. After graduating Cum Laude from the University of Rochester, she began her career focusing on women’s health as a registered nurse working on gynecological, oncological, and obstetrical units in NYC’s leading teaching hospitals. Upon completion of the SUNY Downstate Master of Science Nurse Midwifery program, LaTosha continued working with and for women as an adjunct professor in obstetrics for BSN students at The College of New Rochelle. Her focus is to assist women in effectively managing their physical, mental, and emotional health with her clinical expertise, compassion, empathy, and cultural sensitivity. LaTosha is dedicated to offering women traditional forms of care as well as alternative methods pertinent to their health because women deserve the right to choose a healthcare provider who will assist them in selecting their own course of treatment.
In her spare time, LaTosha enjoys spending time with her husband and four children. She is an avid reader, loves to cook and travel. Additionally, LaTosha, a girl scout herself and now a volunteer with a cumulative time of 22 years, is the leader of a Girl Scout troop of 32 elementary and middle school age girls. She believes in the importance of fostering self-esteem and self-advocacy in the early years of girls as it is essential to lifelong success. LaTosha is dedicated to enriching self-awareness at this crucial stage of a woman’s life.

Allison Sinofsky, CNM

Allison grew up in Massachusetts, where she attended Harvard University and received a BA in Human Evolutionary Biology in 2011. It was here that she studied the evolutionary changes in the female pelvis and ultimately discovered her passion for physiologic birth and midwifery. She later moved to New York City where she completed her nursing and midwifery degrees at Columbia University. Allison became a Certified Nurse Midwife in 2017 and worked for 3 years at a hospital-based practice in the Bronx. As part of Jazz Birth Center, Allison is thrilled to have the opportunity to deepen her appreciation for normal pregnancy, labor, and birth outside the hospital. She strives to provide informed and inclusive care to every patient across their lifespan, and will continue to work for reproductive rights so every woman can have access to a midwife. In her free time, Allison is also a fitness instructor and loves to cook. She enjoys traveling to new places to run (and eat!) with her husband and their dog, Pepper.

Birth Assistant

Talia Page, CLC

Talia first attended University of Colorado to study Mathematics on a scholarship, before realizing that her true calling lay with helping mothers and families. She dove in full heartedly, attending a DONA doula training as well as becoming a Certified Prenatal Yoga instructor and Certified Lactation Counselor. She returned to school and graduated from SUNY Downstate with her bachelor’s in nursing in 2020. Her next goal is to return to school to become a Nurse Midwife. Talia has worked in the Postpartum unit at Mount Sinai West, as well as working with individual families as a doula and through teaching prenatal yoga. Before discovering birth, Talia worked as a childcare provider and found a passion working with families of special needs children for over 10 years. She sees her birth work as an extension of her caregiving experience, and loves learning from each new family she works with.

Sunoz Soroosh, RN

Sunoz "Sunny" Soroosh is a Registered Nurse and a Nurse-Midwifery student at Frontier Nursing University. She was inspired to become a midwife by her grandmother, who was a midwife at the largest public women's hospital in Iran. She is originally from California, and has lived in NYC for 10 years. Sunny has a BA in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor's in Nursing and a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University. She is the recipient of the 2019-2020 NYC Midwives Scholarship, Nurses Educational Funds Scholarship, and Lisa Ross Memorial Scholarship from the American Association of Birth Centers. Sunny has traveled all over the world. She worked as a Birth Assistant at a birth center in Guatemala and at the renowned Holy Family Birth Center on the Texas-Mexico border. She has also been featured in Vogue, Time Out New York, and the Huffington Post for her reproductive rights activism. She is excited to practice as a Birth Assistant at Jazz and continue her journey in midwifery to achieve her career goal to work in out-of-hospital birth both in the US and internationally.

Lauren Hollender, RN

Lauren is a registered nurse from Newton, MA with experience in labor and delivery and emergency nursing. She got her nursing degree at NYU in 2016 and is currently studying to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. Lauren trained at BBC in 2017/2018 and is excited to be back as a birth assistant because she is passionate about physiologic birth and out-of-hospital birth. She is also a doula and a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator. In her free time, Lauren likes biking around the city, cooking, and photography.