Meet the Team
Founder & Executive Director
Like a lot of people, Jenna's got a busy life and bustling household. She's a sunshine lover, addicted to organic gardening, a mother to a toddler, and can't stop tinkering in the kitchen. And she certainly knows what it's like to have to get a meal on the table in a half hour, sometimes with no plan and few ingredients. But with a bit of creativity, some basic pantry staples, and self-taught culinary skills, she knows how to feed her family a home-cooked, nutritious meal. Her goal is to help others learn to do the same - to feed their families balanced and delicious meals. She wants to help people break free from the doldrums/inconvenience/intimidation/budget constraints of home cooking and find joy, happiness, and confidence in meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparation. Food security is more than just having food. It's about having the skills and tools to put healthy meals on our plates.
Shakeenna is a teacher, counselor, healer and business owner. She's passionate about bridging the esoteric and familiar. Her joy is seeing/feeling the light turn on with people when they get a connection! Experiencing food with others and sharing recipes is a love of hers and why she's excited to serve as a Board Member for Uncomplicated Kitchen. She's enjoyed witnessing Jenna’s passion in serving people through her love of food and believes that cooking with wholesome food on a budget is a vital life lesson that will support our health and finances.
Board Vice President
Tiffany Henry is a native of Jackson County where she's dedicated her career to the economic growth and sustainability of the region. She's the Small Business Center Director at SCC and also owns 828 Escape Room and 828 Custom Printing with her husband. She's thrilled to be a part of the Uncomplicated Kitchen team and helping to impact the lives of the community by being a part of the solution! She believes Uncomplicated Kitchen's work is critical to addressing our community’s health and food insecurity by serving those that are under-served. Teaching them and giving them the confidence they need to make healthier choices is really important to her.
Barbara Ballentine, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Biology. Before joining WCU, Dr. Ballentine earned a BS in Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1996), a MS in Zoology at Auburn University (2000) and a PhD in Biology at Duke University (2007). She worked as a post-doc at the University of Miami and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Dr. Ballentine joined WCU in 2013.
Board Member & Nutrition Expert
Nilofer is a Registered Dietician and the Clinical Nutrition Manager at Cherokee Indian Hospital in Cherokee, NC. She's dedicated her career to helping people make better food choices and her work with Uncomplicated Kitchen fits right in with her passion for nutritious eating.
Jennie Ashlock has lived in Sylva for 15 years and enjoys supporting the local food culture through the Community Garden, Farmer's Market, and her home garden. Procuring, preparing and enjoying delicious, healthy food is a passion worth supporting through Uncomplicated Kitchen. When not in the garden, she can be found advising Health Science students at Southwestern Community College, visiting family and friends or wandering a trail in the woods.
Board Member & Marketing Guru
Dorian is the the founder of CatLadyBox (a subscription box for cat ladies and their cats) and a career-long marketing dork/genius/expert. She admittedly doesn't cook, which may sound odd coming from someone who is part of Uncomplicated Kitchen, but it’s actually perfect. She's known Jenna for more than 20 years, and when Jenna told her about starting Uncomplicated Kitchen, she was immediately able relate and see the need. She's excited to be part of this project to help making cooking easy, accessible, and fun for those who maybe don’t quite know how to fit healthy eating into their schedule or budget.