The Table Foundation History
Inspired by the vision of Fr. Leo Patalinghug, host and founder of Plating Grace – an apostolic movement to strengthen relationships through the family meal – The Table Foundation seeks to serve as a charitable organization to broaden the outreach of feeding people’s bodies, minds and souls. The history and tradition of all religions has shown how the simple act of feeding people can promote peace and harmony and bring about the loving presence of God. This human reality, beautifully captured in the sacred traditions of Roman Catholic teaching, shows that food is the most universal language of all. The gift of food, along with eating the right food, can help sinners become saints! The Table Foundation is the place that will connect our families to build up our human race family.
Father Leo Patalinghug
The founder and Chairman
Father Leo is a Catholic priest member of a community of consecrated life, Voluntas Dei (Latin phrase that means “The Will of God”). He is from Baltimore and is the host and founder of Grace Before Meals, a movement to strengthen families and communities around the dinner table. He is the host of the TV cooking program, Savoring Our Faith, host and contributor for radio programs, an internationally renowned speaker and author of popular cookbooks and inspirational materials. He has been featured on national and international media outlets, including the Cooking Channel and on the Food Network show, Throwdown! with Bobby Flay. Fr. Leo is excited for the many new ways that the world can be changed through the power of food and faith.
Jenifer Berrigan Besh is a recovering attorney who now stays busy taking care of her husband, Chef John Besh, and their four beautiful sons, as well as volunteering. Jenifer graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Arts and Loyola Law School in New Orleans. Jenifer serves on the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture Advisory Board, the Archdiocese of New Orleans Catholic Women in Action, the St. Tammany Parish Commission of Cultural Affairs and the St. Margaret Mary School Board. She also volunteers to help the Chef John Besh Foundation and the Northshore Court Foundation and is active in her children’s schools and their parish. Her involvement in The Table Foundation stems from a great friendship with Fr. Leo and with her firsthand experience of how food, family and faith go together.
Mike is the CEO and President of Baldwin Homes, Inc., an award-winning company that builds “Green” and energy efficient multi-family, single family production and custom homes throughout Anne Arundel County and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, while performing historical restoration and remodeling. In addition to The Table Foundation, he is involved in the Boards of Home Innovation Research Labs, the Anne Arundel County Chapter Maryland Building Industry Association and Hancock’s Restoration Advisory Board. He and his wife Gina live with their children Michael, Amanda and Cecelia in Crownsville, MD. Mike became involved with The Table Foundation after experiencing a special meal provided for his family by Fr. Leo to support another charity and saw the opportunity to make an impact in the lives of many through food and faith.
Rev. Collin Poston
Fr. Collin Poston is the current pastor of St. Anthony Shrine and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parishes in Emmitsburg and Thurmont, MD, and Adjunct Spiritual Director at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. He is also involved with local medians a correspondent and blogger, including regular contributions to www.catholicreview.org. His interest in food (especially steamed crabs with Old Bay) and culture are amoung the reasons why he is a proud member and Chaplain for The Table Foundation. Fr. Poston credits Fr. Leo for helping him in his journey to become a priest, and invited Fr. Leo to be the homilist at Fr. Poston’s first official Mass at the historic Grotto of Lourdes in Emmitsburg, MD, after his ordination.
Most Rev. Gregory L. Parkes
The Most Rev. Gregory L. Parkes was ordained and installed as the Fifth Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee on June 5, 2012, having been appointed to the position by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, on March 20, 2012. Prior to entering the seminary, he worked in the banking industry in Tampa. He attended St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach from 1993-1996 and the Pontifical North American College in Rome from 1996-2000. He holds a Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University (1998) and a Canon Law (J.C.L.) degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University (2000). He was ordained a priest of the Orlando diocese by Bishop Norbert Dorsey on June 26, 1999.
Bishop Parkes has been a member of the Table Foundation Board for approximately one year. He has stated that his involvement with this foundation is based on his belief that we need “to feed those who feed and serve us in the food and hospitality industry, and to recognize the value and dignity that sharing a meal together provides to the family and our culture.”
Dr. Linda Tribuzio
Dr. Tribuzio earned her doctorate in Administration, Policy and Urban Education at Fordham University. After 14 years as an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Mercy College in the Bronx, New York, she presently serves as a faculty member at Wagner College in New York City. She has presented at international conferences yearly since 2011 and has worked extensively with underserved groups and those with learning disabilities. She has been dedicated to education in the South Bronx as a volunteer at St. Ann’s (Episcopal) After School, summer garden/nutrition classes and Summer Freedom School.
Dr. Tribuzio met Fr. Leo on a Pilgrimage through New York in 2014. She was excited to reconnect with Fr. Leo about the opportunity to be a member of The Table Foundation Board as she believes in the great impact The Table Foundation can have using the power of food to evangelize. She dedicates her service to The Table Foundation Board to her grandmother Angelina Tribuzio, a superb cook and mother of eight, with whom she picked dandelions for salad in her Farmington, CT hometown.
Joe and Mary Barbera
A Native of Chicago, Illinois, Proprietor Joe Barbera and his wife Mary opened AIDA Bistro in 2002, starting with original recipes that Joe’s mother (Aida) brought from her family in Italy.
Their passion for great food and wine is reflected in their philosophy, “Wine is Food,” and shows with their diverse and progressive wine list, and the largest Wine on Tap program in Maryland. Joe has worked with local farmers and producers. The restaurant has received honors and recognition from area diners for best chef, server, bartender, Italian food, wine list, dessert and seafood.
Joe is on the Restaurant Association of Maryland (RAM) Board as its Chairman, is past President of Howard County Tourism Board of Directors and is Chairman of the Board of Blossoms of Hope, a 501C3.
Both are also involved in St. Louis Parish in Clarksville, Maryland. Joe and Mary have raised five children, all whom at one time or another have been employed at AIDA Bistro.
Steven W. Allbright
Culinary Director/ Administrator
Chef Steve is the Administrator and Culinary Directory of The Table Foundation, he is a two time graduate of Stratford University with a Advanced Culinary Degree and Baking & Pastry Arts Degree, graduating with honors. He is 2015 BIC Scholarship recipient. He has previously worked at PF Changs, The Capital Grille, Northwest Hospital, City Seeds and Iron Rooster before coming to The Table Foundation. He is a member of the American Culinary Federation and it’s local Baltimore Chapter. He is a honorably discharged decorated US Navy Veteran and as well as a “Returning Citizen” who was incarcerated in The Maryland Department of Corrections for 6 years and was released in 2014. Chef Steve was introduced to Father Leo while he was in search of a Culinary Assistant and believes it was divine intervention that led to their meeting.
Chef Linda Vogler is the Executive Chef and Director of Culinary Training at Light House of Annapolis, A Homeless Prevention Support Center. She has a BA from Limestone College and an AA from Horry – Georgetown Tech Community College. Chef Linda began her career as Executive Chef for Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, NC before founding the Community Culinary School of Charlotte; a nonprofit dedicated to helping adults overcome barriers to employment. She worked at DC Central Kitchen before beginning the Light House training program in 2011.
Among Chef Linda’s awards are: The MLK Keeper of the Dream Award, Women Chefs and Restaurateurs “Woman who Inspires Community Services,” Award and Chef of the Year, Charlotte Chapter of American Culinary Federation. She lives on the Chesapeake Bay with husband, Phil Brentwood and their dog, Dharma. .