Meet the team dedicated to helping you cook healthful meals at home.
Hollywood Store Manager
Erin Leiker hails from Kansas City, where she lived until 2003. She fell in love with the natural landscapes and bounty that the Pacific Northwest has to offer 15 years ago, and has called Portland home ever since.
Erin has found her professional home in the local grocery community, where she has the opportunity to invest in her life passions – getting to explore the diversity of culture and people by learning about different ingredients and cooking techniques. This strengthens her ability to guide customers’ approach to food and creates an authentic dialogue to explore, educate, and learn from their experiences.
In her free time, Erin likes to express herself through music and cooking, which she shares with friends and loved ones. Two of her favorite cuisines are Asian and Middle Eastern fare. When you get a chance, make sure to say hi and share your food experiences with Erin!
Nutrition Education Coordinator
After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science and Dietetics, Christi Reed found her niche at her local natural foods store. With nearly 20 years of experience in the industry, she has spent the last 15 leading grocery store tours, teaching nutrition classes and helping shoppers find foods and recipes to meet their nutrition goals. Christi finds joy in feeding people and especially loves offering solutions to those with restricted diets. Her latest food related hobby is growing her own backyard garden.
Originally hailing from the deep south, Registered Dietitian Ansley Hill started her collegiate experience in Hawaii, where she nurtured her enthusiasm for experiencing different cultures and lifestyles and strengthened her innate sense that food is a common bond that overcomes cultural barriers. After finishing her nutrition degree at Georgia State University, she found her way to Portland, Oregon, practicing nutrition therapy and education to those with chronic disease. Her food philosophy is centered upon the notion that healthy food should be accessible to everyone, regardless of food preferences, cooking skill level, cultural background, or socioeconomic status. As a Basics team member, Ansley is a purveyor of all things delicious (and nutritious) and empowers individuals to make informed decisions on how to nourish themselves while still maintaining a unique sense of self.
Frequently attending food festivals where her parents cooked, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Kayla Petersen loved food and cooking from a young age. Her passion grew through the years, and she was inspired to study nutrition as a way to use those skills to benefit others’ health. At Basics, Kayla is excited to continue building on her experience in retail nutrition education, because she feels the best place to teach people about food is where they shop. Her goal is that clients leave class with increased confidence in their ability to plan and prepare nutrient-dense meals, and even come up with their own recipe substitutions when they find they’ve run out of an ingredient.
After working as a Registered Dietitian in retail nutrition for 8 years, Jessica Martini received her master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in 2016. Jessica loves blending current science with applicable and attainable personal actions. Being a Registered Yoga Teacher has helped guide her nutrition approach towards mindfulness and wholistic-thinking. Her love of nutrition began in natural food stores, and she even opened one at OHSU hospital in 2008. She has almost 10 years of experience teaching culinary and nutrition skills to adults and children via two local community colleges, the Portland VA Hospital, OHSU, the FIT Project nonprofit, Saturday Academy, Cooking Matters, and other area organizations. Jessica loves sharing skills for creating healthy meals at home and helping people make sense of conflicting nutrition information in the media. She believes everyone has the potential to find realistic and sustainable healthy food behaviors that they can incorporate into their unique everyday routines.
Growing up around large gardens and small farms, Sam Maggi explores world cuisines through inspired use of home-grown produce. His ongoing involvement in a local community garden has fostered a keen appreciation for the NW’s bounty and he appreciates the relationships he’s forged with fellow gardeners while wrestling tomato cages, swapping recipes, and sharing successful growing techniques. Formerly, a chef at Oregon Health and Sciences University, his menus emphasize good health and nutrition through food. Sam believes that fresh food always tastes better and knowing where the ingredients are sourced adds value.
Kathryn Bliss is a Native Northwesterner. As such, she studied culinary arts here and is among the first alumni of celebrity Portland chef Horst Mager’s Culinary Institute. She is an avid gardener, beekeeper, raises chickens and tends her orchard. A culinary educator and practicing culinarian she is a veteran restaurateur and hospitality industry entrepreneur. She enjoys traveling, hiking and fitness training. Kathryn loves sharing her knowledge of healthy food that tastes great and is easy and fun to prepare.
Nathan Ball has lived in the Pacific Northwest for 28 years. He grew up outside Bellingham, WA surrounded by sustainable fisheries, local ranches, farms and dairies and later moved to Portland, OR. His passion for food production started at a young age – when he was just 9 he would help his mother make herbal-infused vinegars, which he loved to drink!
Nathan has been working in the natural meat industry for over 12 years. He’s done on-site butchery at farms, and gained valuable knowledge from hands-on experience in the industry and working directly with some of the best meat professionals in Portland. At Basics, be loves to share his in-depth knowledge of meat cuts, cooking tips and favorite recipes. At home, Nathan enjoys cooking with his lovely wife and teaching his boys the beginning lessons of cooking and processing meat. His favorite dishes to cook are tacos and blackened steelhead with his homemade spice mix and a remoulade sauce made with his very own fermented pickles.
Michael Wolff brings to Basics nearly two decades of natural foods retail experience and leadership. With an emphasis on building healthy teams, happy customers and strong community connections (he enjoys volunteering for Loaves and Fishes and supporting Portland Public Schools), Michael’s people-first approach helps create environments where people want to work and shop. An avid home cook, Michael learned skills alongside his grandparents and parents, and now makes healthy meals with his wife and sons. Pizza grilled on the barbecue and tomatillo pork tacos are two of his favorites.
Passionate about fresh and indigenous ingredients, Fernando Divina is the creative director and executive chef at Basics. His recipes draw a wealth of knowledge and know-how as a chef, culinary educator and cookbook author. Most recently he was executive chef at Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) and taught patients and staff to cook nourishing, delicious meals through workshops at the OHSU Center for Health and Healing. A sustainable sourcing advocate, Fernando is happiest in the kitchen, making delicious meals and teaching others to do the same.
Director of Nutritional Programming
Growing up on her family’s Oklahoma farm, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Lindsay Brown became inspired by food and how it could be used to enhance health. Motivated to feed this interest and the desire to help others, she earned a master’s degree in nutritional science and dietetics and went on to work in the medical field and then in collegiate athletics educating athletes how to tap into nutrition to maximize performance. At Basics, she’s building a nutrition program to teach people how to nourish themselves, designing classes that nurture those with common health issues and teach the power of nutrition as preventative medicine.
Joel Dahll is one of the most experienced, selective grocery buyers in the Pacific Northwest. For more than 30 years, he has discovered and supported top West Coast farmers and makers, introducing their products to a generation of natural foods shoppers. At Basics, Joel sources pantry staples, produce, supplemental dairy and other items that round out the stores’ healthy offerings. Passionate about fitness and committed to the region where he has lived his whole life, Joel is proud to leverage his experience in order to build Basics’ network of thriving West Coast partners and increase access to fresh, healthy food.
A Basics brand steward, Meredith Eggert contributes to store development, design, marketing and community outreach to help keep Basics as focused as possible on what matters: increasing access to healthy foods and helping more people cook at home. Beyond the store, Meredith mentors youth, and manages our partnerships with local elementary schools and food banks, helping share extra food from our farms and operations with local families and students.
Chuck Eggert has attracted an experienced collective of farmers, retail experts and brand builders to launch Basics, a new type of small-footprint grocery working to promote the role of fresh food and cooking in nurturing health and wellness. Organic farmer, regenerative ag practitioner, natural foods pioneer, Chuck is committed to increasing access to locally grown, nourishing foods; partnering with health professionals to strengthen the role of food as medicine; and helping nurture rural communities by investing in new agricultural-rooted enterprises.