Dr. Carol B. Letzter is a dually New York State licensed audiologist and speech-language pathologist. She is also certified by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology.
Dr. Letzter has designed her practice to include the provision of services to infants through geriatric individuals, who may have been affected by a variety of communication difficulties resulting from Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, cerebral vascular accidents (stroke), and other neurologic and/or genetic disorders.
In addition, Dr. Letzter is also a certified special education teacher, which has further contributed to her commitment in helping children and families who have been affected by developmental and learning disorders.
Through her many years of practice, Dr. Letzter has also developed expertise in the evaluation and therapeutic intervention of children, adolescents and adults with dysphagia which has routinely involved the recommendation of modified diets to ensure safe swallowing and adequate nutrition and hydration. During her years in practice, she continues to have difficulty answering one simple question often asked by her patients, “Why does pureed food have to look and taste so bad?” Up until now, Dr. Letzter has not been able to answer that question.
Now she can answer with pride and joy because she is now a co-owner of
Textured Food Innovations which is the only company that is able to provide patients of all ages
with a pureed diet that looks amazing and tastes delicious. Textured Food Innovations allows
Dr. Letzter to practice her profession as a speech pathologist with passion and joy in knowing that her patients are receiving competent therapeutic intervention and will also be able to look forward to meal time once again.
Dr. John Amato, Jr. is a speech-language pathologist who is licensed by New York State and Certified by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. He has over 30 years of clinical and research experience. Dr. Amato is a recipient of the Mimi Katzen Memorial Award for Clinical Excellence, presented by The Long Island Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is a certified provider of the Lee Silverman Voice Therapy Program for individuals with Parkinson's Disease. He is a trained and certified provider of VitalStim therapy for individuals with swallowing disorders which has proven successful for many patients with various forms of dysphagia.
In addition, Dr. Amato is a tenured professor at a leading Long Island university, and has held faculty and research appointments at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Center for Cranio Facial Disorders, as well as within the department of Neurology, at Stony Brook School of Medicine.
Dr. Amato specializes in the evaluation and treatment of adults and children who are experiencing a variety of speech, swallowing, voice, language, and cognitive disorders, as well as those which may be associated with head and neck cancer.
His love for his profession has directed him toward another goal of being able to provide his patients who are experiencing swallowing disorders the opportunity of eating safely while enjoying their meals. Dr. Amato has therefore joined forces with the team of Textured Food Innovations as a
co-owner to ensure that individuals with dysphagia will have the security of knowing that they can experience the joy of eating modified meals that are prepared to facilitate safe swallowing, yet are visually appealing and taste absolutely delicious.
Serving Long Island - Nassau & Suffolk Counties, New York City & The Boroughs
Textured Food Innovations
Textured Food Innovations
The team of Textured Food Innovations is very proud to introduce Mr. Darren Benfell, the developer of our contoured pureed meals. Mr. Benfell is an executive chef with extensive experience in the development of modified textured products for individuals required to consume a modified diet resulting from dysphagia. He is the founder and current owner of Textured Concept Foods located in Australia.
Mr. Benfell’s vision for the last decade is to be able “to provide dignity surrounding all meals for elderly residents living in aged care. “ Mr. Benfell states that “I have come from a hotel/fine dining background and I believe our presentation of foods in aged care should reflect home cooked meals presented with a fine dining too.” This is exactly what he has been doing in Australia. Because of his passion, Mr. Benfell has given the joy of eating back to thousands of people with dysphagia. He has worked extremely hard to “make smooth pureed meals that look great, taste fabulous and still deliver the nutritional quality that clients need”.
Textured Food Innovations is pleased to partner with Mr. Benfell and we are now able to bring his unique contoured pureed meals to the United States with the same passion and enthusiasm.
Matthew Vitale, Executive Chef – Mr. Vitale is a graduate from the prestigious Johnson and Wales University School of Culinary Arts. Mr. Vitale is our Executive Chef and he brings years of culinary expertise and delicious recipes to Textured Food Innovations. He has an extensive background in menu planning for diverse populations, and therefore his recipes are extremely pleasing to individuals of many ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Mr. Vitale has a passion preparing nutritious and beautifully plated meals for individuals with health related and special dietary requirements because he believes everyone should have an opportunity to enjoy mealtime by making every bite delicious.
Paula Montagna, Registered Dietician – Ms. Montagna is recognized for her expertise in the dietary management of patients with a vast array of health problems. She has a special passion for planning nutritious and delicious meals for individuals with dysphagia who are recommended to consume modified textured diets. She has extensive experience in nutrition and life style counseling in a variety of settings. Ms. Montagna works closely with our executive chef to ensure that every meal will provide adequate nutrition for better health and wellness.
Roseann Spatz, Speech Pathologist – Dr. Spatz is a dually certified Speech Pathologist and Audiologist. She has a special interest in evaluating and treating individuals of all ages with swallowing disorders. She has worked in private practice, hospitals, schools and in nursing homes providing swallowing and communication services to individuals with a vast array of neurological and medical conditions. Dr. Spatz works closely with the team of Textured Food Innovations and with a passion to improve nutrition of those individuals requiring modified textured diets. She will also continue as a key member of our research and development team.
Sharon Sisitzky, Information Technology – Sharon Sisitzky has been in the technology field for over 30 years; the first half of her career in the business world and the last half in academia as a Computer Science Professor. Her post-graduate degrees are in Educational Technology. Ms. Sisitzky develops new strategies and technology procedures to increase efficiency, enhance workflow and improve customer satisfaction. In addition, she protects customer data from outside infiltration through encryption, secure data storage and other necessary means. She has a personal place in her heart as she has been a caregiver to her father who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and her husband who suffered from Parkinson’s Disease. At the end stage of both of their lives, each had dysphagia and would have benefited greatly from the wonderful meals that Textured Food Innovations offers.
Barbara Zilbert, Support Coach – Ms. Zilbert is a graduate of the University of Miami and holds a degree in counseling. Ms. Zilbert's passion for helping others enables her to provide the resources and guidance to individuals in need of support services. Ms. Zilbert is a support coach for Textured Food Innovations and provides coaching for our caregiver and client support groups and services.
It is with the same heartfelt passion that bonds our team together;
to keep our mission strong and our promise upheld
to ensure that individuals with dysphagia enjoy mealtime once again.
Joe Caruso, Culinary Production - Mr. Caruso joins Textured Food Innovations as a member of our culinary production team. Joe has been working within the culinary industry for many years and brings his talents to Textured Food Innovations through his leadership and organizational skills.