My fiance, Bruce, and I ventured to Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen for a “Light & Fresh Paleo Cooking” class. To me, chefs have super powers beyond my reach and the team at Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen are culinary superheros.
We were the second couple to arrive at their Atherton Market space so we got a chance to see the pre-production in full swing. Andrew Wilen, the master marketer and operations whiz, helped classmates check in and get settled. Chef Alyssa Gorelick and her assistant, Gloria, prepared appetizers (sauteed Swiss chard with five-spice, organic ground beef) for us to nosh on.
What we cooked up:
Wild-caught Wahoo wrapped in a banana leaf paired with ginger and cucumber salad, plus Yucca chips with cilantro and lime. For dessert, we made raspberry mousse with almond crumble. Hungry yet? It took about two and a half hours to make the dishes. The food was out of this world.
Gorelick walked us through every step from her kitchen at the front, sharing useful tidbits along the way about ingredients and more. We learned where to find the ingredients, the best places to find them, how to store them and, of course, the best way to cook them.
We also learned the chef’s history:
After culinary school, Gorelick spent years in kitchens around Charlotte and a few months in Italy honing her skills. One of her instructors-turned-mentor, Joe Bonaparte, who helped spearhead the farm-to-fork and Slow Food movement, solidified her’s passion for local and healthy food. As she pursued her culinary career, she sought out restaurants and chefs that shared that vision. Gorelick worked at Halcyon with Marc Jacksina and then as executive chef at Fern.
She started dating Wilen (who then worked for LivingSocial Adventures) and the two brought Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen into being. Almost two years later (their official anniversary is mid-August), the pair have held a total of 153 classes for more than 3,000 people.
What’s next for this culinary dream team:
Wilen hinted there are a couple of surprises they are working on that we can expect to hear about later this year. For the short term, they want to continue to offer more classes, (like knife skills!), and add more team-building events. Later this fall, they will offer Kids Cooking Class birthday parties as well as parent-child classes.
Gorelick joked that while Wilen was working at LivingSocial, he was always trying to get her to teach a cooking class but she brushed the idea off with no interest. She is happy to say that she changed her tune.
– Kids culinary camp starting June 22.
– The monthly summer dinners hosted by Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen, Relish Carolina and Sarah Crosland. The last two are July 28 and August 25 (see Relish Carolina’s website for details). Bring on the dinner party!
Photos by Abby Miressi.
Abby Miressi is obsessed with the Charlotte startup scene and loves anything that involves culture, community and chocolate.