Kindertown's Very Own: Chef Alyssa!

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Hello!

 My name is Alyssa, the Chef here at Kindertown and I’d love to tell you a few things about myself!

For me, cooking was always a natural curiosity, but it was at the young age of seven that I realized it was something I loved. After refusing to eat the hamburger helper left out for dinner, I prepared, cooked and served my first roasted chicken dinner. From this moment on, I found myself preferring to cook, alongside my grandmother, for family holidays, dinners and weekend brunches. It was during this time that I learned a lot of my favourite recipes, many of which I still use today.

My first job was at a local general store in my small hometown of Florence, Ontario. My job was something between working cook and store clerk, a blessing in disguise really, as it gave me insight to both sides of the hospitality industry. While mastering my bacon and eggs flipping skills, I also learned the importance of customer service.

However, it wasn’t until I moved to Niagara in 2009, that a whole new world opened up to me. All those time honored techniques learned from my Grandmother now had specific terms and techniques. I became exposed to a whole range of cultures, tastes, textures and smells, allowing me to learn more about my strengths and weaknesses. Along with this newfound knowledge of food, I also gained a deep understanding of the importance in living a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally.

My passion for cooking was eventually rewarded when I was chosen as one of the top culinary students in my program, granting me a coveted spot in a piloted fast track program for a Cooks Apprenticeship. This included both, a certificate for culinary management, and a completed schooling portion. This opportunity meant that after an apprenticeship with a certified chef, I would be able to write my Red Seal Test. In 2015, after three years of hard work, long hours and plentiful learning experiences, I finally acquired my Red Seal.

Both during and after this time, I have helped open restaurants like Wienkeller in Niagara Falls, Café Sito in St. Catherine’s, and became a key member of an inspiring farm to table, all woman Chef brigade at Honsberger Estate Winery in Jordan Station.

All these experiences helped me to become the chef I am today. I realized that beyond the taste, smells and flavors, my true passion was creating healthy, nutritious dishes that will do more than just taste good, but also inform and inspire.

This is also the reason why I chose to come to Kindertown. Their dedication to providing healthy home cooked meals, access to a massive urban garden, and a willingness to let me explore and create, provided me with that same passion and excitement I first felt when the culinary world opened up to me. I am excited to learn more about your child’s nutrition, share knowledge of healthy eating habits and help teach the children to make good, nutritional choices!

My kitchen door is always open, please don’t be shy and come say hi!

Any questions, suggestions or comments are always welcome, and I look forward to learning, growing and getting to know all of you!

Chef Alyssa

Paul Russumanno