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Charlotte Spotlight

Chef Alyssa's Kitchen

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A spotlight with a local expert who brings a delicious, and fun way to explore Charlotte. Meet the rockstars behind Chef Alyssa's Kitchen!

Meet Andrew and Alyssa, the masterminds behind Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen, the cooking classes that are teaching Charlotteans how to bake, chop and whisk faster than you can you can say bon appetit. Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen provides hands-on instruction by Chef Alyssas herself, that will leave you feeling ready to take on Gordon Ramsay.

Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen Q&A: Andrew and Alyssa

Question: Introduce yourself!

Andrew: My name is Andrew Wilen, and I'm the co-owner of Chef Alyssa's Kitchen in Charlotte, NC. I grew up outside of Baltimore and have been in Charlotte since 2008. Professionally, I've worked in sports, marketing and event planning. I'm active in Charlotte and love outdoor exercise. 

Question: Why did you decide to open your own business?

Andrew: My wife, (Chef Alyssa), and I wanted to create a business of our own that we could do together. Our hours and our previous jobs were opposite. I was working in event management and Alyssa was the chef at a local restaurant. We wanted to find a business we believed in to spend more time together. So we created one!

Question: What is your most popular dish to make and what is your own personal favorite to make?

Alyssa does most of the cooking! Our most popular classes are Italian and Thai. At home, you'll find me on the grill or making breakfast on the weekends.

Question: What is your favorite part about teaching people how to cook?

Chef Alyssa is the one leading everyone through the class and instruction. I'm just along for the ride. But the moments, when guests tell us that they've recreated Chef Alyssa's recipes at home are always the ones that are most impactful.

Question: What does your brand mean to you?

Everything. Our brand is our identity and we do our best to bring our own moral compasses and ideals into our brand. Our hope is our brand represents us, our staff and our customers in a passionate and kind way.

Question: What would you want someone to know going into a cooking class with Chef Alyssa?

Don't worry, you're all in the same boat! Sometimes, guests are nervous because it's their first cooking class and they do not think they know much. First, we always find people underestimate their cooking ability. Yes, when you compare yourself to the folks on Food Network you're gonna feel less! But if you come into a class with an open mind to try new recipes and experiment with ingredients, you'll have fun AND learn along the way. That and our class is completely hands-on. Get ready to prep.

Question: A message for locals?

Don't just shop local, because you want to help the local economy. Shop local because it many cases, it is better! Especially with food. In many cases, a reason ingredients costs more is because they are natural and the producer has not been able to reduce their own costs but adding preservatives. Take the opportunity to speak to the producers, growers and makers. When you feel their enthusiasm and passion for their craft, you will be excited to try their offerings.

Interested in trying out your awesome cooking skills with Chef Alyssa or just want to try something new? Check out Chef Alyssa’s public classes here and if you’re looking to plan an epic team outing or private event, you can check out their private event offerings here!

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