For Alyssa Wilen, or “Chef Alyssa,” cooking is all about connections. Connecting with people as she teaches cooking skills through her ever-popular weekly classes. Connecting with local farmers as she plans menus for her to-go lunches and family table meals. And connecting with staff as she brainstorms ideas for seasonal recipes, kids’ culinary camps and expansion of her virtual classes – named one of the best by Food & Wine Magazine.
“I love when people tell me that something I taught changed how they think about food or how a class gave them more confidence in the kitchen,” Wilen says.
A Charlotte native, Wilen’s career combines her love of creative arts and fine food. After working for 12 years in the restaurant industry and being named an executive chef at 26, she opened Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen in 2013 with husband Andrew. The goal: to create a comfortable social environment where guests learn to cook and eat well.
In 2018, they moved to a larger, custom-designed space in lower South End. Classes are offered at five ability levels and range from basic meals bootcamps to Mediterranean street food. Virtual classes can be purchased online and viewed anytime.
Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen also offers an assortment of boxed and bulk lunch options, made fresh daily for pickup or delivery, as well as family dinners and seasonal holiday meals to go, crafted with care and local ingredients. “We’re putting wonderful food in a togo form and sending you food we love,” Wilen says.
As the business has continued to grow, so have Wilen’s awards. But while the recognition is nice, the mom of two just wants people to experience wholesome food. “It’s easy to get great food on the table,” she says. “And I love teaching people how to do that.”
Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen
4001-C Yancey Road, #100, Charlotte, NC 28217