We are a team of Chefs, educators, event designers, and project managers that work together to plan and deliver exceptional culinary experiences for youth and adults alike. Our classes are built upon passion (for cooking), love (for food), and celebration (in the kitchen).
Vanessa Silva, Founder & Chef Instructor
Teaching style: passionate, spirited, innovative, entertaining, playful
Vanessa’s involvement with food started early, in her grandmother’s kitchen back in Brazil, making aioli and shaping gnocchi by hand. Vanessa went on to get a degree in Food Engineering and a Masters in Holistic Nutrition. Vanessa’s passion for food and nutrition stems from the core beliefs that it bridges us as individuals to community and environment, that it is a gift and medicine, and that it can be a rooting element to our health. These beliefs - and the joy that comes with them - are her motivation to share her work with students, friends and family.
Alicia Faris, Head Chef & Director of Education
Teaching Style: holistic, optimistic, lively, restaurant-style teaching methods
Alicia is a holistic nutritionist and culinary educator who finds time spent cooking and sharing nourishing meals the best kind of medicine. Her grandmother's humble southern biscuits inspired a decades-long culinary journey working at critically acclaimed restaurants from coast to coast, eventually landing her in Oakland where she often finds herself shepherding tweens and teens on their culinary journeys - from sustainable foraging to whole animal butchery!
Eliza Martin, Chef Instructor (Specialty: Competitions)
Teaching Style: dedicated, resourceful, enthusiastic, patient, intuitive, constructive, caring
Have you heard of the Food Network's Chopped? Well, Chef Eliza is a Chopped Champion! Eliza has over 10 years of experience working in restaurants all over the country. Her culinary adventures igniting in New York City where she studied at the Institute of Culinary Education and worked at the Rachael Ray Show, Saveur Magazine, and multiple high-end catering companies and restaurants. Sponsored by the James Beard Foundation, she was brought to Chicago to serve as their first of many Women in Culinary Leadership. She worked in Indian and Creole restaurants, then, launched her own catering company and aqua ponic farming company. She then came to California to work as executive chef of an Italian restaurant, and fell in love with teaching the joy of cooking.
Book a Cooking Competition to learn from an expert competitor!
Jessie Welsh, Director of Events & Chef Instructor
Teaching style: detailed, personable, sincere, supportive
Jessie's guidine principle is doing impactful work with good people. She blends creativity, critical thinking, and process to design unique and memorable client experiences. After completing her B.S. in Business at UC Berkeley, she followed her passion for transforming big ideas into reality at LinkedIn where she worked in events, sales and project management. Her passion for working with youth weaves throughout her life from serving as foster care advocate to guiding sea kayaking trips. With over 7 years of expereince in event design, she's dedicated to building meaningful events that not only teach, but empower. Certifications: Foster Youth Advocate; Disability Awareness; Child Abuse Prevention; First Aid/CPR.
Rachel Gray, Culinary Events Associate & Chef Instructor
Teaching Style: fun, upbeat, encouraging
Did you grow up dreaming of being a chef? Well so did Rachel! Her collegiate path led her to food and catering communities in San Francisco. After graduation, Rachel continued working in the restaurant industry and as an event planner with Bi Rite Community Market. Her passion was stoked for helping businesses, families and friends plan amazing and delicious custom events around gourmet creations. Rachel also loves teaching virtual cooking classes, and studying cookbooks to learn and create new recipes!
Thomas Luu, Education Program Coordinator & Chef Instructor
Teaching Style: fun, patient, easy-going, student-centered, relaxed
Thomas has a B.A. in early childhood and adolescent development from SFSU. He has been teaching preschool children for over 6 years, ages 6 months to 5 years. He’s always had a passion for cooking from his parents since a young age and has experience working in a bakery here in SF. Combining his passion for cooking and fostering young minds, he finds it important that we connect kids to learning about making healthy choices and find a greater appreciation for food.
Madison Moore, Staffing Manager & Chef Instructor
Teaching Style: nutrition-focused, compassionate, a cheerleader for new cooks
Madison is a Culinary Arts enthusiast teaching from Central Texas! Growing up in a "foodie family" inspired her to start a custom cake business at the age of 10, and attend Central Texas College to become a Chef. She recently graduated with her Master's of Nutrition from the University of Houston, and has a passion for balancing both healthy and comfort food while catering to food allergies and different learning styles. She believes food is a powerful "love language," and wants everyone to experience the joy of cooking!
Samantha King, Chef Instructor
Teaching Style: fun-loving, energetic, playful, down to earth
Chef King is a chef from Queens, NY who now resides in Rhode Island where she founded the first Culinary Arts program for her local middle school's network. Chef King has been in the restaurant industry for over 7 years and now uses her time to educate others and care for her plants. She has a wealth of knowledge she is eager to share!
Jonah, Events Intern & Chef Instructor
Teaching Style: patient, calm, supportive, relaxed
Jonah is a current high school student who has a deep interest in food, nutrition, wellness, and overall health. His love for cooking stemmed from his family, and he's been in the kitchen since he was able to hold a fork! To him, food represents health, family, stories, experiences, and joy. He loves getting to share this with others at Culinary Artistas!
Catherine Fallis, Master Sommelier
Master Sommelier Catherine Fallis is the founder of Planet Grape® LLC, a wine consulting firm providing content, reviews, corporate & private tastings, restaurant wine program development, and speaking services. She founded Planet Grape Wine Review, and her latest book is Ten Grapes to Know, The Ten and Done Wine Guide. Ask us about our custom wine pairings for your next virtual class!
Looking for more?