Who We Are

Seattle Cucina Cooking School remains a uniquely engaging and educational culinary experience because of our passionate teachers! Our team is always growing, learning, and critically engaging with new teaching methods and topics. If you are interested in working with us or have any general inquiries about who we are, please email whatscooking@seattlecucina.com

Meet the Teachers

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Brian Desmond

Brian became interested in food systems after deciding to go vegetarian in high school. Subsequently, he followed his interest in sustainable food production, working at organic farms and community gardens and later becoming a prep chef at a vegan restaurant. Currently, he is studying plant biology at the University of Washington with plans to apply his familiarity with botany to sustainable food production. In his free time, he enjoys playing stringed instruments, walking, volunteering for food-oriented projects, and spending quality time with friends.

 
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Emily Roskey

Emily is a food obsessed adventurer and explorer. As an experiential educator, social justice advocate, and yoga teacher, she hopes to guide eaters to experience vitality and wellness through food. She approaches the kitchen with her passion for the natural environment and creative arts, believing that food is a fun and elemental way to deepen our understanding of our health, environment, and community.

 
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Gabriella St.George

Gabriella is from Brooklyn, NY and is a Culinary Arts and Food Studies graduate from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. She is a slightly obsessed foodie who has experience in food writing, food photography, culinary education, and food research and development for manufacturing companies. Gabriella is also the founder of Symbio Foods, a food company that creates food products which promote sustainability and a more nutritious diet. She loves to travel, eat, and learn about the global foodshed.

 
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Jessie Burnside Clapp

A professional cook and pastry chef with over 10 years of kitchen experience, Jessie comes to Seattle Cucina with a passion for improving food accessibility and education. Jessie has worked at noted Seattle restaurants Canlis and Stoneburner, and has multiple years of experience training groups of adults and children in food safety and vegetarian nutrition. As a volunteer, she has worked with nonprofits on food sourcing and food justice, and even co-written a cookbook. In her free time, Jessie enjoys reading, singing with her choir, and lovingly pruning her 20+ houseplants.

 
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Kat Kavanagh

Kat is from San Jose, California and graduated with dual bachelor of arts degrees in business marketing and urban planning from the University of Washington. She is passionate about social justice, the culinary arts, community development, and holistic health & wellness. Kat enjoys spending time exploring out of doors, writing and reading poetry, playing music, and practicing yoga. She loves working with kids and cultivating creativity & evoking imagination through critical thinking, food, and art!

 
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Luke Henkel

Luke is a passionate traveler, explorer, writer, environmental justice advocate and a lifelong learner in the school of life. He enjoys crossing over into other cultures, with all that entails: learning about other cultures' foods, people, perspectives, languages, histories, and mysteries. He enjoys teaching, writing, yoga and running, languages, coffee, whole/natural foods, long conversations about spirituality, and transforming the world through the power of presence, active listening, and good food.

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Megan DeMorse

Megan DeMorse is a student at the University of Washington pursuing a degree in Psychology. She is heavily interested in the field of education and loves to express her creativity through cooking, dancing, and sewing. Megan finds joy in cooking/baking especially when getting to share the experience with others. She also enjoys learning new recipes from other cultures and further learning about food in topics about sustainability, accessibility, one’s overall well-being, and more.

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Sofia Cababa Wood

Sofia is a design student at the University of Washington who believes there’s nothing more delicious than a shared homemade meal. Being Filipino-American, growing up in The Netherlands, and having a mom who’s the literal best cook in the world (100% objective statement) she understands the power food has to connect, whether it be to the homeland, family, or to a completely unfamiliar culture. In the past, she’s taught kids’ robotics classes and English classes.

Meet the Co-Founders

Cofounders Erica Weisman and Alice Carli met while studying at the University of Washington in Seattle. During their studies they ventured to Erica's hometown of Austin, Texas to teach their first cooking camps together. There, they hatched their life-changing plan to begin this business! Alice received her bachelors degree in Public Health and hosted weekly dinners for colleagues and friends; Erica received her bachelors degree in Urban Planning while working at Seattle's renowned fine-dining restaurant, Canlis as a professional cook.

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A note from alice:

Every year, the weekend before Christmas, my family gathers with a group of Italian friends for an ambitious undertaking. Together, we produce several thousand tortellini by hand, to be eaten for Christmas dinner. It's an incredible ritual which requires everyone to contribute something. Some pull the dough into strips while others make balls from the stuffing, some cut dough triangles, and others fill them and fold them into tortellini.

We are all Italian expats living in California, and recreating a tradition like Christmas tortellini allows us to reconnect with where we came from. Through my family and community, both in the US and Italy, I've come to know that food is a limitless experience to be created, shared, and loved.

It wasn’t until I began my studies in public health that I understood my experiences with food in a new and more complex light. Caring about where your food comes from, how it was prepared, and how it makes you feel, is a matter of health and the environment, of community and politics, and of personal expression.

I believe that cooking is a social experience and a practical and necessary skill for life. Food should make us feel good in every sense of the word. It should nourish our bodies, our minds, and our relationships alike. Taking the time to sit around the kitchen table and make thousands of tortellini every year is so much more than a delicious Christmas dinner. Learning to cook a tasty meal for your family and friends is so much more than one plate of dinner.

After years of working with kids in schools and community centers, Erica and I were presented with the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people: by showing them that if you care about what you eat, you can improve countless aspects of your life.

I haven't looked back since we founded Seattle Cucina, and I am incredibly proud of what we have created. Thank you for joining us on this adventure!

 
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a note from erica:

I am a homesick Texan living in the Pacific Northwest. Although I miss bluebonnets, queso, and armadillos, Seattle and the Pacific Northwest have quickly become home. Within a year of living up here I began to cook! I'd cook dinner almost every night, cook my lunches, and even my breakfasts. I didn't know it at the time, but I was recreating the environment I grew up in; the food I ate when I was younger. My mom is an incredible cook. Dinner at home was an experience I looked forward to- often featuring new yet comforting dishes she wanted to try. Cooking brought her joy, just as it began to bring me joy!

It was this innate love that pushed me to apply for a cook position at Portage Bay Cafe. I loved working in such a fast past and energetic environment through college. A year later, I applied to the big leagues- Canlis Restaurant, an American-Japanese fine-dining restaurant that is over 60 years old... and I got the job! At Canlis, I worked as a prep cook, on special projects pertaining to research and dish development, and on the cold line/ hors d'oeuvres. I spent over 6 months as a lead cook, working alongside sous chefs, and cooking coursed meals for private parties and events. I gained countless new skills working at Canlis, my 'culinary school.' It taught us cooks how to deliver fast paced, near-perfect results and how to use modern techniques to develop new dishes.

I soon realized restaurant cooking is not necessarily how I want to spread the joy of food and cooking. Around this time, I spent my senior year at UW working to create a cook book for my thesis, interviewing Seattlites, and featuring their stories alongside their treasured recipes. I celebrated diverse food narratives through story-telling and the tactile approach of cooking, eating, and sharing food. 

After two extremely fun and successful summers leading cooking camps for youth alongside Alice, creating this cook book, and gaining more culinary training, I am excited to say that we are ready for this next chapter. Alice and I are beyond thrilled to bring our complimentary skills and passions to work with you or your kids!