Who We Are
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.
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, of personal expression, of family, of life.
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!
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 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!
To purchase Erica's $9 cook book- Memories of a Dish click below!