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Meet Ali Waks – A local foodie extraordinaire

Posted by Jesse Middleton | Posted in Interviews and Bios | Posted on 18-08-2009

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We’re super excited to have Ali cooking at our next Open ChefAMe.  Her menu sounds delicious and her culinary experience should make this night one incredible night.  Meet Ali:

Ali WaksAli Waks baked her first cake on a rainy Saturday in Fair Harbor, Fire Island in 1977, by the end of the summer she had mastered the fine art of salami & eggs with green peppers and muenster cheese. By 1979 she became proficient in ordering nova lox, all by herself (Thin, so you can see through it!).

Since then she’s eaten roasted corn in Pune, India, bialys in Brooklyn, baguettes by the Seine, lobster rolls in Montauk, kishke in Lower Manhattan, fresh figs in the Napa Valley and a whole lot more.

Ali was a Theatre Arts Major at Syracuse University, where she cooked gourmet delights based on tuna, pasta, and various interpretations of Ramen noodles. She left Syracuse to pursue a career in the theatre, returning to her beloved pierogies of the Lower East Side.

Ali moved from NYC to Philadelphia 1999 to further a career in event planning. In 2002 she jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire, opening Bella, An American Bistro, a 52-seat restaurant, named for her late grandmother. Despite critical acclaim, Bella closed in late 2003.  She did a brief stint in the kitchen at Tria (YAY! Cheese!) before becoming PR maven for The Smoked Joint a Barbeque Experience where she had a whole lot of fun, sang karaoke and ate fantastic ‘cue.

Ali abandoned the world of restaurants for a few years to sell signs and graphics, which was pretty awful, though gave her time to cook, and cook and cook at home. Circumstances caused the company she was working with to close its doors in February of 2009. Choosing passion over practicality Ali has returned to the objective of a culinary life. She worked with Bebe’s Barbecue during their opening and is now at work on a food related writing project whilst serving at Le Virtu and developing a Personal Chef/Kitchen Keeping Business.

Ali is dedicated to the local food movement, and can be seen sniffing melons and sighing over baby eggplants at farmers markets around town. The menu for Open ChefAMe is a homage to her culinary heroines: Alice Waters, Julia Child, Marlena Speiler and Aunt Sandy, who taught her the joy of heirloom tomatoes.

Ali lives in South Philadelphia with her boyfriend Christian and their two enormous cats, Hank & Jerry; they are growing tomatoes, mint, figs and horseradish.

Bon Appetit

Comments (1)

I am so jealous of all of you who did get tickets. Due to computer difficulties, I didn’t get mine in time. Ali is a phenomenal chef! I’ve enjoyed here inspired culinary creations more times than I can count. And, can tell you that I’m totally missing out by not having tickets on Monday. Enjoy!!!

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