Food and Drink

Chef Alyssa, out of the kitchen. What she’s reading, watching and listening to

On a recent day before the kitchen opened and the cooking classes started, one of Charlotte’s favorite chefs, Alyssa Gorelick, sat down with C5 to answer those three intriguing questions:

(1) What are you reading?

(2) What are you listening to?

(3) What are you watching?

And, as with others before her, we will take the answers to these three questions and find the meaning, theme or message.

Gorelick is best known to everyone in the Queen City as Chef Alyssa. She imparts her culinary knowledge to aspiring cooks through classes held at Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen in Atherton Mill in South End.

C5 caught up with the contagiously buoyant Chef Alyssa at the bustling 7th Street Public Market.

What are you reading?

I am not a novel reader. I love to read, surprise … cookbooks. But I don’t read them for the recipes. There is so much more to a cookbook. I am really interested in the why. Why do they cook? Why do they use the ingredients they do? Why do they want to share their secrets with others?

Currently, I am reading “Before I Go to Sleep,” by S.J. Watson. It is a psychological thriller about a woman who wakes up every day with no knowledge of who she is. To reconstruct her memory, she keeps a daily journal that she reads when she wakes up each day. I love the quality of his writing.

I am also reading “Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand,” by Andy Ricker. It shows American cooks how to better understand Thai. Ricker makes you feel comfortable putting a personal spin on Thai cooking.

Outside of cookbooks, I like comedy. I am reading “Yes Please,” by Amy Poehler. Hilarious personal stories with a message. I am also reading “Modern Romance,” by Aziz Ansari. Another hilarious take on all that is good (and bad) in modern romance.

Finally, I read several food magazines and, of course, keep up locally with Charlotte Magazine.

What are you listening to?

I love classic rock. But, lately, since my fiancé and I are planning for a wedding, I have been listening to lots of wedding music. Mostly classic music about love that represents family.

I do some streaming on Spotify. I usually type in Langhorne Slim.

Additionally, I have been playing my personal trainer’s playlist (thanks, Brandon Cullen).

What are you watching?

I do not miss “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” I laugh the whole time. I have also been watching the comedy, “Married” on FX. Very funny and very real.

On Netflix, I like to watch the PBS series “The Mind of a Chef.” It is great to see the inspiration of the chefs.

What does all of this mean to Alyssa as a self-assessment?

I try to focus on doing things in my spare time that benefit me in my work. But, I do love to laugh and live a little bit. I love to be entertained. And I am always in search of inspiration and engagement.

C5’s take

Can’t wait to take a class to see that inspiration in action — and taste the food, as well.

Greg Kurts
Gregory Kurts @Pope662.