Alyssa Gorelick started Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen with Andrew Wilen in 2012, offering hands-on cooking classes at the Atherton Market in SouthEnd. Class themes range from Tex-Mex to Thai to holiday classes that feature specific ingredients, such as cranberries and sage. Gorelick, 29, grew up in Charlotte and earned an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts at the Art Institute of Charlotte.
Q. What’s the first piece of clothing you remember choosing yourself?
A. My Bat Mitzvah dress. I still think it’s really pretty. It’s a black short sleeve with sequins on the top, and the bottom is flowy and girly.
Q. How did your parents affect your style?
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A. My mom is an artist, and she is also a seamstress. She makes women’s custom prayer shawls, called talits. She’s very much a DIYer, so growing up I learned to appreciate fabrics and the quality of work.
Q. What does style mean to you?
A. It means diversity and setting yourself apart, but I also think it means ‘Wear your clothes, and don’t let them wear you.’ Your clothes should let you shine.
Q. What would surprise people about your style choices?
A. My style is simple and classic. I’m kind of finicky. I think a lot about what things go together, but I don’t want it to look like I think a lot about it.
Q. What’s a fashion mistake many make?
A. Being too caught up in trends. Sometimes people choose something blindly because it is fashionable, and not because it looks good on them.
Q. Where do you shop for accessories?
A. The Boulevard at South End. I like Jewels by Julia. Her jewelry is very pretty, and she has a great eye. She mixes old and new, so you can find something that expresses your personality.
Q. Does your sense of style help you do your job?
A. It does because I’m not just in the back of the kitchen. I still do wear a uniform; but I get to put an urban and feminine feel to it. I just had an apron made by a company called American Native I found on Etsy.
Q. Where do you shop?
A. I love Anthropologie. I like to shop at Scout & Molly’s, and Fresh, and KK Bloom. I get a lot of my basics at Banana Republic.
Q. Do you have any prized possessions?
A. A Vitamix. I have a ring that my mom gave me. It’s a little flower with a garnet in the middle. I just bought myself a pair of Frye boots.
Q. Describe your look in three words.
A. Clean-lined. Sophisticated. Vibrant.
Q. How do you shop?
A. When I go shopping I think of how much wear I can get out of something, and I have an idea of what I want. I generally shop by myself, and hope I can trust the person in the store.
Q. What’s the best new store in Charlotte?
A. I frequent Earl’s Grocery.
Q. What piece of clothing can’t you live without?
A. A little black dress.
Q. What’s your lazy day outfit?
A. Yoga pants, and an oversized sweatshirt. I’m a fan of Lululemon.
Q. What was your best bargain?
A. My mom’s closet. I take a lot of her hats and I have a lot of boots that used to be hers.
Q. What is a favorite comfort food meal you make?
A. I love chilies and stews. I like to have a nice warm bowl of food. I’ll have sweet potatoes and braised beef.
Q. What do you like to listen to?
A. I love folk music and folk rock and classic rock. Another prized possession is a turntable that I have speakers plugged into. It was a present from my dad. I love Fleetwood Mac and Creedence Clearwater, The Black Keys and Langhorne Slim.
Q. What’s your favorite cocktail?
A. Moscow Mule.
Q. What fashion advice can you give to women?
A. Don’t overthink things. If you are choosing something, it’s a color you are drawn to, and you will wear it well. People are drawn to your confidence.
Q. What wouldn’t you be caught dead wearing?
A. Socks and Birkenstocks.
Q. What can’t you believe you once wore?
A. I’m a child of the ’90s. I remember arguing with my parents to let me shop for myself and I bought the big grunge jeans. I didn’t have the Goth makeup to go with them.