Food & Drink

Popular Charlotte cooking school is almost ready: New classes, meals, brunch and opening date

Alyssa and Andrew Wilen are adding several new services when they open Aug. 21 at 4001 Yancey Road.
Alyssa and Andrew Wilen are adding several new services when they open Aug. 21 at 4001 Yancey Road.

Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen has certainly grown up: After starting out with a few tables in the back of the original Atherton Market, owners Alyssa and Andrew Wilen are almost ready to throw open the doors on a major expansion at 4001 Yancey Road, in the same building with Southern Tier and Victory brewing and just up the street from a lot of popular beer and distilling spots.

The Wilens let us come in for a look at the almost-finished space, which officially opens Aug. 21. They’ll continue with their classes and kids’ cooking camps until Aug. 10, then close briefly to finish the move.

With a mix of industrial, blonde wood and kicky green-and-blue California contemporary fixtures and wall coverings, the 3,400-square-foot space includes an outdoor area for seating and for grilling classes (Big Green Eggs are on their way), two cooking-class areas with movable work spaces that can handle 40 people all together, and a pick-up area for meals-to-go that you can order online in advance.

The new cooking school includes a blue and green color scheme with contemporary fixtures. To come: 55-inch TVs to display the cooking moves during classes. Kathleen Purvis

Also coming: Saturday brunches from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with prices from $8 to $12. That will be handy along nearby Southside Drive, with places like Olde Mecklenburg, Sugar Creek Brewing and GoodRoad Ciderworks all within a few blocks.

All meals and food events will include vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, and Chef Alyssa’s will continue to use local and seasonal produce. The Wilens also are adding more cooking teachers and chefs, including Jonathan Moore, who was most recently the executive chef of Sea Level, who will head up the catering and meals side of the business, called Chef Alyssa’s Table.

Alyssa space
The new version of Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen includes two areas for cooking classes and large box-style hoods with lights over the work stations. Sallie Funderburk

Still to come: Better signs (it’s easier to find if you go to the Old Pineville Road side of the complex) and a new logo on the windows: “Make Life Taste Great.”

The Wilens also branched out into condiments last winter, and expect to add more to the line this fall.

alyssa space
Co-owner Andrew Wilen shows the new space, which includes a bar where you can pick up meals to go that you order in advance. Kathleen Purvis

The cooking classes will continue to include beginner classes for adults and lots of classes for kids, but they’ll also add intermediate classes and workshops on more challenging food, like porchetta and bread.

“We want the adults and kids to grow with us,” Alyssa Wilen says.

For details on the classes and the new meal service, go to