a creative artist
A Story about Alandra Alexander
It didn’t take long for Alandra Alexander to see herself in a kitchen career. She was only 7 when her passion for cooking was ignited. That spark continued to grow, and 10 years later Alandra connected with Future Chefs and began to put that passion to work.
Born and raised in Hyde Park, Alandra learned about Future Chefs through the Boston Youth Fund while applying for summer jobs as a teenager. She immediately felt that Future Chefs was a perfect fit for her and eagerly started learning everything the program could teach her. Alandra hoped the program was a way to get her foot in the door to a culinary career and it helped her build the foundation she needed. Future Chefs also provided her with an opportunity to make school affordable, and provided access to developing the skills she needed while setting her up on strong financial footing early in her career.
Alandra worked in several culinary jobs after high school, including Fenway Park in Boston, OTTO in Brookline, and Real Deal in Cleveland Circle, all while balancing a Future Chefs scholarship to Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. After graduating, she helped open The Friendly Toast in the Back Bay, and then went on to work in several cafes and a food truck in downtown Boston as a pastry chef, lead prep cook, and line cook. She ultimately landed a teaching position at Sur La Table in the Back Bay and Create A Cook in Newton, where she was offered a managerial position. At just 23 years old, Alandra has extensive culinary experience under her belt, is succeeding in her career, and manages working while going to school to complete a Master’s degree in Food and Nutrition.
Alandra sees Future Chefs as an amazing opportunity for a young artist looking to get started in the culinary industry. “Future Chefs opens up so many doors because Toni and her team have the connections that can land you an amazing job. They help you build your own connections that push you further in your career, which is why I recommend Future Chefs to young people,” Alandra says. She wants youth like herself to stay humble and have patience – after working through struggles academically and feeling crushed by being denied by culinary school Johnson and Wales, Alandra never gave up on her dreams and felt that Future Chefs gave her the support and motivation she needed to keep pushing. She also found guidance from a supportive FC Alum who she met through the program. Aquila took her under her wing and helped her see how she could succeed in the program and in her career.
What’s next for Alandra? Not surprisingly, she’s mapped out the next 6 years that include owning a food truck or opening a café in Boston. Later Alandra hopes to buy a piece of land where she can grow her produce to use in her café. A move south to the Carolinas is not out of the question either, where she hopes to invest in a commercial kitchen.
Alandra also wants to make sure teens are open to all the possibilities the creative culinary field can offer. Make time to travel, explore food in other places, and work with people who let you express your creativity and show your talent, she advises. “Just because you are in the culinary industry doesn’t mean you only have to work in the kitchen. There are food trucks, food styling, food photography, catering, food blogging, and so much more! Explore what’s out there and find what fits you and what makes you happy.”