Hello! Welcome to Ali Cake’s Cooking School!
My name is Alissa Clarkson. I grew up always loving to cook. I credit the start of my passion to when I got an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas when I was five. I loved that I could actually cook something from start to finish and that I could share what I made with my family.
I was nick named Ali Cakes by my dad because of how obsessed I was with cooking and baking. From then on I knew I wanted to go to culinary school and become a chef.
My amazing husband Steve and our sweet, goofy dog Nina.
I am a classically trained chef, and attended culinary school at Utah Valley University from Fall 2015 to Spring 2017. It was a two year program where I got an education in both pastry and savory. While in culinary school I realized that I did not want to work in a restaurant or bakery like I always thought I would.
What I fell in love with was learning anything and everything about food and cooking. I even joined our school’s Culinary Knowledge Bowl team (yes, I am a proud nerd). My team and I competed at the ACF regional and national competitions and took first place! Through that experience I was able to dive even deeper into learning about food and cooking.
What I learned in culinary school changed my whole outlook on cooking. I learned methods and techniques instead of recipes and it blew my mind! I could create delicious meals without using a recipes. I was free to create and experiment in the kitchen.
Learning the hows gave me the freedom to create and experiment. Learning the whys helped me understand what was really going on.
After I graduated, my husband and I moved to Portland in June 2017, and I took a teaching job at Sur La Table. I knew I wanted to pass on everything that I had learned in culinary school to anyone who would listen. I would get asked a lot of questions about why I did a method a certain way and I realized that in culinary school I had been taught how to do a lot of techniques and methods but now I was craving to learn why.
Learning the hows gave me the freedom to create and experiment. Learning the whys helped me understand what was really going on. I learned which parts of a recipe were essential and which parts were not. I learned how to fix a recipe if it went horribly wrong and I learned to be more critical of recipes I saw on the Internet. It gave me an extra layer of confidence and curiosity in the kitchen.
That brings me here. I am passionate about learning and about teaching. I started this blog knowing that I could use this platform to help those cooks out there who when they try to make a loaf of bread just get frustrated because it turned out wrong and they don’t know why. My goal here is to educate you on cooking methods, techniques and basic science principles so you find freedom in the kitchen to experiment with recipes and have the curiosity to know where you went wrong and the confidence to fix it next time.
So welcome! I am glad you’re here. I welcome any and all questions and suggestions on what you would like to learn more about.
Let’s get cooking!