Marianne Rosica-Brand – New York Kitchen, Canandaigua

Marianne Rosica-Brand is the director of food and beverage education at New York Kitchen in Canandaigua. The nonprofit, which opened in 2006, provides a “gateway for people around the world to experience New York’s incredible agriculture and viticulture industries.” New York Kitchen offers a tasting room, café, a venue for private events and multiple classes focusing on the culinary arts. Rosica-Brand shares her insights as a culinary expert and her experience working with food.

Where did you learn to cook and how long have you been doing this?

I am a self-taught chef – I started cooking dinner for my family when I was young as both my parents worked and my older siblings had jobs. I have been in and out of the food and hospitality industry for most of my life and I have been fortunate to learn from some excellent fellow chefs along the way.

I had my own café/restaurant that was listed by The New York Times as one of its favorite restaurants in the Finger Lakes Region! This is where I can say I learned the greatest amount of knowledge and experience.

I have been with New York Kitchen for four years and in my role as director of food and beverage education for close to three years. In February 2019 I started as a culinary assistant and chef instructor and worked in our Hands-on Kitchen.

Before you became a chef, did you try any other professions?

After college I moved to Washington, D.C. and was able to find employment in a variety of roles – international trade, federal document search and retrieval, marketing, public relations and special event coordination. I also had my own computer tutoring business.

How would you describe your management style?

I rely on my team for input and feedback. My management style is consultative management – I ask my team for the opinions, thoughts and constructive feedback. Ultimately, I make the final decision, but I consider all the information given by team members before I do so.

What’s your favorite class to offer at New York Kitchen and why?

I would say our Junior Chef Initiative programming. These are our class offerings for 12- to 18-year-old students. We offer one-day classes during school breaks, two-day and five-day camps throughout the summer and School Reach-in classes during the school year as field trips for local schools. These are my favorite as they all offer opportunities where students thrive and learn and are able to enjoy the delicious food that they have prepared.

Through our fundraising efforts we are able to subsidize all of these classes in order to make them less expensive for the students. For our two-day camp we partner with community groups to bring students to New York Kitchen at no cost to the student.

What is your favorite wine? Tell me about your wine knowledge.

My favorite white wine is a Finger Lakes dry Riesling, which I enjoy at several wineries.

My favorite red wine would be a hearty deep red – currently it would be a Meritage from the Finger Lakes.

I worked at a winery for more than a year and my husband has worked at a Finger Lakes winery for more than 20 years – he keeps me current and up to date on the wines and wine trends in the Finger Lakes.

How do you stay current on new trends?

I have a fantastic education team who I ask for ideas. I am a foodie myself so I am always looking for what is new and exciting in the culinary world.

What do you like best about your job?

The people – from my team and co-workers to the customers who come to share one of our great classes. I also enjoy the creative part of my job – being able to create classes and recipes that are keeping with current trends or are in response to a customer suggestion.

Do you have any future plans for expanding your horizons at New York Kitchen?

I am always creating new classes and expanding our programming here at New York Kitchen.

What do you most enjoy about the Finger Lakes Region?

The beauty of the region is stunning. I love the different feel that each lake has to offer and the communities that anchor each lake. I love that it is filled rolling hills and majestic countryside views.

My drive to work is just over 30 minutes and I see beauty and nature everyday – whether it’s a bald eagle or an entire cornfield filled with snow geese or a stunning sunset. Each time it takes my breath away. 

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