About Arlena

In the year of 1950, President Truman was the biggest news broadcast, he had spent several years as president and the people wanted him out. There were too many wars and the Korean war was about to start.

Most people were very poor during this era putting children like myself to work.

I began cooking at age seven, my mother had to work and as a result I was left with the responsibility of cooking the food for our family. I use to stand on a milk crate over a wood burning stove using my cast iron pot creating really tasty food from the surplus bag we received each month. Neighbors in our building stood on line to buy my food because of the aroma wafting through the building hallways and I would use the money I accumulated to buy a real chicken to add in to my chicken stew and dumplings.

I remember going to the library as often as I could to rip pages from cookbooks, running home excitedly to try and create the dish. I realized early on that I could cook anything from little or whatever we had in our kitchen, as scarcity can many times breed creativity and genius.

As a young parent, I started my own business as a hot dog vender creating a sauce with meatballs dish, which turned out to be a big hit and great moneymaker. In addition to that I also offered coffee and a signature sweet potato cup, as well as peach and apple mini pies which was rare. With my accrued capital I was later able to buy two more wagons to expand my small business.

I briefly attended a couple of local Culinary Cooking Schools but soon learned that the food techniques they taught did not improve the flavors of my dishes, nor did they make any foods I encountered taste any better in general. I soon left, seeking something better.

When I moved out of Brooklyn NY, I worked at different restaurants, learning hands on, a lot more than what they were teaching at those schools on how to improve the taste of different dishes. I began learning and creating amazing specialty dishes from different cultures like German, Chinese, Italian, etc while also mastering dishes from New Orleans, the South and good ole’ Soul food.

I was happy to see people really enjoying my food. At a Jamaican restaurant I worked for over 10 years, I happened to create a signature coconut milk muffin, that is sort after to this day across the world by military personnel who visited the restaurant once and was unable to forget my muffins. The thrill I get from watching people enjoy my creations while working to invent healthier and healthier dishes to meet our changing times is my incentive to keep creating a better way to enjoy food and stay healthy…eat for your blood type is my next challenge.