Alejandra Ramos is a trained Chef as well as a television host, TODAY Show contributor, and food writer. This Latina Powerhouse has built a name for herself and will soon be hosting a PBS series, The Great American Recipe, a show celebrating the variety of flavors and cooks from all around the country.
Her culinary journey began when she went abroad to Italy. In 2014, she took a break from college and moved to Florence. While there she enrolled at a professional culinary institute and that’s when she was certain that her love of food and the kitchen was her calling. She took to blogging to combine her passion for food and writing and created the acclaimed blog, Always Order Dessert. Named “Best of the Web” by Saveur.com and FineCooking.com, and listed as one of Gourmet Live‘s “Favorite Blogs.” Mashable also included her in their list of “55 Foodies to Follow on Twitter.”
When she returned home, she carved herself a very successful career. She is a regular chef and lifestyle contributor on NBC’s The TODAY Show, a host on the Food Network show Kitchen, a co-host on Amazon’s Today’s Deals Live, and she has made other TV appearances in programs such as Inside Edition, Dr. Oz and Acceso Total on Telemundo.
NBC news has called Alejandra Ramos a “Rising Latina Food Star” and Latina Magazine said she was “one to watch.” This hard working latina does that and so much more, she is a contributing food writer and her recipes have been published in magazines and sites such as O the Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Cosmopolitan, SHAPE, Latina, Saveur, BonAppetit.com, The New York Times, The New York Post, NBCNews.com, CBSNews.com, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and many more.
Hola! USA had the opportunity to ask Chef Alejandra a few questions to share with our readers.
I started cooking because I love to eat, and growing up I realized that if I wanted to eat a specific thing—say a cake or a favorite dish like shrimp scampi, I could just cook it myself rather than waiting for my parents to make it or buy it for me. I used to read lots of cookbooks and try the recipes, and because I’ve always been pretty impatient, if I didn’t have all the ingredients, I would just improvise which led to some disasters but also some big wins! (That’s still how I cook today!) I went to college and culinary school, and I worked as a magazine editor at Hearst for several years, but cooking was always my passion and I used to do projects on the side and at night like teach cooking classes, develop recipes for brands, and I even ran a dessert catering business at night on the weekends. I would basically work at the magazine all day, and then go and bake 500 cookies all night and make wedding cakes on the weekends. One day at Hearst, they held a company-wide soup contest that I won. My recipe was a chestnut bacon & apple soup. The prize was to work in the Hearst kitchen for the day, making the soup and then serving it in the cafeteria (a very weird prize!), but I loved it and realized that I was having way more fun working in the kitchen than in my fancy office upstairs. Soon after, I decided to focus on food full time!
As a freelance food writer, I was often asked to help promote my magazine articles by doing TV segments on morning television. I started doing local segments for Telemundo and Univision here in NY and I found that I absolutely LOVED being on camera and getting to share recipes and tips with the audience that way. I’ve always been a theater kid at heart and this gave me a way to perform and entertain and teach through the lens of food. Those local segments led to bigger national talk shows and TODAY show, where I’m now so happy to be a regular contributor. I now am so blessed to be able to work full time as TV host. I’m currently filming The Great American Recipe, which will premiere in 2022 on PBS, and I’m co-hosting a fun project with TODAY Show and NBC that will be streaming later this Fall on Peacock.
I believe food is a form of storytelling so it’s a natural pairing with writing. A lot of my work involves writing recipes, essays, and scripts for my on-camera work—it’s all about conveying history, stories, lessons, and humor. In the same way that I cook because I love to eat, I write because I love to read! A book project is definitely next on my list of goals!
Yes, I went to culinary school in Florence in my early 20s, and, like many students, I was on a very tight budget so had to cook most of my own meals, but occasionally, my flatmates and I would indulge in the lunch special from a nearby cafe that offered a glorious bowl of carbonara made properly with thick chunks of guanciale, and a half-carafe of Tuscan red wine for 10 Euros. It’s still one of my favorite meals, though it never tastes quite as luxurious as it did back then! When it comes to my NY faves, it’s hard to pick one standout dish. I love rainbow cookies—little spongy layered almond cake cookies filled with apricot jam and topped with dark chocolate. I also really love a New York City breakfast—sausage, egg and gooey melted cheese sandwiches served on a thick chewy bagel. Oh and fresh hot soft pretzels from a street vendor! I love the ones that are bigger than my face and studded with salt that falls all over the place every time you take a bite.