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About Us

Owner - Joan "Jo" Horner
is a graduate of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts Professional Chef Program. She has extensive experience teaching at Eurostoves, Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, Williams-Sonoma, and Newton Continuing Education, holds a CCP (Certified Culinary Professional) certification from the "International Association of Culinary Professionals"  and is ServSafe certified.  She IS that person in the grocery store who sees you eyeing the strange vegetable and then tells you exactly how to cook it, or where to find that obscure ingredient you have been seeking. She has a passion for food history and world cuisines, has over 500 cookbooks hogging up her bookshelves and is happy to answer your quirkiest cooking questions. She lives in Newton with her picky-eater husband and her cat who is quite partial to chicken.

Renee Cavallo
grew up in a large Italian family where food was central to all occasions. Her childhood revolved around food and her early work experiences involved all the duties of her family restaurant. When she has time, she still works in the kitchen of "Venetian Moon", her family's restaurant in Reading. She has a B.A. in Education from Endicott College and has spent over 10 years teaching children. Until May of 2005, she was a beloved teacher at Riverside Children's Center in Newton, MA. She graduated from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts' Culinary Certificate Program in 2005. Renee's dream has always been to combine her love of children and teaching with her passion for cooking. She lives in Newton with her husband Seth and their daughters Penelope and Reese.

Sam (Samantha) Cowens
began her culinary adventure while living in Madrid, Spain in a semester abroad for college. While there she fell in love with the cuisine and when she returned to the states she began to cook for two families making nutritious, healthy meals to improve her clients' health. This emphasis on healthy cooking eventually led her to Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI to study culinary nutrition and to improve her skills. After graduating she worked in country clubs and banquet kitchens along with teaching cooking at The Chopping Block in Chicago. Eventually her emphasis on nutrition and healthy eating led to a position in the dietetics department at Mt. Auburn Hospital, in Cambridge. Currently Sam is a personal chef/nutritionist/caterer in the local Boston area. At Create a Cook she designs and teaches many of our classes including the Healthy Home Cooking series. Oh, and she plays a mean game of basketball as well.

Sandra Frezza
is the owner and operator of Sandra's Sweet Sensations. She thoroughly enjoys bringing her creative vision to life through her Specialty Cakes, Cupcakes, and Cookies. Sandra has been a Wilton Method Cake Decorating Instructor and has taught public and private classes for several years. She has recently been inducted into the Wilton Hall of Fame. In addition to Wilton Courses, she has been trained in Cake & Sugar Art by Certified Master Sugar Artists through ICES (International Cake Exploration Societé) in Boston, Chicago, Hartford, Orlando, Reno and San Diego. Sandra also holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration.  She has had an extensive career in Accounting & Finance.  She currently holds the position of Massachusetts ICES State Representative.

Donna Keegan
In 1995 a passion for cooking and teaching brought Donna a change of careers, and the start of Carrie Lane Cuisine, a personal chef service and cooking classes. Many clients are still getting weekly meals from her and teaching continues to be a priority.  “There is no better feeling than teaching someone how to make healthy, delicious, food for their friends and families.” Having taught for many years in her home and most recently at
Eurostoves in Beverly, Donna brings with her a wealth of cooking knowledge and an excitement to pass it along to her students.

Alycia Miceli
Getting dinner ready for her family was Alycia’s job most days after school.  She enjoyed cooking so much she made the decision to go to culinary school.  Although she loved to cook, finding her place in the kitchen was proving to be more difficult than she thought.  During her internship at the Westin Hotel, she found herself spending a lot time in the pastry department, and everything fell into place.  Since then, she’s worked for Finale, made wedding and specialty cakes for Rosie’s Bakery, was assistant pastry chef at The Catered Affair and currently works at The Quebrada Baking Co. in Wellesley.  Alycia loves seeing people get excited about food, and the confidence kids get when you teach them skills and cooking in the kitchen.

Jerrod Perry
claims to be from a places called Hawa'ii and California, via the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon. Jerrod has exceptional talent teaching both children and adults in the kitchen and in the dojo. His favorite cuisines are from the Pacific Rim and Mediterranean but he can throw down a mean North End Italian Bistro, too. Jerrod's funny accents and dance moves brighten up our lives.

Jeremy Tavares
A native of Providence, RI, Jeremy was born into a family of chefs and a rich restaurant scene. At the age of 14 he made the decision that he would pursue his passion in the field of culinary arts and has not looked back since. Prior to graduating Johnson & Wales with a BS in Culinary Arts, Jeremy had spent summers working in Germany, Singapore, and Thailand, immersing himself in various cuisines and cultures. As a manager in Rhode Island restaurants Jeremy earned 4 "Best of Rhode Island" Awards, as well as being selected to represent Johnson & Wales at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, Illinois. He has trained under 3 James Beard Award Winners, and a 2 Star Michelin Chef. He continues his pursuit of culinary knowledge through a love for travel and has committed to experiencing a new country each year.

Heather Wish
grew up in a family where food was king.  Her father was the consummate restaurant connoisseur, her younger brother a culinary school graduate, her older brother a sushi chef, one older sister is a cake decorator and her other older sister a food and beverage manager for a major hotel.  A long-time chef to friends and family, she began her official food odyssey by attending the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts shortly after graduating from Bowdoin College with a focus in childhood education.  Professionally, Heather has worked the line at the Finale dessert restaurants and as a pastry chef at Petit Robert Bistro in Boston.  Not to be limited to one area of food, she continues to work as a private chef and caterer and has been inspired by the flavors of Asia on numerous trips to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, and Japan.  Heather always hoped to combine her love of teaching with her love of cooking and finally found the perfect place, Create-a-Cook, where she has been happily working since.

Mark Yang
comes to us from New York City, and is a classically trained French chef with knowledge in many cuisines. He has worked as a chef instructor at the primary and secondary school levels, and at four New York Jean Georges restaurants, JoJo, Vong, Restaurant 66 and Jean Georges. This combination of skills, teaching of the children and cooking of the awesomesauce, makes Mark a dynamo in our kitchens. His comfort with haute cuisine, and children who can be “not so haute” comes in very handy at CAC. Lovingly referred to as "Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch" by our staff, he lives locally with his Rottweiler Maggie and wife Miyoung and Baby Samantha. Ask nicely, and he'll make you his signature dish, Llama Parmagiana.


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