Our Staff

Stop by and say 'Hi!'

Janet Zalewski

Janet Zalewski

Manager, Original Cast Member/Everyone's Mom

Where did you grow up? Chicago. How long have you lived in North Carolina? 10 years. Where did/do you go to school? What did/do you study in school? I went to City of Chicago Junior College, general studies. Please list any children or pets you have, and their names. I have a daughter named Sarah, a son named David, and two dogs (Cody and Sully) and a cat (Cleo). What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Gardening, go to the Farmers' Market, trying new restaurants. What is your favorite cooking ingredient? Chocolate. What is your favorite dessert? A flourless chocolate cake with raspberries, raspberry sauce and homemade whipped cream. Who is your favorite TV or famous chef? Ina Garten. What is your best advice for new cooks? Be patient. When cooking savory foods, often a mistake can turn into something delicious. Be careful with knife skills - speed comes with time.

Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith

Asst. Manager, Original Cast/Song & Ukulele Master

Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in North Carolina? I was born and raised in Charlotte so I’ve lived here my whole life. Where did/do you go to school? What did/do you study in school? I went to Catawba College in Salisbury, NC to study musical theater performance and graduated in 2012. If applicable, what is your other part or full time job? I teach voice and ukulele lessons at Ballantyne School of Music. Please list any children or pets you have, and their names. I have two cats, Binx and Chloe. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? I enjoy cooking, singing, gardening, binging Netflix, and spending time with family and friends. What is your favorite cooking ingredient? Fresh herbs What is your favorite savory food? What is your favorite dessert? I LOVE Thai food, so spring rolls and pad Thai are a favorite of mine. For dessert I usually reach for ice cream. Who is your favorite TV or famous chef? I love Gordon Ramsey! I’ll watch anything he makes. What is your best food-related childhood memory? When we would travel to my grandparents’ house and after a long day of driving, they would have a big pot of their famous chili on the stove waiting for us. What is your best advice for new cooks? Learn from your mistakes instead of giving up! It takes time to master these skills, keep going!

Wendy Zannini

Wendy Zannini

Instructor, Magic Maker/Kid at Heart

Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in North Carolina? I grew up in Massachusetts. I have lived in Charlotte for 15 years Where did/do you go to school? What did/do you study in school? Rivier college. Bachelors degree in early childhood education If applicable, what is your other part or full time job? Pre school teacher Please list any children or pets you have, and their names. Elizabeth 22 Caralynne 16 What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Being with my family What is your favorite cooking ingredient? Sugar What is your favorite savory food? What is your favorite dessert? Cheezits for savory, fudge brownies for dessert Who is your favorite TV or famous chef? Cake boss What is your best food-related childhood memory? Birthday parties ( my mom makes yummy cool cakes ) What is your best advice for new cooks? It’s okay to make mistakes. That is how we learn.

Liz van der Walt

Liz van der Walt

Instructor, Cake Magician

Liz was born and bred in beautiful Cape Town, South African until her American adventure began Fall 2018 where she and her family decided to settle in Charlotte, North Carolina.Liz has a Marketing and Property Finance background, specialising as a home loan consultant. She also owned a successful Cake Decorating business and studied with many sugar artists over time. Do you have any children? Do you have any pets? I have a beautiful daughter, Caitlin a Grade 5 student at Providence Springs Elementary. We have 2 black & white dogs - Jack our Border Collie and - Socks our rescue who both travelled all the way from Cape Town to Charlotte with us. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Spending time outdoors and discovering the natural beauty that Charlotte has to offer. What is your favorite cooking ingredient? Spices - they enhance the flavour of any meal! What is your favorite savory food? What is your favorite dessert? As a baker I'd have to say ALL desserts! I can't possibly choose a favourite Who is your favorite TV or famous chef? Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, who went from small-town farm boy to South Africa's first chef to be awarded a coveted Michelin star. This shows you that anyone can follow their dreams and reach for the stars! What is your best food-related childhood memory? Baking scones with my mom amidst a cloud of flour, happiness and laughter. What is your best advice for new cooks? Experiment with new recipes and flavors- the world is your oyster! Embrace it!

Amelia Johnson-Post

Amelia Johnson-Post

Instructor, Original Cast Member/Kitchen Wizard

Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in North Carolina? I’ve lived in Charlotte for the past 6 years Where did/do you go to school? What did/do you study in school? I attend Grinnell College and will graduate 2021 with a BA in History and Spanish If applicable, what is your other part or full time job? I am a student leader at my college’s dining hall and work as a peer mentor at the Global Kitchen. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Reading, cooking, exercising What is your favorite cooking ingredient? I love finding use for weird vegetables I find at stores What is your best advice for new cooks? Adding lemon and salt will make anything taste better

Julia Sartori

Julia Sartori

Instructor, Math Whiz

Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in North Carolina? Weddington, NC; been here all of my life Where did/do you go to school? What did/do you study in school? Nutrition Science at NC State University If applicable, what is your other part or full time job? Middle school math teacher Please list any children or pets you have, and their names. Roch, my black lab What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Cooking, hiking, hosting guests What is your favorite cooking ingredient? Garlic What is your favorite savory food? What is your favorite dessert? Goldfish; angel food cake with pineapple whipped cream Who is your favorite TV or famous chef? Julia Child What is your best food-related childhood memory? Making homemade pasta with my grandma What is your best advice for new cooks? Try, try, try! Things sometimes don’t work out, but you will get it eventually. Have fun with experimenting with different recipes and ingredients.

Stanley Weaver

Stanley Weaver

Instructor, Pastry Chef, Chocolate Connoisseur

Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in North Carolina? I was born in Atlanta, GA and moved to charlotte, NC when I was 15 years old. I atteneded high school here at East Mecklenburg High. Where did/do you go to school? What did/do you study in school? I went to Johnson and Wales University in Uptown Charlotte and earned three degrees: Applied Science Culinary Arts, Applied Science Baking and Pastry Arts, and Bachelor’s in Food Service management with a concentration in Beverage studies. I am currently in school at Grand Canyon University for my Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. If applicable, what is your other part or full time job? I am a licensed NC Teacher with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. I teach Culinary. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? I am a fitness nerd. I love going to the gym and personal fitness is a hobby of mine. What is your favorite cooking ingredient? Fresh garlic! A little garlic makes everything better. I even use a little extra. When a recipe says 2 cloves of garlic, I use 7. What is your favorite savory food? What is your favorite dessert? I love pasta! Its my favorite food to make and eat on any day. My favorite dessert is Crème Brulee! Simple but when done right, its magical. Who is your favorite TV or famous chef? Chef Ann Burrell What is your best food-related childhood memory? As a kid, I would get to put all the ingredients in the pot as my mom and dad cooked. It made me feel like I was a chef too. What is your best advice for new cooks? It's not going to be perfect the first time, but it's ok. It's just food. The world will not end if your food is not perfect. Have fun!!!

Jaden Briscoe

Jaden Briscoe

Instructor, Future Bakery Owner

Jaden was born in Matthews, NC and has always lived in Matthews. She graduated from Porter Ridge HS in 2020 and now attends Southeastern University for Business & Professional Leadership. In addition to being a Flour Power instructor, she is also a manager at Greater Life Church Learning Lab and helps kids complete their online school work. She has an Australian Shepard named Toby. In her free time, she loves to watch Netflix, bake, cook, and babysit. Her favorite cooking ingredient is cayenne pepper. She puts it in and on everything. Her favorite savory food is tacos and favorite dessert is chocolate white macadamia nut cookie. Her favorite famous chef is Bobby Flay because he is an icon. Jaden's best food related childhood memory is driving to Kansas for Thanksgiving and having the best food. Her best advice for new cooks is to be patient. It takes time to learn everything you need to know. Also to not give up. Keep working till you find what works for you and what doesn’t.

Antonio Guerra

Antonio Guerra

Instructor, Proud Hedgehog Owner

Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in North Carolina? I’m originally from New Jersey. I’ve lived in Charlotte for 15 years. Where did/do you go to school? What did/do you study in school? I earned my associates in culinary arts and my bachelor’s in food service management from Johnson & Wales University and my master’s in education from University of Phoenix If applicable, what is your other part or full time job? I work full time at an Amazon fulfillment center. Please list any children or pets you have, and their names. I have a son named Charles and a hedgehog named Cactus Jack What do you enjoy doing in your free time? I enjoy cooking, hiking, going to the movies, and playing board/video games. What is your favorite cooking ingredient? Garlic What is your favorite savory food? What is your favorite dessert? Savory: ribs, dessert: cheesecake Who is your favorite TV or famous chef? Alton Brown What is your best food-related childhood memory? When I turned eight my mom threw a make-your-own-pizza-party for me and my friends. What is your best advice for new cooks? “It’s not a mistake, it’s a recipe modification!”

Grace Campbell

Grace Campbell

Instructor Assistant, Cooking Prodigy

Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in North Carolina? I have lived in North Carolina my entire life. Where did/do you go to school? What did/do you study in school? I go to Providence High School. Please list any pets you have, and their names. I have a hedgehog named Rosie. And two dogs named Lady and Tucker. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? I like bike riding, painting, baking, and macrame. What is your favorite cooking ingredient? I love vanilla. What is your favorite savory food? What is your favorite dessert? My favorite savory food is mac and cheese. And my favorite dessert is brownies. Who is your favorite TV or famous chef? I like Duff Goldman from Food Network. What is your best food-related childhood memory? I remember going to my grandmas house and making chocolate chip cookies. What is your best advice for new cooks? Don’t be afraid to try new recipes, you might find your new favorite dish.

Rachel Holden

Rachel Holden

Instructor Assistant, Chocolate Chip Cookie Taster

Where did you grow up? How long have you lived in North Carolina? I was born in Massachusetts and live there till I was 7. Then I moved to Charlotte and have lived here for 9 years. Where did/do you go to school? What did/do you study in school? I go to Providence High School. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? In my free time I enjoying hanging out with friends, playing flute, and of course cooking and baking for my family. What is your favorite cooking ingredient? Chocolate Chips, you can put them in so many baked items and they get all gooey in the oven. What is your favorite savory food? What is your favorite dessert? My favorite savory food is sushi and my favorite dessert is probably a really fresh chocolate chip cookie. Who is your favorite TV or famous chef? Alex Guarnaschelli What is your best food-related childhood memory? I had cooking birthday parties for 7 years in a row, however; one of my favorites was when my mom and I created a multi-course meal menu and found recipients for me and my friends to make at the party. I still remember having so much fun and loved creating it with my mom. What is your best advice for new cooks? Don’t be afraid to experiment a little, and when searching for recipes online always read the reviews. Sometimes other people will have made the recipe and recommend using more/less of an ingredient and it can make a world of a difference.

Anne Irwin Ward

Anne Irwin Ward

Studio Owner, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer

Anne spent her childhood in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Her love of seafood started in New Orleans, tagging along with her Grandpa catching blue crabs, then later savoring her Mississippi-born stepmother's classic southern cuisine - chicken fried steak, pecan pie, fried okra, creamed corn, & proper cheesy grits. After graduating from Queens University then UNC-Chapel Hill with a social work degree, she worked several years in mental health settings, which, some might argue, prepared her well for working later for 17 years in the financial services industry. Anne & her husband Rob, while both working full time outside the home, ultimately began thinking about how they could change things to bring more joy & balance to their family (11 yr. old Fiona & 7 yr. old Jude, dog Macy, grumpy cat Toonces, and a flock of backyard chickens). After recognizing certain themes in what she enjoyed - teaching & working with children (child therapist, summer camp counselor, & nanny) food-related work and hobbies (server, catering and cooking class assistant, cooking club member), she was thrilled to discover the Flour Power opportunity. Opening a Flour Power studio is really a dream come true - a perfect blending of all of these joys, and she is so excited to share them with children & families in south Charlotte! When not playing in the kitchen with her kids, Anne enjoys travel and exploring the outdoors with her family (especially western NC!). Faves: Ingredient: Basil. Dish: Ethiopian Lentil Stew. Dessert: Peach-blackberry crumble. Childhood food memory: tossing cooked blue crabs onto a newspaper-covered table. Kitchen scent: Baking bread. Favorite chef and her cooking advice: Julia Child “No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.”