Biography

Alejandra SchraderAlejandra was born in Chicago, IL to Venezuelan parents studying abroad and while still a toddler moved to Caracas, Venezuela, along with the whole family. There, she grew up in a traditional, middle-class home along with her two sisters and surrounded by a large extended family. Some of her earliest memories revolve around cooking with her mother and preparing meals that brought everyone together.

While still in college, Alejandra decided to move back to the United States to continue her higher education as financial hardship and political tumult heavily affected her ability to remain in school. Learning a new language and adapting to a new culture is never easy. On her own and away from family, she paid her way through school and received a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture at the Southern California Institute of Architecture as well as a Master’s degree in Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Alejandra worked for several years in real estate and land development, but a crashing economy and weak real estate market made it difficult for professionals in the field to stay employed. She lost her job during the recession but tried to stay positive, focusing on new and exciting opportunities. Rediscovering her love of cooking, she expanded her horizons and continued to learn—experimenting with new ingredients, developing unique recipes, and immersing herself in the culinary world.

Growing up in the melting pot of Venezuela and being exposed to multiple cultures since moving to the United States greatly influenced Alejandra’s interest in Globalization. She has examined this concept from many angles—from the drafting table to the kitchen counter. She shares some of her creations in her healthy recipe journal, exploring and interpreting the concept of Global Cuisine, and encouraging readers to “travel the world” from their kitchens using fresh, natural ingredients.

Her background in land development and focus on sustainability continues to impact her views on environmental-friendly farming practices and a desire to use wholesome, organic products. Alejandra’s own struggles with weight problems and her family health history motivates her to cook health-conscious meals that are packed with flavor and nutritional value. This is her passion and she loves to make unique dishes that are delicious, nourishing, and beautiful.

Alejandra was selected as a contestant on Season 2 of FOX’s popular reality show, MasterChef, presenting food to Judges Chef Gordon Ramsay, Chef Graham Elliot, and Joe Bastianich. From well over thirty thousand auditions all over the country, 100 people were brought to Los Angeles to compete for the title of MasterChef, and she was one of the lucky ones. Week after week, she put her heart into every dish, staying true to herself and her cooking philosophy. As Chef Graham Elliot said, “Alejandra has this incredible ability to keep her food light, while infusing tremendous flavor.” She was happy to be part of the Top 10, calling it, “An adventure where I learned valuable skills, met amazing people, and made extraordinary memories. Although reality television has its downsides, I will always be grateful for the experience of being on MasterChef.”

Once Alejandra made a decision to change careers, she worked hard to become a dedicated chef, and always respectful of the craft. She’s had the opportunity to participate in high-profile culinary festivals such as “Taste of Chicago,” the world’s largest, as well as food and wine festivals in Washington, D.C. and Palm Desert, CA. She was fortunate to learn directly from renowned chefs like Mary Sue Milliken from Border Grill and Ricardo Zarate of Picca, Mo-Chica, and Paiche (Food & Wine Magazine’s 2010 Best Chef). She has shared the culinary stage with remarkable chefs like Aaron Sanchez, Sara Moulton, Roy Yamaguchi, Mark Peel, and Graham Elliot, traveled the US for public appearances, and taught corporate wellness seminars for high-profile clients such as Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Alejandra has made appearances on shows like The Talk, Access Hollywood Live, ABC News, Cafe CNN, Today in LA, LatiNation, Primera Edición, and Lánzate (Univision, UniMas—Spanish TV). Her recipes and interviews have been featured in high profile magazines such as InTouch Weekly and Taste of Home. She is involved in multiple charity projects; offering cooking demonstrations, working special events, and teaching complimentary cooking classes to children, youth, and women of all ages. Honored to be a “Sisters on the Planet” Ambassador for Oxfam America, Alejandra feels a real responsibility to help find an effective plan to battle hunger and to develop better, more sustainable food systems in underprivileged communities.

A hard working entrepreneur, Alejandra just launched her own line of seasoning blends and personally blends her products in small batches. She continues to offer private chef services to families and corporations and occasionally ‘pops-up’ around Los Angeles with events like Gastro: Pop-Up, La Tasca, and L.A. Arepa Bar, a three-time food truck takeover. Alejandra is writing her first cookbook; she is exploring exciting new media and television projects.