We had the good fortune of connecting with Alanna Dennis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alanna, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process behind starting Alanna’s Gourmet was that both my parents were successful entrepreneurs so I have what it takes. I knew I needed to make a plan and follow it through. My background in software engineering helped me to analyze each step thorougjly and move through each phase being able to pivot as needed.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I am most proud of my family and the impressions they left on me as a child. My parents and grandparents imparted the importance of both food justice and community. My grandparents were all from rural Alabama, so farming was a way of life. My parents both grew up in Montgomery, AL during the Civil Rights Movement so they lived through the integration of the public school system and more. I’m proud of this because growing up I not only witnessed, but helped my family members grow fresh produce, and cook for their respective communities. With deep southern roots, I graduated Cum Laude from the International Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts program. Because of my southern roots and my formal training in culinary arts, my focus on locally sourced ingredients help to set me and my business apart. Many of my recipes highlight regional favorites like specific stone ground grains, sausages, & syrups.
No, it wasn’t easy to get where I am today. It has taken a lot to learn the business of being in business in addition to developing my craft. Attending culinary school was great. Hands on experience is amazing. The ability to use what I learned as a child from my parents, and grandparents, as well as, in school, and the hands on experience of working in several catering, banquet, & pastry kitchens has been invaluable.
Along the way I have learned it is important to build positive relationships with industry professionals (the “competition”) as they can be a huge resource. Having these relationships can benefit each of you in a multitude of ways like learning from each other’s mistakes, motivating one another, and partnering to accomplish tasks/goals that would otherwise be too large for one.
I want everyone to know Alanna’s Gourmet is a private chef company that focuses on the quality of meals and services delivered with an undeniable attention to detail.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If my best friend was visiting for a week I would pack up brunch for a luxury picnic (one of the services I offer thru Alanna’s Gourmet) on the grounds of the Alabama Shakespheare Festival and enjoy a relaxing day in the park. Next we would visit the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts with lunch at Verde Cafe inside the museum, followed by a play at one of the many local playhouses and dinner at a downtown restaurant. A day would be spent at one of the many weekend festivals presented by the City of Montgomery’s Department of Cultural Affairs purchasing art and enjoying live music all by local artists. In addition to these things, we would definitely visit EJI’s Legacy Museum & The National Museum to Peace & Justice.
In my opinion, Montgomery is an artistic and culturally diverse city in the midst of becoming an international tourist destination. The culinary, visual, & performing arts communities have all grown tremendously over the last decade and they each have become more open and accessible to entrepreneurs, and artists.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have been abundantly blessed in all that I have ever sought to accomplish. I am forever thankful for God’s grace. My parents (Joe & Janice Dennis), grandparents (maternal & paternal), & other ancestors had a profound impact on how I view the importance of both food and community, as well as being able to establish and grow a successful business. My village is brimming with supportive friends and family members who constantly encourage, & motivate me as well.
This Shoutout is dedicated to them all, for without them, I would not be who I am today. I love them and I am eternally grateful for each of them.
Other: Download contact information at http://contact.alannasgourmet.com