By Beth Treffeisen
The kitchen-aide was spinning as Kristen Ciccolini helped a student measure out ingredients, separate eggs, halve a few plums and create a meringue to be turned into a sweet but light end of summer cake.
“I love baking,” said Ciccolini. “It’s hard to give it up so I’ve haven’t gave it up entirely. It’s just more challenging figuring out ways to bake and stay healthy.”
About once a month, the Fenway Community Center transforms into a busy kitchen when Ciccolini brings her knowledge of culinary and holistic nutrition through her new business the Good Witch Kitchen to the residents of the Fenway.
Through affordable cooking classes put on at the Community Center, Ciccolini offers residents a chance to learn how to cook healthy meals without always having to make kale or spend a ton of money on ingredients.
Typically her classes, which fill up quickly, have between 10 to 12 students. Ciccolini said that she limits the class size to be able to give one-on-one instructions when needed and to have hands-on participation.
“She changed the way that I eat salads,” said Daniella Torres, the executive director of the Fenway Community Center, after taking her class. “It is hard to know with all of the information out there on food where to look. I consider myself an educated consumer, but I took her class, and it felt really reassuring.”
Ciccolini began the Good Witch Kitchen this past March and has been working full time since this past June in getting the word out that she is open for business. Although classes are a major part of her business plan, she also provides one-on-one nutrition coaching and recipe development for those with dietary restrictions.
In addition she is working on a new e-book called, “10-Day Energy-Boosting Meal Plan” that will become available Sept. 29. Ciccolini said the book focuses on a 10-day plan that provides variations for gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and other diets.
Ciccolini said that it is easier to have a successful week when you have a plan. If you don’t, you tend to grab processed food or do take-out.
“I created all the recipes and people have been testing the recipes too,” said Ciccolini. “It’s exciting.”
Ciccolini worked in marketing for six years prior to starting this business. The marketing life, she said, doesn’t bode well for a good work/life balance, especially when you have to be on social media 24/7.
Knowing that she loved to cook and bake she wondered how she could make her lifestyle healthier.
After taking a couple of nutrition classes, she quickly fell in love with the idea of being able to teach people to have more energy, feel stronger, and be happier through what they eat.
As of recently, Ciccolini has also become a certified Culinary Nutrition Expert.
At the September class at the community center, Ciccolini focused on seasonal recipes, where all of the ingredients can come from the farmers market. The menu for the night included raspberry truffles, bruschetta and fig roll ups, and a cucumber watermelon salsa.
“By the end of the class there is usually someone who says ‘I can’t believe I’m eating healthy and it is so good,’ or ‘I can’t believe vegan food can be so good’,” said Ciccolini. “Vegan cuisine can be very fulfilling.”
Even though Ciccolini has been working hard to create her own business, she still dedicates time to help the Fenway Community Center. She is currently the marketing co-chair and has been on the marketing committee since this past April.
A Fenway resident for six years and Boston resident for 12 years, Ciccolini has been using her marketing tools to help the Fenway Community Center bring more people in from the neighborhood. In addition, she also helps prepare healthy food for the numerous events put on at the center.
“My big thing is education,” said Ciccolini. “I enjoy spreading the knowledge on healthy eating and how it can be accessible. You just need to know what to buy and have the right tools.”
You can learn more at www.goodwitchkitchen.net.