Meet the Chefs of Feast 2022!


At Common Ground, we deeply value everyone who makes up our local food ecosystem. These community partners hold the same beliefs that we do – that food can be a celebration, rooted in culture and prepared sustainably. We are grateful to the following chefs and business owners, who are generously donating their time and product to make Feast 2022 possible! Get your ticket today to enjoy their incredible food, made using produce grown right on our farm, all while supporting Common Ground!

Chefs Elmer and Sandra, Owners La Cocina De Sandra

We are thrilled and honored to announce that Mother/Son duo Sandra and Elmer will be debuting their up and coming catering business, La Cocina De Sandra, at Feast! There’s so much that makes this duo special – including the fact that Elmer is a CG alum! As an immigrant from Guatemala, Sandra seeks to give people smiles whenever they taste her cooking. With help from her son Elmer, they just might be able to do that. From their table to yours, they offer Latin American cuisine to your home. It started with an idea – to bring pleasure and happiness to New Haven with Sandra’s cooking. People all around the county and state love her food, so she and her son seek to give people just that: love.

Harinder “Harry” Singh, Chef and Owner at Pataka

Harinder “Harry” Singh learned the ins and outs of the restaurant business from working at Sitar, his father’s restaurant that has been in business for over 35 years. Since then, Harry always knew that he would open his own restaurant one day. This dream birthed House of Naan, a restaurant that redefines the Indian food experience creating modern flavors in a relaxed atmosphere. In addition to House of Naan, Harry owns the newly-opened Pataka which seeks to innovate a vegetarian Indian cuisine that is rooted in SPICE and SUSTAINABILITY; this work has included partnering with local farms like MASSARO FARM, STARLIGHT FARM, as well as COMMON GROUND!

Chef Rawaa, Chef at Sanctuary Kitchen

Rawaa is from Kufa, Iraq and came to the United States in 2010 with her husband and one son. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Kufa. She worked in many places before Sanctuary Kitchen, but fell in love with cooking because she found it be “like a chemisty equation.” For Rawaa, cooking is an escape. When she feels sad or upset, she immerses herself in the kitchen and immediately feels happy. “Every time I cook, the smells remind me of my mom and her kitchen.” Since coming to CT, she has had two more daughters and is looking forward to teaching them her favorite recipes. Rawaa says Sanctuary Kitchen is more than just a job or source of income, it has become her second family. She says she never feels alone anymore and feels constant love and support from the other chefs.

Aerin Zavory, Chef and Owner at Zavory’s

Aerin Zavory, winner of both CHOPPED and BEAT BOBBY FLAY is the Chef/Owner of Zavory’s Catering. She started her culinary career by working her way up in privately owned restaurants, and then went on to Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, OR, to study culinary arts. She has worked under several James Beard Award recipients and nominees, and received a Michelin Bib Gourmand award while having the position of Chef de Cuisine in Napa, CA. Aerin has also traveled throughout Australia and New Zealand, working on organic farms as she went. To actually work on the farms and see how farm to table dining comes together has defined the methodology behind her food. With the knowledge gained from fine dining to farming, Aerin decided to open her own catering company, called Zavory’s, with the hopes of bringing fresh and local ingredients to your events. In her free time, Aerin enjoys the outdoors, hiking, camping, and spending time with family and friends

Alisha Crutchfield-McLean, Owner at BLOOM

Alisha Crutchfield-McLean is a prominent Fashion/Celebrity Stylist, Tech and Lifestyle Entrepreneur, plus mom and wife, who splits her time between New York City and Connecticut. With 18 years of experience, her keen fashion sense, work ethic, and risk-taking has led to a successful career in high fashion, editorial, runway, theater, tv and film. Alisha is constantly evolving and growing her professional portfolio. Through her StyleWise Life (SWL) program, tools, specialized techniques and positive philosophy, many have learned to create more of what they want in their lives– more wellness in their bodies, minds, and spirits. With her new venture BLOOM, she is combining these same principles with an emphasis on mental health and local talent by providing a community space for professional and personal growth. BLOOM is a community gathering center that curates from the heart of the community we set out to empower.

Mark Scialabba, Executive Chef at Firehouse 12

Mark Scialabba is the chef of Firehouse 12, a cocktail bar located in the basement of a jazz focused recording studio, in New Haven, CT. He specializes in vegan plant-based cuisine utilizing ingredients and techniques from around the globe. He has been cooking professionally for over ten years in many different kitchens throughout New Haven.

Chef T (Faythiya Williams), Common Ground Kitchen

Chef T was her mother’s kitchen helper as early as she can remember. When her mother suddenly fell ill, she assumed the role of cooking for her family at 10 years old. She started with the things she knew her family loved: Southern comfort food from their South Carolina roots like biscuits and fish fillet. From there her love of food evolved. She’s cooked professionally in just about every environment, from her own diner to a corporate kitchen and now (lucky for us all) for our students and community at Common Ground.

Feast is organized by Audrey Nefores, Director of Development and Communications at Common Ground. If you have any questions, please reach out to her at Thank you for being a part of our community.


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