MEET OUR TEAM
Ali A. Gonzalez
Ali A. Gonzalez is the Chief Operating Officer of New School of Cooking and is an accomplished culinary leader with a passion for culinary development. His primary culinary focus is on fresh, healthy ingredients and made-from-scratch cooking. Ali has led teams to earn acclaim for culinary accomplishments and has conducted extensive training and instruction for chefs as well as the public. His resume includes positions held as the executive chef for Paramount Pictures and Ford Motor Company, as well as assistant vice president/program strategist at Culinart Inc. He has a diversified culinary and creative background that spans a multitude of eclectic cuisines, craftsmanship in ice sculpting, and the construction of giant gingerbread houses.
Dr. Bari Courts, PH.D., MBA, BA
Chief Academic Officer
Management, Capella University, U.S.A.
Dr. Bari Courts is Chief Academic Officer for New School of Cooking. He holds a Ph.D. from Capella University, Minneapolis, Minnesota an MBA from University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio and a BA from Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio. His teaching specialization: Quantitative Analysis, Business & Technology.
Justin Cuevo, BS
Director of Admissions
Justin Cuevo directs admissions and enrollment for New School of Cooking. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from California State University of Northridge. He has over six years of experience in the art and culinary industry. Born and raised in Los Angeles and currently residing in Culver City, he is very familiar with the city’s unique and diverse culinary features and benefits.
Pasadena Campus Coordinator
A successful caterer and event planner, Pam brings her passion for food and keen eye for detail to her work enrolling students at New School of Cooking. Pam is an accomplished business professional and a New School graduate.
Sandy is Student Services Coordinator at New School of Cooking. She previously worked with Bank of America for over 10 years in Human Resources. While at BOA she was an HR Specialist with a focused in Career Development and Job Placement. She then found her passion in Higher Education with work at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and ICDC College. She enjoys helping students find their passion and achieve their career goals. She has been working with Culinary Arts and Business students for over 6 years now. She resides in Sierra Madre, CA where she enjoys being involved in community events with her children.
Chef Briana Bielucke, AS
Dean of Pastry Arts
Chef Briana Bielucke is the Dean of Pastry Arts and Vice President of Operations at New School of Cooking. She developed the professional baking and pastry programs, the recreational course offerings and oversees the New School of Cooking Cafe baking production. She attended Western Culinary Institute, Portland, OR and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Pasadena, CA. While living in Portland, OR, she was the pastry chef at Pix Patisserie, Papa Hayden Restaurant and Baker & Spice. Born and raised in Long Beach, CA, when she returned home she opened and managed several Susie Cake’s Bakeries across Southern California. When she is not at New School of Cooking, she enjoys teaching her son how to bake.
Chef Melissa Cortina
Melissa is a Master Butcher and is the school’s resident butchery expert. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an M.A. in English from Boston University. Under a scholarship from The Culinary Trust of America, she received her certification at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris.
Chef Karla Lomeli, BA, M.A.ED.
Education – Pasadena
Chef Karla Lomeli is a faculty member at New School of Cooking teaching in both the professional and recreational departments at the school. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, Arts and Letters from California State University, Los Angeles, CA, a Masters of Education, Adult Education and Training from the American Intercontinental University and is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Los Angeles, CA. Chef Lomeli has broad industry experience and has worked with Wolfgang Puck at Wolfgang Puck Catering, Jackson Sommerset Catering, Koldo Royo Restaurant in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, A.O.C. Restaurant and Lucky Devils, both in Los Angeles. She has taught in the professional programs at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Los Angeles, CA and at the Kitchen Academy Culinary School, Hollywood, CA. Chef Lomeli is certified with The American Culinary Federation, is fluent in Spanish and an avid photographer. She resides in Covina, California and has travelled the world.
Chef Ida Mannertorp, BA
Chef Ida Mannertorp is the lead instructor for the Pro Cooking Program at New School of Cooking and teaches several courses in the Professional Culinary Arts Diploma Program. She holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communications and International Studies from Loyola University, Chicago and is a Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Pasadena graduate. She draws inspiration from her love of French cuisine. She is the New School resident wine expert and is currently pursuing certification with the Wine Spirits and Education Trust, one of the most rigorous and competitive wine certification programs in the world.
Chef Adam Cole
Chef Adam Cole has worked in the kitchens of chefs like Michael Voltaggio and José André. As executive chef and pitmaster of Maple Block Meat Co. in Culver City, California, Cole developed a fine-dining approach to barbecue that earned Maple Block’s brisket the designation of the best in California from Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn. Adam was born in Austin, Texas and grew up in North Carolina, then moved to a little town in North Carolina called Boon up in the Appalachian Mountains.
Chef Leslie Riley
Chef Leslie is a graduate of the original California School of Culinary Arts and has since enjoyed a very successful career as a teacher and pastry chef. Following her passion for creating, Leslie studied fine arts and design. She later developed an interest in artisanal baking and food science, enrolling in and graduating from the California School of Culinary Arts. Leslie has held pastry chef positions with both the Park Hyatt and Smash Box Studios, and has worked with many of the most notable catering companies in Los Angeles including Patina and Wolfgang Puck’s. She is committed to using local, organic, and seasonal produce in her cooking believing that this is the most healthful, ﬂavorful, and ecologically responsible choices for our diets.
Chef Dustin Chen
Chef Dustin Chef teaches the Professional Culinary Arts Diploma classes. He attended Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, CA. His time at KLC Group Inc. expanded his knowledge of pasta and sauces and completely changed his perspective on food was when working at R&D. Chef Chen’s passion for cooking and teaching comes alive in the classroom.
Dr. Derrick Darden, PH.D., M.S., BA
Instructor Culinary MBA Program
Dr. Derrick Darden is an instructor in the Culinary MBA program at New School of Cooking. He holds a Ph.D. from Capella University, Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.S. from University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma and a BA from Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia. He is a retired Army Warrant Officer, with a Logistic Management background.
We are always looking for emerging talent interested in being a part of our dynamic community.