Local Hero Profile: Bella Foodie
An interview with Ashley Tresoline, owner and chef at Bella Foodie, where she creates homemade meals to order for busy people using locally grown organic products and offers cooking classes for adults and kids.
How did you get into cooking?
I’m Italian and food is really important to my family. When I was little, I used to cook with my family all the time and I loved it. When I got older, I started working in restaurants. I had other jobs in different fields but I never stopped cooking. This business got under my skin from a young age.
Why is sourcing local food important to you?
It is so important to be aware of how much eating great fresh local food can impact our overall health. I spent years learning healthy cooking alternatives and the value of farm fresh food. I want my clients to learn the value of the locally sourced ingredients I use.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I enjoy getting to create something from scratch. It may work or it may not, but that is part of the fun of cooking. I also enjoy getting in the kitchen and teaching my Kids Cooking Classes. I want to start them on the right track to health eating.
What is your favorite dish?
It’s so hard to pick just one dish as a favorite. I think it changes from season to season or month to month, even. When you have beautiful fresh ingredients, they all become your favorites!
What seasonal produce do you look forward to the most?
I am crazy for the local strawberries!!! I put them in everything and I mean everything: smoothies, salads, desserts. I also enjoy them on their own when they are in season– they are so sweet and juicy, like nature’s candy.
What is the most popular dish on the menu?
I have several extremely popular dishes that clients ask for time and time again. I make a healthier version of my grandmother’s stuffed peppers with either beef, turkey or quinoa roasted veggies. People also love my thyme butternut squash mac and cheese, and my watermelon jalapeno gazpacho.
What is the most challenging aspect of sourcing local food for your business?
I would have to say the weather here in New England. I wish we could grow some amazing tropical fruits.
Have you noticed any changes in the way your customers eat?
My customers are becoming more and more aware of what they put in their bodies every day. They are always asking what’s in season or how do you prepare a certain fruit/vegetable. It gives me joy to see them wanting to experiment.
How do you want customers to feel when they eat the food your prepare?
I want my clients to feel like they just had a wonderfully delicious meal with a family friend.
(Interview has been condensed and edited for clarity)