Fall Staff Feature:
In Chef Carmen Ciarlo’s family, “everything is based around the kitchen.” She fell in love with food watching her grandmother shape dough for bread, pasta, and pizza in Oakville, CT.
Carmen traces the launch of her culinary career to central Mexico. As a teenager, she worked with her parents to prepare meals and host guests at a sustainable community outside of Mexico City. “Mom and I ran the kitchen for anywhere between five and fifty people,” said Carmen.
At 16, Carmen got her first job at a café as a prep cook and sandwich maker. “This is what I want to do,” she said. “I really loved, and still do, feeding people and seeing their satisfaction.”
From there, Carmen worked her way up the ranks in several innovative kitchens in Southern California over the course of eleven years. As a counter attendant at Zinc Café & Market, she was influenced by the high-quality vegetarian food they served in a fast-casual environment. She gained more experience with creative recipes and deliberate sourcing as a manager for a branch of the family-owned franchise Z Pizza. Next, Carmen grew from cook to head chef at A La Carte, a go-to lunch spot with two locations and an extensive catering department.
When she returned to Connecticut in 2014, New Morning Market was a natural fit. “I had been coming into New Morning since I was a little kid and had always felt a connection with it,” said Carmen. “It’s the type of food I grew up eating,” she added.
Carmen joined New Morning as a cook, preparing food daily for the deli case and grab n’ go, and quickly became lead cook and then Kitchen Manager. She applied her extensive culinary background to organizing the kitchen — “bumping up production to supply the demand.”
Carmen bolstered New Morning’s existing menu with even more healthy foods made with organic and local ingredients. “I analyzed reports to see what people were buying,” said Carmen. Signature recipes for the Provender can be attributed to Carmen’s own culinary style. Polenta with bean ragout and Walden Hill pulled pork tacos with cabbage slaw speak to the influence of traditional Italian and Mexican cooking on her childhood. The fresh feel of California can be found in her vegan fiesta burrito and kale Caesar salad with Wave Hill bread croutons. “I really let the ingredients inspire me,” said Carmen.
In 2017, Carmen accepted the role of Provender Manager overseeing food production, as well as New Morning’s specialty cheese department and café.
“It is so amazing to see the growth that our food service department has experienced in the last three years. I feel very proud of our team and what we have accomplished. I can’t wait to see what the next three years bring,” said Carmen.
Interesting facts about Staff Members
Produce Manager: Kerry Synott
I’ve been with New Morning for 14 years, I like to garden. I’m a friend of farmers. I like to cook. I don’t like to bake because I have to measure everything and then there are too many dishes.
Catering Manager: Chef Carol Byer-Alcorace
I’ve been with New Morning for 12 years. I was an illustrator for 20 years prior to my cooking career. I sing in a women’s acappella group. I am married and have 2 grown children. I write articles about food and travel and my favorite New Morning product is our grass fed burger and a pretzel roll with swiss cheese and chili mayo.
Data Analyst: Jennifer Kaiser
I have been with New Morning for 5 years. I like to read tabloid headlines at the supermarket. I’m married 17 years with 2 cats Mosey and Ruben. I am a movie enthusiast. I love knitting and gardening. My favorite New Morning product is the Forbidden Rice Salad.
Wellness Manager: Cyd Sellars
I’ve been with New Morning since 1996. At one time I was both a ballerina and a farmer. I’ve been married to Clark for 28 years and have 2 daughters Brenna and Kiernan who also work at New Morning! My favorite New Morning product is Dr. Hauschka Regenerating Serum.
Meat & Seafood Manager: Paul Chan
I’ve been with New Morning for 4 years. I was a working fashion portrait photographer until 2000 (bet you didn’t know that). I ran kitchens for many years. I love to cook, my daughter Anneke’s favorite is pork cutlets with lemon butter caper sauce. I am (ready…) a British born Chinese American! I also lived in Paris France for 3 years.
IT Manager: Karin Damiani
I’ve been with New Morning for 29 years! I am a classically trained flutist and have won awards. I have a small farm with cows. I love sailing. I love hiking at Mohawk State Forest whenever I have a chance. My kids got me a camera and I’m starting to get into photography. I love taking pictures of nature and where I live there’s lots of it!
VP of Finance and Administration: Lori Pittari
I’ve been with New Morning since March of 2014. I am afraid of heights, bugs and I don’t like dirt. I tap danced for many years. I am married to David and have 3 sons DJ, Dominic, Danny, one daughter Kristi, four dogs Boscoe, Bailey, Avi and Mahala and three cats Bouncer, Riley and Zachary and two birds Nikon and Canon. I love cooking, drawing, painting and reading.
Marketing & Vitality Center: Kimberly Bouton
I have been with New Morning since 1999. I am one of 7 children. I love being outdoors, cooking and playing in my vegetable and flower gardens. I spend a lot of time at our little cabin on the Quinnebaug River. I’ve been married to my best friend Kenny since 1995. We have 2 dogs Bully and Chloe, a cat Moxie as well as 5 birds and fish.
Customer Service and Classes & Events Program: Emily Hunt
I have been with New Morning for 18 years! I am married and have a beautiful daughter Nora Sage. I have two rescue dogs Mabel and Ellie (would have 20 if they could all fit). I love cooking, hiking, gardening and seeing as much good live music as possible. My favorite New Morning product is Honest Kids Goodness Grapeness Juice (for kids of all ages).