Clarissa’s interest in cooking began with the birth of her first son. She wanted a more holistic pregnancy, to cook everything from scratch. Not classically trained, she turned to TV and Rachel Ray for inspiration and recipes. She excelled quickly and was proud to serve gourmet meals to her family and dinner guests, complete with foie gras and truffles.

Coming full circle and completing culinary training at the Food Bank post-incarceration has brought her back to her love of the culinary arts. She cautions other women to try not to get stuck in the “role” of motherhood and caregiver to others. “It’s all too easy to lose yourself in being a mom, a wife. You forget who you were before, what your talents and interests are. You can lose your shine. And it can lead you down a dark path. But you have to remember your dreams and aspirations – you can be bigger. The whole world is open to you!”

In a world where second chances are often elusive, Clarissa’s story shines as a testament to the transformative power of education and opportunity. Today, she stands as a symbol of inspiration, having overcome her past as she embraces her Apprenticeship training and pursing her dreams. As Clarissa continues to forge ahead, she shines a light on the importance of empowering individuals through education – she cherishes her connections and is helping others to recognize their potential and seek positive change in their lives.

Recipe for Clarissa’s “Flaming Inspiration”

  • 2 lbs life experience
  • 1 box of support
  • 3 cups self confidence
  • 5 cups transformation
  • 6 ½ cups decisions
  • 1 bushel of practice
  • 4 T. charm
  • ¾ cup of milk (because sometimes you have to “milk” a few things!)
  • 6 sprigs of openability (my word!)
  • 3 lbs of humility
  • 2 quarts of learning
  • 3 T. walk-away (sometimes you have to get away – not all opportunities are good opportunities!
  • 5 cups of authority

I would finish plating with a large portion of dignity and a side of accountability, served over transformation and seasoned with some Holy Spirit.