Kate Wnek grew up in the small town of Kingston NJ, on the border of Princeton with her hard working parents. Her mom, a well known and loved, local public fourth grade teacher and her father, an electrical engineer. Kate's grandparents owned a butcher shop when she was just a baby, which is a big jump from today's mission of Lady and the Shallot.
Kate grew up working in multiple culinary environments, including big cooperations, privately owned restaurants and Country Clubs around the Princeton area since she was the age of 13. She has always felt at home in the kitchen, but she didn't always work in restaurants.
After graduating with a BA in Broadcast Journalism and Digital Media from Marywood University, Kate decided to switch lanes and follow in her mom's footsteps. For the next 12 years she would teach, working for Princeton Regional Schools and the South Brunswick BOE. While truly happy teaching her students, she always however felt a calling back into the kitchen. Aside from an unforgettable experience educating, she also learned a great deal about food allergies and the obstacles children face everyday who have them.
Throughout her life, Kate has always felt the need to be "one of the helpers", a value that her mother always instilled in her. She truly believes that things come together for a reason, so she is happy to have the opportunity to combine her passion of food and a mindful and ethical way to sustain a healthier life using whole foods and plant based options.
Francesca Avitto grew up in a large, tight knit family in Staten Island, NY to Italian American parents. The only girl in a family of five kids, every important moment was surrounded by food. Every Sunday was like a holiday, where her mother would make a spread of three courses and dessert and her family would gather to eat, talk, laugh and catch up on one another's lives.
In fact, to this day, eating together every night is the most important part of the day.
Francesca jump-started her business career in 2004 when she co-founded a collaborative arts studio/event space.
This is ultimately where she also found her passion for mixing charity with the arts and event planning. Here she was featured in NY papers, news stations and Industry Magazines Young Entrepreneurs Story for her work with the arts and community service.
Francesca spent her entire life working in hospitality. Aside from her work with charity, arts and events, she has spent twenty years behind the chair as a hairstylist.
She has enjoyed working in the busy cities of New York City, Los Angeles, California and Princeton, NJ.
Her motto: "It is a privilege to have the opportunity to make people happy, every day for a living."
After co-creating Lady and the Shallot with Kate and spending the past few years organizing events, cocktail and dinner parties in the Princeton area, her passions have shifted into trying to make the world a healthier place.