Meet the Team

Gabriel Rodriguez is the Director of Culinary Education at Allie’s Place Center for Culinary Education & Employment. He most recently served as Lead Chef Instructor at the Center and uses his 25 years of experience in the hospitality and food industry to oversee the culinary, baking, and barista education and employment programming. Gabriel’s love for cooking began when he was a child—he remembers his grandmother sitting him on the counter and helping her crack eggs. Prior to joining Homes for the Homeless (HFH), Gabriel worked as an Adjunct Professor at his alma mater, Johnson & Wales University, where he taught Culinary and Hospitality classes. He also previously served as the former Director of Culinary Arts for the Greyston Foundation, an organization that offers job-training and employment to people who face barriers when entering the workforce. A Bronx native, Gabriel is looking forward to giving back to his community by sharing his passion and knowledge of culinary arts. Gabriel earned his B.S in Culinary Arts & Food Service Management with a minor in Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University.

Gregorio Pedroza​ is the Lead Chef Instructor at Allie’s Place Center for Culinary Education & Employment. He uses his nearly 15 years of experience in the hospitality and food industry to prepare students with the skills and techniques necessary for a solid culinary foundation—while covering an array of cuisines. Prior to joining Homes for the Homeless (HFH), Gregorio spent 10 years as the Lead Cook with Restaurant Associates @ Google, creating and executing menus within the office spaces and assisting with the opening of Restaurant Associates @ Google’s flagship Teaching Kitchen. Giving back to his community has been a goal of his ever since he became a member of the culinary world—he was first able to realize this dream as a Culinary Instructor at the Bronx House Community Center, and it is what ultimately led him to his current position at HFH. Gregorio’s favorite item to cook changes daily due to the organized chaos of his collection of cookbooks, but when asked recently, his answer was Shakshuka and Homemade Pita Bread. Gregorio earned his Culinary Arts Degree at the French Culinary Institute and his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from the University of Southern California—making him a fun and easy-to-understand instructor.

Jayda Gabriel is a Chef with a focus on the pastry arts at Allie’s Place Center for Culinary Education & Employment. She teaches pastry workshops from the highly technical like French macaroons and fresh puff pastry to the fun and creative cupcake and ice cream-making workshops. Jayda began her career working at a bakery production facility and then as a pastry chef at Marta’s restaurant, both in NYC. She enjoys challenging recipes—breaking them down into bite sized pieces for her students—and has a keen eye for what is happening in the pastry food world. Jayda received her associate’s degree from Sullivan County Community College.

Julissa Barillas is the Culinary Employment Coordinator at Allie’s Place Center for Culinary Education & Employment. She utilizes her prior experience as an Employment Coach at Rescare and Intake Specialist at Fedcap Rehabilitation Services to help graduates of Homes for the Homeless (HFH)’s culinary program secure employment including revising resumes, creating job referrals, and building partnerships with outside organizations. Julissa is passionate about promoting career readiness and making job accessibility available to all. She received her Master’s degree in Public Affairs and Administration as well as her Bachelor’s degree in American Urban Studies at the Metropolitan College of New York.

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