Chef Ale and Ramona are Food Artists

This duo of food artists transforms ingredients into edible art, pleasing the eye and palate. As a tribute to International Women’s Day, Abasto interviewed Alejandra Serna-Cardona, better known as Chef Ale, at Tyson Foods and Ramona Nolasco Sánchez, cake decorator at Cárdenas Markets.


Chef Ale is part of a team of eight chefs or food artists at Tyson Foods, who are responsible for translating market information and trends and trying to make them into more manufacturable items.

What was your dream job when you were a kid?

To open my restaurant. To see my family and friends eat something and we are all happy, talking. I wanted to open a more family style, where everyone passes around these platters and gets pieces of everything, so you get to try everything.

I love messing with my hands, so I have always dreamed of building my restaurant exactly how I want it, like carpentry-type work.

What other women in your life or work have inspired you?

So besides my mom and driving my work ethic and all that, it is about me that I work hard to try to prove myself.

I’ve been honored to have worked with many women in all different facets of life throughout my working career. I’ve worked with many other women, especially Hispanic women, who have also taught me their different backgrounds from El Salvador, Argentina, and Peru. They’ve also opened my worldview on those faucets, particularly for Latino food.

I have also worked with other food scientists more involved in processing. I also work with a lot of women who are in marketing, sales, and business development. They have another total worldview that opened up my doors to market what I work much better.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

When things come out of control and are totally out of your hands, you have to try to let it go as hard as that is to do. It’s just something you must remember: if it’s out of your control, let it happen. It’s OK for things to fall apart because then you learn from those mistakes, not necessarily mistakes, but whatever causes out-of-control.

At least you’d now have a new set of skills to help ensure that doesn’t happen again, or you can work where it just shifts more in your favor.

What’s the best part of your workday as a food artist?

I get to try food all the time; I try to eat only some food, but I can mess with different cuisines. I still get to be a culinary chef in this big food service world in the processing world. Still, I get to try other types of cuisines that many consumers are just getting the taste of, so I’m trying to make sure I can make them easily accessible for them.

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Ramona is a food artist who has been part of Cardenas Markets for nine years, where she arrived after her daughters helped her discover her hobby.

What was your dream job when you were a child?

As a child, I wanted to be an accountant in a bank.

What other women in your life or work have inspired you?

My daughters were the ones who encouraged me to learn how to decorate cakes. They bought me the utensils and signed me up for cake decorating classes. From that moment on, I have loved decorating cakes.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

From my parents: Always be humble and treat everyone with respect. Be a hard worker.

Is this your first job in the industry? What other jobs have you had?

Before Cardenas Markets, I worked for 20 years picking strawberries.

Tell me the advantages of working in the industry.

I am having the opportunity to keep learning more every day.

What is a workday like?

I start my work day with enthusiasm. I follow the step-by-step procedure to place the day’s orders and fill the cake case.

What is the best part of your workday as a food artist?

When I see customers who appreciate and like my work, I feel thrilled that they are satisfied.