MEET THE TEAM
KELLY HUDDLESTON - OWNER
Passionate about cooking, entertaining and teaching, Kelly brings years of culinary experience to The Cookery. Previously, Kelly has worked as a professional cooking instructor for years, and has spanned the globe expanding her knowledge of different types of cuisines.
Destined for the culinary world, it was Kelly’s mother who ignited a passion for cooking in her daughter at a young age. Growing up, Kelly often helped her mom whip up exotic dishes for many dinner parties, including their annual Chinese New Year’s party, Hawaiian luau, and Norwegian feast for the local 4-H club. She credits her love of food, along with her keen understanding of experiencing the unique role cooking plays in different cultures, to her mom.
Ever the student herself, Kelly’s desire to further her knowledge and passion has led her around the globe studying cooking throughout Asia, North America, Europe, the Caribbean and Central America. From making fresh pasta in Italy, to roasting her own pig in Kauai and discovering the unique flavors of Thailand, she possesses a distinct understanding of the world’s most coveted cuisines. Additionally, Kelly’s travels equipped her with culinary skills and techniques bespoke to each destination. Over time, she couldn’t help but find that she was passionate about sharing her experience with others.
Kelly ultimately settled in Dallas and opened The Cookery as a place where friends and family could come together and make meaningful connections over great conversation and even better food.
FIONA FORNEY - Head Chef/Manager
The daughter of a restaurant manager and gourmet “foodie,” Fiona’s longstanding love affair with food began in her childhood home. She began helping her mom cook for the family before she could even reach the stovetop and lovingly recalls her dad referring to the spices in his cabinet as his “friends.” Her father loved to try new ingredients, explore techniques and see local farmers for “the good stuff” – traits Fiona has embraced and carried on.
Originally from the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, where no meat is too bizarre and nothing goes to waste, her hometown provided a unique stage for her culinary beginnings. She first specialized in the Germanic, old-world, farmer-centric cuisine that is PA Dutch (ask about the chicken pot pie sometime) before expanding her knowledge of other global cuisine through her formal education and travels.
Perhaps Fiona’s most profound culinary experience came with a trip to Indonesia, where she was exposed to a vast array of produce, spices and flavors that sent her passion into overdrive. Fiona found inspiration in the finesse of the Jakarta fine dining scene and in the sustainable symbiotic relationship the people of Bali have with their cuisine.
Seeking change and opportunity, Fiona headed south and landed in Dallas in 2013. She attended Le Cordon Bleu to get classical French training under her apron, and eventually found herself inside the Dallas restaurant scene. Fiona has had the opportunity to work with a myriad of chefs and concepts, from a baptism by fire in fine dining, to a grueling but fun summer on a food truck.
Her journey continues at The Cookery Dallas, where she is excited to share her love of food and the creative expression that is cooking with guests.
Monica Urbaniak - class Instructor
Monica is a psychotherapist and food lover. While to some that might sound like an odd pairing, it suits her perfectly! Monica’s favorite thing is to have friends over and believes that the sharing of meals is a wonderful opportunity to learn about yourself, share stories, and connect with those around you.
Monica was raised in southern New Mexico in a very food-centric family where all of life’s events - happy, sad, or even mundane - were marked by the sharing of food. Cooking together is a favorite family activity, and having a mother of Mexican descent and a father of Polish descent makes it all more interesting! Preparing and sharing meals is how Monica’s family communicated love, and she considers that one of her favorite family legacies.
This tradition continues for Monica today, who enjoys all aspects of cooking – from thinking about what to make, researching recipes, shopping for ingredients, preparing tasty dishes – but most importantly – to share meals with friends and loved ones. Her New Mexican roots run deep, and she savors all things green chile. She served as judge for a Hatch green chile recipe contest, loves to throw a good salsa and sangria party, and hosts tamaladas to teach her friends how to make tamales.
Bernadette Hudson - Kitchen assistant
Bernadette is a native New Mexican, and is an alumna of New Mexico State University where she graduated with a BFA degree.
As the oldest of 4 children, with both parents working, she began cooking at an early age. Her mother and grandmother were amazing cooks. Their tamales, tortillas, and green-chili posole were known by all. These two ladies were her teachers and responsible for her love of food and entertaining today.
Bernadette went on to pursue a career in the food industry where she managed, hired and trained the employees for a major restaurant company. She eventually landed in their corporate office taking what she learned in the field to the next level. From here she moved into the hospitality industry, managing the hiring function for a major hotel company and continued to learn about food, entertaining and customer service.
Today, she is enjoying partial retirement while continuing to explore her passion for food by joining the team at the Cookery!
Kjerstin - Bartender & Kitchen Assistant
Kjerstin (pronounced "cheer-stin") was born in Chicago, and raised in Fort Worth, in a large family where learning to cook was a necessity for her mother's sanity. Her mom passed along many kitchen skills which come in handy on a daily basis (shout-out to all the mothers!).
Kjerstin enjoys a wide variety of food and flavor combinations. She is always interested to try new things, in taste or technique. Her current favorite cocktail is a Ramos Gin Fizz - which she'll teach you how to make when you join our Cocktail Party class!
Kjerstin is looking forward to meeting and toasting each one of you. Cheers!