Vanessa is the Executive Chef of Yum Yum.
From 10,000 guests at the NFL’s prestigious Tailgate Party, to a private Christmas Eve dinner for Grammy Award winning artists Elvis Costello and Diana Krall, Vanessa’s menus remain consistently refined, yet unfussy.
“Her food boasts high-end flavor, but in a way you’d feel comfortable eating every day.”
Vanessa is a new mom to her baby boy, Christian, and lives in NYC’s favorite borough, Brooklyn (specifically in the historic neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant).
In July 2011 Vanessa competed and won $20,000 on Bravo’s cooking competition show “Rocco’s Dinner Party” with celebrity chef Rocco Dispirito. She is a regular contributor for several media outlets including the Huffington Post, NY Post, Wall Street Journal, Essence Magazine and has been featured on NBC’s The Today Show, The Better Show, Wendy William’s Show, and Fox Business News.
Vanessa supports the C-CAP charity organization which works with underserved students in inner city high schools who are seeking culinary careers. She is also working on a cookbook and digital web series scheduled to debut Fall 2015.
Vanessa graduated as valedictorian from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. She completed her undergraduate studies at James Madison University and has a B.A. in political science, with a minor in French. She’s held various management positions in finance, marketing and advertising at the FDIC, Federal Reserve Bank, Deutsche Bank and Ogilvy & Mather, respectively with clients including BMW, North America, IBM Global Services and AT&T Wireless.
Shani Porter is the Sous Chef and Food Stylist for Yum Yum.
Shani Porter, a native Brooklynite, got her start at the "famed" LaGuardia HS of Music & Art majoring in Fine Arts. She continued her education by achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from St. John’s University. Within a few months of graduation, she began questioning her career path and searching for ways to pursue her lifelong passion for cooking.
Internalizing the age-old saying, “the proof is in the pudding”, Shani traded her business suit for a chef’s coat. She enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at The Institute of Culinary Education where she perfected her natural talents. Graduating at the top of her culinary class and landing an externship at the elite Abigail Kirsch in New York City. She continued to build her resume with several more impressive boutique companies before joining the Yum Yum team.
Shani’s love for food stems from New York City’s eccentric culture; saturated with differing ethnic backgrounds and the mouth-watering native dishes that accompany them. Infinitely inspired, it’s no surprise that with every new creation, guests take away a better understanding of what Shani stands for. Her culinary flair embodies her passion and love for food while incorporating her eclectic style.
In addition to fulfilling her ardor for meticulously made cuisine, Shani currently works for a non-profit organization, Wellness in the Schools as a WITS-in-residence chef. She has placed herself on the front lines to combat childhood obesity and promoting healthy eating within the school and the community. Shani accomplishes this by educating students and their families on the importance of eating whole, unprocessed foods, and engaging them in workshops that provide steps on how to prepare fresh meals from scratch.