Alison Milwe-Grace has energy to spare, and she puts it to good use in kitchens across Fairfield County. The Weston resident is a talented chef, caterer, teacher and mother of three. Cooking is her passion, and the art of good food is her business.

“I always thought I wanted to manage restaurants,” says Alison, a graduate of University of Massachusetts Amherst Hotel and Restaurant Management School, “But when I got my first job managing a restaurant, we had an open kitchen and I could watch the chefs. I kept thinking to myself, ‘I don’t want to be out here dressed in a nice suit and talking to customers, I want to be hot and sweaty working back there.’”

That was in the mid-nineties. Since then, Alison has garnered the praise of critics and diners throughout the county, first as a chef in some of the area’s hottest kitchens -- like Norwalk’s now shuttered legendary Sunset Grille -- and then with her own business, AMG Catering, a full-service catering company. She also teaches culinary arts at Staples High School in Westport and private cooking classes in the evenings.

“I have a ridiculous amount of energy,” she laughs. “But it’s easy for me because I love what I do. If I’m around food, in whatever capacity, I feel like that’s where I should be.”

When she isn’t cooking, you’re likely to find Alison in the garden. “I rest in motion,” she says. “So gardening is the perfect hobby for me. And, I’m a huge supporter of the farm to table movement. We need to teach our kids about where our food comes from. We have to understand what we’re eating.” Alison’s commitment to serving fresh, local food whenever possible is one she brings to every table, including her own. “When you grow your food, when you cultivate it and then harvest it, you take your time cooking it. Then you sit down with your family and you enjoy it. You slow down. We need to slow down.”

With all the enthusiasm Alison brings to her life and work, it’s hard to imagine what might get her to slow down. But if anything can do it, it would probably be a really good meal.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Alison’s catering services or her cooking classes, email her at .

Have you taken private cooking lessons before? Do you grow your own food? And does knowing where your food comes from and how to creatively prepare it change the way you eat? Share your thoughts here, or email me at .