Cecily Gans is the Executive Chef and owner of The Main Course Catering Company where, besides catering events, she designs cooking courses for individuals and groups of all ages and levels of experience.
In July of 2013 she completed the certification in Holistic Health Counseling through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition which, in combination with her teaching and culinary background, she uses to help both individual and group clients reach their health and wellness goals through education in all aspects of diet choices and cooking. She is also pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition.
She is involved with and strongly advocates the farm-to-table movement, buying food locally, supporting area farmers markets and local food purveyors. Several times throughout each summer and fall she does demonstrations at the Westport Farmers Market, where she also serves on the Board of Directors, and prides herself on her relationships with the vendors there, both farmers and specialty food producers. She loves to share the recipes she develops and makes all of them available online, as she does for her high school students with her culinary curriculum. She also teaches courses via Westport Continuing Education from September – June in the kitchen/classroom at Staples. For several years, Cecily has merged these endeavors to produce made-from-scratch meals for Homes for Hope, an area homeless shelter, procuring the majority of her ingredients from the Westport Farmers Market, and designing and producing the meal with her students. Recently, she and her students won the MSG Varsity/Cablevision Charity Champions award for this project, providing funding to create food products to sell locally and raise more money for these meals.
Prior to her time in Westport, she was teaching in New Bedford, Massachusetts at the Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School and finishing her first graduate degree in teaching at Johnson & Wales University. She also taught internship and advanced standing students at Johnson & Wales University and served as a Teaching Assistant and Teaching Fellow prior to that while completing her B.S. in Culinary Arts (Summa Cum Laude, 1997). Throughout graduate school she was also a participant in the very selective Management Development Program, serving as both a chef instructor and manager at some of the university’s many properties. Throughout her time at Johnson & Wales she was awarded Best Teaching Assistant, Best Teaching Fellow and Best Instructor. She also worked for several prestigious area restaurants and caterers, and was the Executive Chef/Owner of Pacifica Catering Company in Providence, catering events in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut.
Cecily has been working in professional kitchens and restaurants since the age of 15 when she catered her first event and worked at one of the first sushi bars in New Haven, CT. Since then, she has worked in catering, restaurants, hotels, institutional foodservices, training and consulting in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and California.
Her Grandmother Evelyn was also a chef instructor who inspired hundreds of students at both the Culinary Institute of America and at the regional vocational culinary program in New Haven. In her kitchen, Cecily learned to cook from the heart, especially around the holidays. She still makes brisket and matzo ball soup just the way she was taught many decades ago.
She currently resides in Fairfield with her daughter Leila, who was wearing a ‘Top Chef’ onesie at a few weeks of age and at the age of seven, maintains her status as toughest critic and biggest fan. Cecily steamed and pureed all of Leila’s baby food (100% organic and about 90% locally grown!) until Leila discovered dark chocolate.