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ECC alumna cooks up New Orleans cuisine

Cassandra Montgomery

Cassandra Montgomery with her first food truck, Ruthella’s New Orleans Cuisine

Cooking is in Cassandra Montgomery's DNA.

Growing up in New Orleans, the Elgin Community College graduate remembers bonding in the kitchen with her grandmother, Ruth Ella, who taught her how to make everything from homemade beignets to savory gumbo to red beans and rice.

“I have memories of being a small child and her teaching me how to cook and sharing anecdotes over meals,” said Montgomery, of Dundee. “Everything I cook comes from the heart and a little bit of granny.”

Montgomery has traveled extensively across the globe immersing herself in different cultures and learning to prepare cuisines to satisfy a diverse palate. But it was her husband's job that brought their family to Illinois. And it was her quest for culinary excellence that led her to enroll at ECC, where she earned associate degrees in culinary arts and restaurant management.

Although Montgomery had more than 20 years of culinary knowledge and experience before attending ECC, she said she lacked a formal education, which helped her grow as a professional.

“I wanted to obtain the necessary certifications to pursue my current business and ECC was the platform to obtain those,” she said. “It allowed me to brush up on [known] skills and learn new skills. It was a first-rate education at a reasonable cost.”

Montgomery's lifelong dream of owning and operating a family business was realized in June 2015 when she purchased her first food truck, Ruthella's New Orleans Cuisine, named for her grandmother who invested in Montgomery's potential at an early age. 

Ruthella's currently operates in Elgin, East Dundee, West Dundee, at local farmers markets, and other areas by request or on demand. 

For more information about Ruthella's, visit her Facebook page:


Related Link: Learn more about the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Program

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