Alumnae: Alumnae Profiles

Former SpelBot Aryen Moore-Alston Vies for
'Food Network Star' Crown


On Sunday, June 1, Spelman alumna Aryen Moore-Alston demonstrated her epicurean prowess on the season premiere of "Food Network Star." Now in its10th season, the show features culinary stars eager to convince celebrity judges that they have what it takes to host their own Food Network show.

Moore-Alston faced off with 11 other contestants in Los Angeles, and presented herself to a select group of tastemasters, including E! personality Ross Matthews. She prepared her most impressive party bite for the judges -- culinary icons Alton Brown, Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay --  and Food Network executives Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson.

A Love Affair With Food

A self-taught cook who was raised in Naples, Italy, Moore-Alston, has dabbled in many careers, but food has always been her passion. Some of her fondest childhood memories are of making family meals in the kitchen with her father, who passed away when she was young. After living in Atlanta, Japan and Los Angeles, Moore-Alston settled in Memphis to raise her daughter.

Tech Superstar Leads the Pack

The self-described "Chic Geek" is no stranger to competition. She served  as team leader of Spelman's first SpelBots which successfully competed against 23 other academic institutions from around the world in Osaka, Japan, for RoboCup 2005. Moore-Alston, and five other Spelman women represented the College making it the only undergraduate institution, the only historically Black college or university, and the only all-women’s institution to qualify for the competition.

Moore-Alston, who speaks Japanese and Italian fluently, served as the team's "official Japanese language translator" while in Osaka. She also worked with her fellow teammates and SpelBots founder Andrew Williams, Ph.D., to write complex algorithms that allowed sophisticated Sony AIBO ERS-7 robot dogs to play soccer using  fundamental motions like kicking, passing and blocking. She is currently an at-home adviser that provides technical support for Apple Inc.; serves as executive chef and owner of Sweet Potato Baby; and also hosted the show,  "This House is Cooking!"

Spelman's Renaissance Woman

During her time at Spelman, Moore-Alston also participated in the dance program and spent a full  year studying abroad in Japan. Alston's fascination with Italian and Asian cultures and their cuisine has been the best training for her.  As a busy woman, juggling work responsibilities, her commitment to healthy eating and an involvement with the entertainment industry, she focuses on creating meals that are flavorful, easy to prepare, and ideal for sharing with family and friends.


Spelman, Show Your Support

Moore-Alston's appearance on Food Network Star on Sunday, June 1, will come naturally to her because she has been cooking in front of a camera since she was a child.  She says she would frequently set up her parents’ video camera in the kitchen and conduct her cooking shows.  But that was just the beginning.

Vote daily for Spelman alumna Moore-Alston on the Fan Poll