Rita Soares-Kern was born in the Azores, Portugal, and immigrated to Montreal at a very young age. Rita grew up in a multi-ethnic community, which initiated her curiosity in the diversity of taste. As a self-taught chef, she brings 25 years of culinary experience to Art Omi. Rita has served as chef-in-residence for Art Omi: Writers residency since 2003, and for the Art Omi: Architecture residency since its inception. Rita worked for ten years with the previous Carlucci Catering Co. where she cooked for large events, weddings, fundraisers, and family parties in Columbia County. She also created an in-home private chef service called the Wooden Spoon - Global Cuisine. Prior to immigrating to the USA, she worked for several years at McGill University's language department, and studied at Concordia University Studio Art.