Allora was founded by Amanda Kingsley in 2016.
Amanda's penchant for gathering can be traced to her adventurous family and her Armenian heritage where gathering is a part of everyday life. Amanda spent years in New England learning about biomedicine, mycology, and forestry before moving to New York. Her first year was spent apprenticing as a floral designer at Stone Barns and working as a forager for Blue Hill. Acting as a liaison between the kitchen, the farm and the forest confirmed that she could generate excitement around our local ecology through food.
Shortly after, Amanda started Allora with the purpose of bringing attention, curiosity and respect to the familiar. With a focus on flowers, she began offering floral design services with her own flowers to weddings, events and restaurants. As relationships with restaurants developed, the business grew into foraging and special culinary projects. She became the first farmer to grow Saffron in New York, and is currently cultivating specialty and culturally significant varieties of vegetables and herbs for various restaurants.
In 2018, after many foraging walks, Amanda was later joined by her partner, James O'Donnell. James has a background in food education and branding, having worked with fair trade coffee cooperatives, spice companies, non-profit farms and the regenerative livestock industry. His first job was as an expeditor in a kitchen, and he's thankful his work continues to allow him to work with everyone in the food community.
Through floral design, foraging and farming, James and Amanda collaborate with chefs, breeders and universities to shine a light on plants and seeds that are invaluable to our food system locally and globally. Together they aim to bring joy, excitement and child-like wonder through thoughtful, beautiful and delicious ingredients. Longterm, they hope to build appreciative bonds between people and the food system, thus instilling a sense of stewardship and community.