Written and photography
by Debbie Hall
She began her career as an electrical engineer who could weld and fix cars. The flying sparks added to the formation of artworks that also functioned as an automobile. But with life changes, Alenik wanted to raise her family and focus on her calling of creating art.
Working in steel, aluminum and fused glass; Alenik welds and operates a plasma cutter to cut different shapes. She has also added painting in her repertoire in mixed media using metal and automotive paints.
“I grind the pieces out. I then use transparent paints that create depth and afterwards I coat with automotive clear paint. These pieces can be displayed indoors or outside in our hot weather which is another reason I like working in this medium,” she explained.
But Alenik is also a foodie and was attending culinary school when she met her husband, David, who at one time was Steve Wynn’s personal chef.
They opened The Pasta Shop in 1989 originally located on the southeast corner of Tropicana and Eastern avenues. “At that time, I made three pieces and hung them on the wall as part of its décor. So many customers would want to buy them and I would tell them that it was part of the restaurant.” Encouraged by her then-sister-in-law, Alenik realized she needed to express herself artistically and share it with others.
Alenik even opened her own business, Art and Soul Gallery, in the Holsom Lofts. She also traveled to art shows and actively pursued showcasing her work. But in time, it made more sense to combine her art gallery with the restaurant.
The Pasta Shop moved to its present location at 2525 W. Horizon Ridge in Henderson about six years ago. As she tried to make the right decision in selecting a new location, she realized the restaurant’s house special is the Portofino and the name of the shopping center is The Portofino. “It was originally a deli and it was perfect for us,” Alenik said.
With the unexpected passing of her husband in 2016, the restaurant has become a family-owned business with her adult children. Bianca, her daughter, moved back from Hawaii to help her mother through a difficult time and encouraged her mother to continue to express herself through her art. “It was so great to grow up with my mom as an artist and my dad as a chef. I saw that my dad was an artist in the kitchen and my mom could create from paint and metal, “ Bianca stated. “Growing up, my mother would pick me up from school in the little trailer and we would spend all weekend at art shows.” She is thrilled to see her mother’s pieces come to life and Bianca has become inspired to create her own jewelry line and paint as well.
Alenik also creates more commercial pieces and offers for sale serving spoons, cake cutters and salt/pepper shakers with metal and glass enhancements. Alenik discovered a love for designing jewelry and has developed a unique line utilizing her skills.
In the The Pasta Shop Ristoranté & Art Gallery, the love of art and food continues to grow as well as pay homage to the talents of the chef and his artist. Visit pastashop.com for more info.