Fiore, a Salem native fresh out of Northeastern University, in her early 20s was determined to become a lawyer. Her younger sister, Athena, helped to change her path. In 2002, Athena enlisted her sister’s help working on a high school fund-raiser. Malita’s job was to cook and serve food to 300 people.
At first, Fiore — who was working in an office at the time — was terrified. But she succeeded in creating a menu and serving the large group, and afterward she realized she liked cooking “a lot better than sitting behind a computer screen.”
“It was the most exhausting and rewarding thing I ever did,” she said.
Weeks later, high school menu in hand, Fiore walked into the Strega restaurant in Salem (which is now closed) and asked for a job in the kitchen. Executive chef Arnold Rossman took a liking to her and decided to take her on.