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ESSENCE Network: Elle Simone Scott, Creating Culinary Careers

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elle simone scott

Ever wondered how and why the food on television always looks so good? Thank food stylist and Chef Elle Scott. In addition to creating crowd-pleasing presentations, she shares her knowledge through her company SheChef mentoring women of color interested in culinary careers. See her steps to unleashing your inner foodie.

Name: Elle Sherise-Simone Scott

Age: 37

Title: Founder of SheChef

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Hometown: Detroit, MI

Twitter: @ChefElleSimone

The gig: Being a food stylist pays the bills. I make celebrity chefs’ food look amazing on television and I also do editorial food styling for major food brands and magazines. SheChef is my company. We provide mentoring to minority women in pursuing culinary arts as a career and help them obtain coveted internship positions in the industry.

The journey: I grew up with a very close relationship with my grandmother who loved cooking for others. I knew I was passionate about being a chef when I found myself working 12-hour days on a major cruise line, feeding thousands of people four times a day, seven days a week for five months at a time. That was one of the best jobs I ever had! I almost cut my finger off once and the thought of never being able to cook again was worse than the cut.

Her mantra: As my Detroit homegirl, the late Aaliyah says, “If at first you don’t succeed, brush yourself off and try again. Dust yourself off and TRY AGAIN.” I hardly EVER take no for an answer!

Confessions of a Black woman in the culinary world: I am one of a few Black women food stylists. The benefit is that I get to crush stereotypes about Black women by being myself and being aware that I represent a larger group and staying committed to doing so with style and grace.

Her biggest lesson learned: Burning bridges has been the mistake I’ve learned the most from. I’ve learned that just because something isn’t for you in the now, doesn’t mean it can’t benefit you later down the road. I don’t cry over spilled milk so I move forward with a lot more awareness of relationship dynamics in the workplace.

Her networking tip: Connect with others! The culinary industry is a very small community and if a few industry heavy hitters know you and like your work, you’ll get the job usually. Also, stay abreast of culinary trends.

Her student loans status: I do have student loans. I just finished my MBA so I am still within my payback grace period. I pay on my interest!

Her best time-saving tip: Getting myself ready for my day the night before saves me a lot of time! I am not a morning person so if I’m not ready and I have to scramble to get out the door, my day is usually off kilter and time gets wasted in my fluster.

In her downtime: In my downtime I enjoy reading or exploring neighborhoods of New York. I have taken up running lately as a way to manage stress and I love it.

Her tech fix: I’m nothing without my iPhone5 when I’m out and about and need to do some work. My favorite apps at the moment are Nike Plus, Rhapsody for all my favorite tunes, Entrepreneur Magazine’s App and Tumblr since SheChef’s Newsletter is there (SheChefblogletter.tumblr.com).

In her beauty bag: As I chef, I don’t get to wear a beat face as much as I’d like. When I have meetings and want a fresh face that looks natural I use Kevyn Aucoin concealer, Ginger Bread foundation by Clinique & MAC Media Satin lipstick. The key to my clear skin is that I’ve used Clinique skin care line for years! It gets the kitchen grease off.

Her go-to power accessory: My Black Tory Burch Tote, of course.

Her secret superpower: My hugs! I have the ability to know when a hug is needed and I love hugging so it’s genuine. When I was an intern at Food Network, my reputation was, “You don’t want to piss Elle off; she’s from Detroit…but she gives the best hugs!”

Her theme song: “I’m a Grown Woman” by Beyoncé.

Filed Under: Money and Power
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