Elle Simone Scott wants you to play with your food. “Experiment with eating healthfully!” she said. “Don’t dismiss something because you didn’t grow up eating it or you’ve never seen it before. It’s always important to try new things.”
As a food stylist and culinary producer, trying new ideas with food is something she does every day. Scott works with clients to create food that meets the image and standards of their brands. This often requires cooking an item multiple times to achieve the perfect look or creating nontraditional images with food. “I once had to make a man out of waffles. That was interesting. Trying to create a hand shape with batter, using a waffle iron, was a challenge!” she said.
Scott grew up with a love of cooking inherited from her close family. But her career initially took her in a different direction. She was a social worker for seven years in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan, while moonlighting as a line cook.
When the agency she was employed by lost funding, she decided to turn her passion for cooking into a career. She got a job as a chef on a cruise ship and followed that with a move to New York City to attend culinary school.
“I came to New York with $200 and two suitcases,” she said. “But taking the risk was worth it. Through school, I won an internship with the Food Network. They then hired me as a freelancer. That was the beginning of my food-styling career.”
Scott’s career came full circle when she started her mentoring program, SheChef. “When I was growing up, I told my mother I wanted to be a chef. She didn’t discourage me, but she did mention that there are not many women chefs – especially women chefs of color,” Scott said. “She never saw them. And if you don’t see someone like yourself in a career, you don’t believe you belong.”
SheChef helps young women from urban settings understand that they do belong in the culinary arts. It provides mentoring and free business consultations, and it connects participants to volunteer and community resources. There are nearly 150 members in chapters in Detroit, Michigan; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; and Dallas and Houston, Texas.
“My good fortune makes it my responsibility to support the women I meet; the women who work hard and deserve the chance to style their own careers,” she said.
Elle Simone Scott is a food stylist and culinary producer with a passion for mentoring women in the culinary arts.
As a freelance food stylist and culinary producer, she has collaborated with and contributed to television and print publications including the Food Network, Food Network Magazine, The Cooking Channel, The Katie Couric Show, ABC’s The Chew and Bravo’s Chef Roble and Co.
Ms. Scott also is the founder of SheChef, an organization that mentors women in the field of culinary arts and provides unique dining experiences through its Cast Iron Supper Club. SheChef offers a variety of services for aspiring culinary artists, including consulting, mentoring, recipe development, cookbook editing, cooking lessons and menu planning. SheChef has been featured in Black Enterprise magazine, Essence magazine, and will be highlighted on Centric TV and In Her Shoes blog’s "75 Black Women-Owned Brands to Support This Holiday & Beyond.”
Ms. Scott is a graduate of the Culinary Academy of New York and has a Master of Arts in Entertainment Business. Learn more at shechef.org.