Today we’re introducing one of our newest cast members, Elle Simone, who joins the cast of America’s Test Kitchen after years of working as a food stylist in New York City. When she’s not cracking wise with Bridget and Julia on TV, Elle is putting her food stylist background to good use to make our recipes look beautiful and teaching students in our Online Cooking School. I caught up with Elle recently to discuss the moment she knew she loved cooking, her time studying and working in New York City, and her unexpected transition from food stylist to TV personality.
What were you up to before coming to work at America’s Test Kitchen?
I was a freelance food stylist, and also a freelance culinary producer. I had lots of experience in print, editorial, and web work for various major food companies and brands, and I was producing shows for Bravo and the Cooking Channel. So I didn’t have a lot of experience being in front of the camera myself, but I had lots of experience training talent—prepping talent—for shows, be it reality TV or cooking.
Was being on TV ever on your radar?
I really had no intention of being on television at all. I never even really pursued being on television. I enjoyed working behind the scenes—I always felt that maybe that was more consistent work. You know, you see people winning shows and then you don’t really see them again—and that’s just the nature of it.
In addition to my full-time work at America's Test Kitchen, I own a company called She Chef Inc., which is a networking organization for women chefs of color. We do lots of videos for the events that we do, mostly just to promote the organization and to gain membership. It’s a national organization—we have chapters in quite a few cities, and we’re hoping to be in all major cities within the next five years. So I’ve done videos and interviews for that.