Our Culinary Team is responsible for every recipe Plated customers cook, love, and remember. Every day, the chefs in our Test Kitchen dream up dinner ideas and make them a reality for home cooks in kitchens all over the country. And their mission is simple: to make delicious dinners accessible for culinary novices and experts alike. Because everyone deserves to experience the joy that comes from making a meal from scratch.
Andrea, Elana, Michelle, and Tim are, of course, pros in the kitchen, but we thought people should see what else they’ve got going on (because they’re pretty great). Here’s your chance to get to know the fun, entertaining, food-centric folks who make the magic happen—in our kitchen and yours.
Meet Elana, Our Head Chef & Culinary Co-Founder
Elana, a New York City native, received her BA from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. From there, she went on to Teach for America, working with second graders in Harlem. Post TFA, Elana started a small business, teaching children and families how to cook, while simultaneously running an after-school cooking and nutrition program for elementary schools throughout New York City. Inspired by her business, she moved to Paris to attend culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, and instead of becoming a chef at a high-profile restaurant, she teamed up with Plated as Culinary Co-Founder and Head Chef. Elana is the driving force behind every delicious, unique meal that gets delivered to your doorstep. Get to know her:
What’s one of your fondest food memories?
My dad used to make this really basic grilled cheese when I was little—just white bread with American cheese—and I remember watching him put the butter on the outside of the bread, and watching it get perfectly brown. It was magic.
What’s your favorite part of cooking for Plated?
Translating dishes I find out in the world to something that a home cook can prepare on any weeknight. A dish I enjoyed when traveling or something I sampled in an amazing restaurant can become something a Plated customer can prepare at home. It’s a fun and exciting challenge.
Guilty pleasure food?
Probably grilled cheese. Are you sensing a pattern?
Go-to recipes from the Plated cookbook?
The perfect vinaigrette because making your own salad dressing is the best thing you can do for yourself. The herb-marinated steak (which I make a little too often), and the turkey burgers—my mom makes them at least twice a month.
How has your personal approach to cooking evolved over the years?
When I came back from culinary school I was very impressed by technique and complexity, and when I started at Plated it shifted to be more about how to use a technique to make things simpler, not more complex. The value of simplicity with great flavor became my complete focus—I feel like I hit my stride at Plated with that sentiment.
What’s your favorite cooking TV show?
I love the Barefoot Contessa. She and Jeffrey are just total #relationshipgoals. I also really respect her ability to make recipes so foolproof—you know when you follow her recipes they’ll come out just as they should and that’s a very impressive skill.
Living or dead, who would you most want to have as a dinner guest?
Julia Child, but I’d probably be really nervous to cook for her.
What’s your favorite trick or lesson from culinary school?
Before you roast a chicken, remove the wishbone. It makes it very easy to carve after it’s cooked. I don’t know why this isn’t a widely known trick, but it’s a game changer.