Having been raised in a family of foodies, my fascination with food started at a very early age and grew as I watched my brother become a talented professional chef. My first big break came when I took over as Catering Chef at Cafe in the Barn, a four-star restaurant located in Seekonk, MA. I spent several years growing the operation to include events at Newport mansions and upscale clients on Blackstone Blvd.
Although I never attended culinary school, I was blessed with being classically trained by working “hands-on” with a number of notable European Chefs. Two of which were in Santa Fe, NM when I was the Executive Sous Chef at Bishops Lodge and Inn at Laredo. After a very successful stint in New Mexico, I returned to Rhode Island and helped my brother open up a Tapas restaurant . As Sous Chef, I was charged with designing the cutting edge concept that opened to critical review. This is where I met my wife Mary Ellen. We were engaged within the year, then off to Dallas to get married and start our life together.
In Dallas, I worked with many notable Chefs at the Ramada Renaissance. Another big break came my way, as I was recruited to take over as Executive Chef at the Willow Bend Polo Club owned by Norman Brinker, the famous and very successful American restaurateur. Soon after, I started working with Marc Hall who was the lead trainer for Brinker International and learned restaurant management from the best! Over several years I helped Marc grow his one location into four different concepts within Snider Plaza, in Dallas, TX.
After my years with Brinker International, I became the private and Corporate Chef for Glenn Solomon who resurrected “D Magazine” and started a Private Chef services called Dining In. Our clients included the owners of Riddell Corporation and VP’s of the Dallas Stars, to name a few. After the company was sold, I started restaurant consulting and helped clients like Cheddar’s redo their menus. At that time, I took over as General Manager of Zodiac, the quintessential restaurant at Neiman Marcus Ft Worth and helped return the restaurant to its former glory with impeccable service and stunning food.
And now as Executive Chef of my own catering company, I am passionate about creating great food and menus for many clients, while at the same time, serving up the most delicious, “fresh from scratch” and classically created food … no matter the size event or budget.
Mary Ellen Elkhay
My career in food preparation started in high school working at an upscale, Chef prepared, to go store in Dallas. It was there I developed my love for food. Wishing to continue my pursuit in food service, I spent great years at the esteemed culinary school at Johnson and Whales University in Providence, RI. Thus, securing my degree in hotel restaurant management. Too gain immediate experience, I continued my career working in a very busy establishment as line chef at the popular In Prov, an upscale Tapas, rotisserie bar located in downtown Providence. It was there I met Tom who was the Sous Chef. He trained me to excel in producing exciting beautiful food. After graduation, I moved back to Dallas and started working at Cafe Pacific in Highland Park and worked with a talented European chef to help round out my training. After several years, I moved on to manage the busy cafe in the Tramell Crow center in downtown Dallas which was run by the owner of the Grape restaurant. I then worked with Marc Hall in helping him manage his Snider plaza restaurants. Since then I have been involved in teaching personal training and Pilates and helping Tom with our catering business. I look forward to working with you to serve the best food available to you in the DFW area.
President, Sales and Creative Event Design
Planning events has been my passion and career path for nearly my entire life. After spending years in the corporate and nonprofit sectors, planning events of all size and shapes, and having my own event consultation company, moving to Heart To Heart Catering was a natural progression. I thrive at helping clients achieve their catering and event objectives and it’s very rewarding. It allows me to work in partnership to achieve their expectations and realize their vision. Being an event planner, I bring the creative side to the conversation as well and can help with many aspects of the event, not just the catering side. My training is in event planning and sales and marketing, but my passion lies in helping brides, grooms, event planners and all of our clients realize their dreams and delivering the best food and service available in our market!