Meet the Chef
Chef Ellen English
Food made with love… a significant theme in my life from the beginning and what moved me to become a chef passionate about cooking, wellness, and being a part of people living their lives to the fullest. I feel very fortunate to meet and work with the families I do, getting to do what I love!
I grew up in a tight-knit farming community in rural Acorn, Virginia, between the Rappahannock and the Potomac, where we were doing “farm to table” long before it was hip. I’m told I was driving a tractor (more like steering it at low gear) by the age of 3 but I know for sure I always felt great pride working in the fields and being a part of the generations of farming in both sides of my family. The rituals involved in preparing wholesome, homemade food that nourished our family from the inside out was the ultimate expression of love. That intimate connection to food and to large family gatherings led me to pursue a BS degree in Hospitality Management from James Madison University and postgraduate work at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.
A love of the mountains brought me to Wintergreen Resort for what was supposed to be one ski season but has evolved into a full-time residency of 40 years and counting! The clean air, peacefulness, cool summers, extra snow in winter, wildlife, wonderful people, and connections in the community make it an addicting place to live. After working for the resort in the early years I became the Chef & Associate Innkeeper at a country inn called Trillium House where we fed and hosted countless travelers from around the globe for almost 15 years. It was a wonderful opportunity to develop my creativity and hone my chef skills (plus I got to bring my beloved Labrador “Miss Walker” to work every day!) Trillium House was a popular destination for both lodging and meals, was included in a Learning Channel feature, many guidebooks, and where I enjoyed having several of my recipes published in country inn-themed cookbooks.
Along the way I created my own private chef/boutique catering business which has developed a wonderful reputation, serving many high-profile clients in the Albemarle and Nelson County areas.
When I’m not cooking for my amazing clients, I’m petting cats, dogs, or horses at every opportunity, doing some animal rescue work, working out with friends, and enjoying the occasional local brew! I’m blessed with supportive family and friends who understand my dedication to clients and my often hectic schedule.
Call or email me to find out how you can be a guest at your own party!
Chef Ellen is featured in the February 2024 Virginia Living issue, offering a subtle peek into her culinary world and achievements.