Photo by Michael Piazza
Elle Simone Scott has the uncanny knack of turning adversity into opportunity. As a young adult, she’d always held at least two jobs, one of which always involved cooking. But at 28, she lost her day job as a social worker in Detroit—and her home and car as well. So she went where she’d need neither: on cruise ship, as a cook. Over the next four years, she worked up to an internship with the Food Network, became a food stylist and got her own clients. A master’s degree in entertainment business followed, with a very successful career shift to culinary TV production in New York.
A queen of starting over, Elle left it all when she got the call to join “America’s Test Kitchen” in Boston. But bad luck struck again: She was soon diagnosed with stage 1C ovarian cancer, a battle she fought with grit and grace. “I wasn’t brought here to die alone. That wasn’t my destiny.” It’s been in remission for nearly two years, but she remains vigilant and uses her public platform to advocate for early, thorough medical testing.
Elle founded and runs SheChef, a leadership and mentorship program for female culinary professionals. Having experienced gender and racial discrimination first-hand, it’s vital to her that other women of color feel supported and empowered. For this powerhouse lady, it’s full steam ahead.
This story appeared in the Winter 2019 issue.
RAYNA JHAVERI is a TV chef on the Emmy-nominated cooking show Christopher Kimball's Milk Street Television. She's also a standup comedian, improv musician and executive performance trainer. For more information and bookings, go to raynajhaveri.com.