Debbie J. Elder, Culinary Curator, LLC

I started cooking at the age of 10 when I received my first cookbooks. Both my maternal grandmother, Genevieve (GG) and my mother, Belinda (BB) were home cooks in rural Northeastern Kansas with stellar reputations for cooking great dishes. I followed in their footsteps enjoying my days in the kitchen creating new dishes for my family as a young girl and teenager.

After I left home and moved to the capital city of Topeka, I continued to cook. I didn’t make enough money to go out to eat often so making dinner for myself was a necessity. I worked as a receptionist at a law office. Once I received my very first paycheck, I purchased a set of blue enamel pots and pans with matching lids. These, along with the 4-piece place setting of Corell dishware I owned, plus the card table and four folding chairs sitting in my dining room, gave me the assurance that I was ready for dinner guests. I practiced my new recipes on anyone I could find. New girlfriends, my roommate, neighbors, and a few cousins who lived nearby. We had such fun and they always left my apartment full and happy which was very gratifying. This was the beginning of my passion for sharing good food.

Some years later I had the opportunity to work for a women lobbyist a few years older then me. She pulled off organizing dinner parties for 50 guests like it was normal and routine. She had all of the appropriate china, serving platters, cooking utensils and fine linens, plus the confidence in the kitchen to ensure a successful party. I admired her abilities and was happy to learn her secrets as I helped to execute these parties. She became my mentor in business and inspiration to elevate my cooking and entertaining skills.

Over the years I have taken more cooking classes than I can remember. My job in the meetings and events industry gave me the chance to travel around the world. Adding on an extra day to take a cooking class was a frequent benefit I enjoyed. One year I invited a Frenchman to come to Kansas to spend several weeks teaching me the basics of cooking French cuisine. Later in my career, I completed the hands-on classic cooking course from the Classic Culinary Academy located in Scottsdale, Arizona.

My love of wine brought me into the wine business. I studied wine and became a Level One Certified Sommelier. For two years, I co-hosted an hour-long wine radio show, Good Libations, The Wine Show. After working in wine sales and operations for many years, I discovered the Boisset Collection, a luxury wine company with historical estates in France and California, where I now represent this portfolio directly to consumers.

I studied the art of food styling 20 years ago because I was fascinated with the techniques used to create beautiful food. My job as a national publication’s test kitchen manager allowed me to create recipes, and produce beautiful and delicious food for video and photography purposes.

I now offer my services as a personal chef cooking and preparing dishes for others in Greater Phoenix. Check out more details here on this website and contact me for a customized quote if you are looking for any of these services.

In addition, I offer small group travel services to wine country. I provide itineraries and arrangements for travel to Napa and Sonoma in California. This includes planning winery visits, organizing tastings, making recommendations for accommodations and other wine country activities such as restaurant reservations, transportation, shopping and spa services.

Cooking for others and planning delicious meals for people to enjoy around the table is my purpose. Having customers be excited by discovering new food and wine favorites is my goal. I hope I get the chance to share some of my culinary creations and offerings with you. Thank you so much for your interest!

Organizations & Certifications:

Currently serving as President In Training 2023 – Les Dames d’ Escoffier Phoenix Chapter

Certified – January, 2023 – ServSafeĀ® Food Protection Manager Certification Examination,
which is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)ā€“Conference for Food Protection (CFP)

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