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From Plastic Play Kitchen to T.V. Cooking

charles easley

The world is a crazy place. One thing that has made it a bit more crazy is that thing in your media. We meet people, see places and experiences things that otherwise would never be possible. The power of social media has sourced connections across the world and in this months CUL-DE-SAC we see how one Chef's Instagram (@e_solheim) anchored the opportunity to cook on T.V. Meet Elizabeth Solheim and click here to get her awesome Grilled Corn and Zuccini Salad Recipe.


I would say that you have made a name for your self in the culinary world. Tell us a little about your journey, how did you get into being a chef?

Thanks! I don’t know if I’ve made a name for myself, but I’m sure working on it. I’ve always loved cooking. My earliest food memory is of my Dad making breakfast and serving it to my sister and me in our plastic play kitchen. I lived in Italy for 6 months to work as a nanny for a family, and seeing their chef really made me want to go to culinary school. I enrolled when I moved home and loved every second. When I graduated, I got an amazing job as a personal chef for one family, and I stayed for 8 years until I left this May to move to Durham.

You have been spotted on T.V. cooking on the show Cut Throat Kitchen. How did that come about?

They found me on Instagram! Then there were a couple of Skype and phone interviews, and after a few weeks of silence and me thinking I blew it, I got the call to come to LA! Seriously so crazy.

You won the first time you were one the show. How was that experience. Did that change anything for you in your career?

Honestly, I can’t even tell you how much fun the whole experience was. I had no idea what to expect and was a major underdog going in. I was up against executive chefs, cookbook writers, and people who had been on TV before. Everyone on the crew was so nice, and Alton Brown is even cooler in person. I would do it again in a heartbeat. As for changing my career, I’m not sure. I decided to do the show because I thought it would be a fun, once in a lifetime opportunity, not so much to gain respect from my peers. In the restaurant world, I don’t think it makes me any more of an asset, but in the personal chef/ catering world, I think it could be really helpful.

 Where are you cooking now? Tell us a little about your kitchen and what you are working on

 I am a temporary Southerner! Just moved to Durham NC for a year to work in my friend’s café Olio & Aceto. I’m also working on a cookbook with my best friend. I’m super excited about it, I think it could be really amazing.

 Besides cooking what are some of your favorite activities, what gets you excited?

 I’m a big camper, I go every year with my friends for my birthday. Weirdly love making lists, there’s something super calming to me about it. Party/event planning is something I’ve always loved. Part of it I’m sure is because I’m such a bossy person, but mostly I love making beautiful menus and event spaces, and really being able to be a part of a special day for someone. Also, the obvious- friends, family, sunshine.

 Have you been able to travel? What is some of your favorite food experience’s?

 I’ve been so lucky with all of the places I’ve been able to visit, and my vacation list just keeps growing! I told someone once I wanted to eat the world. It was awkward, they had no idea what I meant. I had some of the best food of my life of my life in Lyon, France last year and I’m headed to Spain in a month. I usually travel abroad with the same group of friends, and I think good company makes any meal better.

In your career what has been the hardest thing to overcome?

I think it can initially be hard for people to take me seriously. “Sugar and sunshine” was used a lot on the show to describe me. I love that that’s how people see me, but I wish they also saw my drive, and confidence. I think people sometimes only see confidence in one way. I’d like to think I can be the fun loving weird girl and still kill it in the kitchen.

In one word, what does community mean to you.

Everything. (side note- picking just one word was basically impossible)