Chef Ellen grew up in the Washington D.C. Suburbs of Virginia. She studied theater and art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and then moved to Blacksburg, Virginia where she found a job in a local bakery. After seven years, she returned to the D.C. Area to work in a local restaurant before attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in 1988. She met George in August of that year. Her extern from the CIA was spent at Ridgewells Caterer in Maryland, where she met her pastry mentor, Chef Karl Meuller. After graduation, she moved to Michigan to work at the Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids.
George and Ellen were married in 1992 and settled in Sylvan Lake one year later.