CIA & Cordon Bleu graduate
Eliza prepares fresh ingredients simply and serves them in an intimate atmosphere. She defines her cooking as Modern Bistro Cuisine. It is bright flavors prepared with French Classic techniques. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Caribbean, New Zealand, Australia and Southern United States. Eliza has enjoyed the great seafood of Seattle, Boston, Nantucket and the Chesapeake Bay. She has devoured the Southern Cuisine of Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee. On her 21st birthday she ate a camel burger for lunch, EMU pâté for tea and kangaroo steak for dinner. She has cooked with great chefs and learned from one-hundred-year-old recipes. All of these influences comprise Eliza’s Cuisine. It is melange of seafood, game and poultry with accompaniments that range from Deep South to Calypso to Classical French to Californian Cuisine to Creole. It could be New American or Modern Bistro but at 221 we call it Eliza’s cooking.
It all began at University of the South, at a small café in the mountains of Tennessee. Then after graduating with a B. A. in psychology in 1996, Eliza moved to New Orleans to learn about Cajun and Creole cuisine.
In New Orleans, Eliza cooked at such famous restaurants as Galatoire’s and Mr. B’s. There she learned about high volume establishments and how to survive on po-boys and live music.
She then left New Orleans to attend the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley. Greystone is a great school for trained chefs and offers week-long classes. Eliza completed 3 of their courses and taught a class to the community representing CIA.
Eliza so enjoyed Napa Valley, that she decided to move there and work at Brix, a Pan-Asian Restaurant. After learning about Napa Valley wines and food pairings, Eliza moved to Paris to attend Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. In the winter of 1998, she successfully completed their Course de Cuisine and their Intermediate Course de Patisserie. While in Paris Eliza learned about French wine, food and Jazz.
Eliza returned to the United States to live in Vail, Colorado. Here she learned to snowboard and wrote her first cookbook. It is ninety-seven recipes of hors d’oeuvres. Each recipe contains at least one ingredient known to stimulate the appetite. Instead of overwhelming your guests, you prepare them for the next course and it is titled Foreplay: A Book of Appeteasers.
In the fall of 1999, Eliza moved to Telluride, Colorado and fell in love with this enchanting box canyon. She began work at 221 South Oak Bistro and bought it a year later. Eliza has been the owner and executive chef of 221 South Oak Bistro since 2000.
Her work there represents the culmination of her various culinary experiences. Her second book, Recipes from 221 South Oak Bistro, presents the recipes served at 221.
In August of 2010, Chef Eliza won the Telluride Top Chef Competition. She beat 3 of Telluride’s premier chefs in 30 minute cook offs.