Crafted in DC is Elegance & Simplicity’s Celebrity Chef + Artisan Experience division. We create experiences for weddings, corporate gatherings, social events and team building exercises with the best that DC has to offer. The DC foodie scene has grown and creating experiences for your events is becoming the number one reason why people love coming back every time! Lunch with Jennifer Carroll? A Greek spread demo with George Pagonis? A craft beer tasting with 3 Stars Owner Dave Coleman? A culinary journey with Mike Isabella? Cocktail hour with Kwame Onwuachi? Pizza making classes with Elliot Drew? Team Building with Adam Howard? Basic cooking skills with Adam Howard? Floral designing with Katie Martin? Wine tastings and more…
The list is truly endless when it comes to the abilities of our chefs and artisans. Don’t just have a cocktail hour – have an experience! All of our chefs have catering divisions and are able to create everything from your cocktails and passed hors d’ oeuvres to pastries, family style + 5 course meals to your Viennese tables! Our list of artisans is expanding daily! Email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Isabella is a Washington, DC-based chef and restaurateur, honored in 2016 by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington as Restaurateur of the Year. In 2011, Isabella opened Graffiato to critical acclaim. Isabella now has more than a dozen restaurants in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia with additional outposts in Nationals Park and Ronald Reagan National Airport. His newest and largest project is a food emporium in Fairfax, Virginia. Isabella Eatery is an unprecedented nine-concept dining experience spanning 41,000 square feet in Tysons Galleria, a luxury retail outlet in Northern Virginia.
In 2012, Isabella was named FOOD & WINE magazine’s The People’s Best New Chef Mid-Atlantic. Mike Isabella’s Crazy Good Italian is his first cookbook, also published in 2012.
Outside the kitchen, Isabella was a judge on “Man vs. Child: Chef Showdown” on FYI. Previously, he competed on Season Six of Top Chef, and Top Chef Duels, and he was the runner-up on Top Chef All-Stars.
Jennifer Carroll is owner and executive chef of Carroll Couture Cuisine, her catering and consulting company that has been traveling worldwide creating fun and delicious experiences for almost a decade. In September of 2015, Jennifer moved to Washington D.C., to partner with Mike Isabella Concepts to create, build & run the French-Mediterranean restaurants Requin in VA and D.C. Previously, Carroll worked with Chef Marcus Samuelsson at the Red Rooster in Harlem and his Bermuda semi-permanent pop-up Samuelsson at Hamilton Princess. She spent 9 years under 3 Michelin Star Chef Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin and 10 Arts by Ripert. Before joining Ripert’s team, Carroll worked in San Francisco as sous chef at both Julia and Café Kati, under chefs Julia McClaskey and Kirk Webber. Chef Carroll has been invited and had the honor to cook at the James Beard House many times over the years. She contributes to many charitable causes, including, The American Brain Foundation, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Women Against Abuse, No Kid Hungry, March of Dimes, Make-A-Wish, D.C. Central Kitchen, Sips & Suppers plus many more. Her television appearances include, Top Chef Las Vegas, Top Chef All Stars, Life After Top Chef, Top Chef Duals, Top Chef Colorado – Last Chance Kitchen, Watch What Happens with Andy Cohen, Man Vs Child, Rocco’s Restaurant Divided, Good Catch, Movable Feast, Great Chefs of the World, Chefs Feed, POP Sugar, and many local TV news programs across the U.S.
George Pagonis is executive chef and partner at Kapnos, Kapnos Taverna and Kapnos Kouzina. At Kapnos, George helped put mainland Greek cuisine, including daily whole animal roasting, on the map in the nation’s capital when it opened in 2013. He competed on season 12 of the hit Bravo TV series Top Chef.
Before opening Kapnos, Chef George served as chef de cuisine at Mike Isabella’s Italian-inspired flagship, Graffiato, also in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining Graffiato, Chef George cooked at Aureole in New York under Christophe Bellanca and Marcus Ware. Before that, the fluent Greek-speaker worked at Jose Andres’ Zaytinya, where he first cooked under Mike Isabella. His first tour of duty in a fine dining kitchen was at New York’s Le Cirque. Chef George attended the University of Mary Washington, and though he followed that up with a degree from the Culinary Institute of America, he first earned his kitchen stripes at The Four Seasons, an Alexandria, Va. Greek diner owned by his father.
After composing a home-cooked meal served on his mother’s kitchen table, Kith and Kin creator and Executive Chef, Kwame Onwuachi, knew this was the makings of the menu he was meant to craft – one that brings his roots to the surface, and celebrates a story generations in the making.
Celebrating his heritage ranging from Nigeria and Jamaica, to West Africa and the Caribbean, to New Orleans and New York, and now immersed in The Wharf of Washington D.C., Chef Kwame finds his culinary impetus in everywhere he’s from, everywhere he’s been, and the influence of those who know him best.
3 Stars Brewing Company cofounder Dave Coleman has been working to elevate the craft beer scene in Washington, DC, for the past 16 years. His desire to break into the craft beer industry was first fueled during his 10-year stint as general manager and beer director at The Big Hunt in Dupont Circle. Here he served and tasted world-class beers while developing the bar’s comprehensive beer program—and met future 3 Stars partner Mike McGarvey. Over five years in the making, 3 Stars Brewing Company opened its doors in Takoma, DC, in August 2012. What began as an independent passion project eventually became a sought-after craft beer destination. They launched with three beers—Southern Belle, Peppercorn Saison, and Pandemic Porter, all continued top-sellers today because they’re hard-hitting beers people don’t forget. Still today, 3 Stars applies conviction and creativity to create bold beer experiences for those who crave big flavor. Dave and his team have released more than 60 unique beers and have won awards for their innovation and attention to their craft. Dave is available for Craft Beer experiences and their brewery is the perfect location for craft beer experiences!
Chef & Artisan Adam Howard is one of the premier chefs in the Washington, DC area. Having been in the catering and restaurant industry for over a decade, Chef Howard has created menus and offsite catering programs for caterers and restaurants from New York to South Carolina. Some of his most notable experiences have included designing the entire catering and private dining program for Mike Isabella Concepts as the Corporate Chef; Chef de Cuisine of Bryan Voltaggio’s Range and Aggio; Executive Sous Chef at Jaleo and catering in New York. Having been seen on NBC4, News Channel 8 and cooking demos across the entire DC Metro area for large events, Chef Howard is the perfect choice for creating the perfect event with celebrity styled cuisine and cooking classes of any type for intensive team building events.
Elliot Drew is the executive chef at Graffiato, the flagship restaurant from Mike Isabella in Washington, DC s Chinatown neighborhood. He was previously the chef de cuisine at G by Mike Isabella, a role he held since the restaurant opened in July 2013. Drew initially joined the Mike Isabella Concepts team in 2011 to help open Graffiato, and returns to the restaurant now to helm the Italian-inspired menu.
Prior to his work with Isabella, Drew spent three years in Philadelphia, where he cooked in three of Marc Vetri s Philadelphia restaurants, Osteria, Amis and Vetri. Drew has also worked in the Atlanta restaurant industry with stints at Panos and Pauls, JOEL, the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead and Pricci, where he first cooked with Mike Isabella.
Drew hails from Laurel, MD and holds a degree from the Culinary Institute of America.
Taha Ismail is the beverage director and a partner at Mike Isabella Concepts. Since joining the team in 2011 as the opening bar manager of Graffiato, Ismail has built and continues to develop diverse bar programs at Arroz, Graffiato, Kapnos and G in Washington, D.C., Kapnos Taverna, Yona and Pepita in Arlington, Va., Kapnos Kouzina in Bethesda, Md., and Requin Brasserie in Fairfax, Va. In addition to overseeing the cocktail experience at all Mike Isabella Concepts restaurants, Ismail is a partner with Isabella at Pepita, a Mexican cantina that also brings in tiki influence.vvIn 2017, Ismail won the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington’s RAMMY Award for Cocktail Program of the Year for his work at Kapnos. His Mediterranean-inspired cocktail program was also a finalist for the award in 2016. Previously, Ismail was the head bartender at José Andrés’ Zaytinya for seven years. While in this role, he discovered his passion for developing innovative cocktails and honed his skills in a high-volume environment.
Billy Riddle is the co-owner of Carroll Couture Cuisine with Chef Jennifer Carroll, focusing on exquisite catering experiences in the DC area. Billy is also the owner of Maw-Maw Rosie’s which focuses on small batched artisanal goods where he creates bread, preserves and cutting boards. Billy is a Philly transplant and is an alum of Mike Isabella Concepts, Townsend Restaurant, Volver Restaurant, Ela Restaurant and Lacroix Restaurant. Versed in an array of global cuisines (French, Greek, Latin, Asian, Italian, & American-Local foods), he can create the perfect meal for your next event. Find out how he can create an artisanal experience with your guests with chef skills, bread making, preserve making, cooking classes and more!
Katie Martin founded Elegance & Simplicity, Inc. in 1998. She currently has five books published including The Everything Wedding Book, 4th & 5th Editions & The Everything Mother of the Bride Book, 2nd Edition, 3rd and 4th Editions. Ms. Martin is also the Editor-in-Chief of Eco-Beautiful Weddings®. She is also available for keynote speaking and professional consulting for event professionals and Celebrity Chefs.