Elise Canup knows the same truth that all the best chefs, historians, artists, and farmers know: every object in this world—whether hand-rolled pasta, oil portrait, or squash blossom—carries a hidden story of its origins that reveals untold mysteries to those who have the patience to listen. It’s the same with people.
Elise is at once a chef, a historian, an artist, and a farmer (and project manager, and event organizer, and … you get the idea). She is dedicated to creating experiences where people can uncover their own hidden stories. Her own narrative is one that spans the globe, but has a focus in Italy, and on the intersection of its food, art, and history—only appropriate for the holder of a Master’s in Italian Studies from Georgetown University who is fluent in Italian (ask her about her thesis on the gastronomic history of the Columbian Exchange!).
Elise worked as a cook for the Rome Sustainable Food Project at the American Academy, while at the same time leading culinary tours of Italy. Soon after, she traveled the world as an interpreter and curatorial assistant for Vatican Splendors, a show from the Vatican collections featuring the works of artists like Michelangelo and Bernini. Even when she landed in Virginia, she couldn’t quite give up her European culinary influences—she recorded the cultural history of immigrants as part of The Italian Garden Project, then became the farm manager for Victory Farms (again, while simultaneously running her own business, this time as a caterer).
As a Experience Producer at Frontier, she creates events and settings that help people feel at home and at ease, where they can do their best thinking with intentional clarity. Just as she has spent her career exploring how the past informs the present, she now works to help clients understand how their values and stories can shape the future.
In her downtime, you can find Elise performing with the River City Magnolias synchronized swim team, tearing through an Elena Ferrante novel (in the original Italian, of course), or enjoying her favorite home-cooked meal: pasta arrabiata.