Elissa Kilkenny

Tastings and Retail Manager

Elissa is a native Oregonian, born and raised in Springfield where she spent her youth outside riding bikes, hiking and fishing near the beautiful McKenzie River. In high school she was involved in student government as the highly esteemed position of Social Promoter, a member of the jazz choir, a clarinetist, and three sport varsity athlete.

Elissa has been working in the food industry for over 15 years with experience in both front and back of house. In 2005, after a few years of working in small cafes in Eugene then Hood River, she and her now husband, Nic decided it was time for a change and made the decision to move to Seattle. It was in Seattle where her love for the culinary arts blossomed and in 2007 she enrolled in culinary school at Seattle Culinary Academy where she received an Associates in Science of the Culinary Arts. While in school, Elissa was hired at Seattle’s renowned french restaurant Le Pichet where she spent the next 3.5 years working very hard and immersing herself in French cooking while steadily moving up in the kitchen. Elissa also did catering with Seattle chef Greg Atkinson and helped her friend start her kosher catering company. With what little free time she had she spent her days wandering the Pike Place Market chatting with vendors and finding inspiration in the beautiful bounty the Puget Sound has to offer.

In the fall of 2010 Elissa and her husband moved back to Oregon to be closer to family. After a brief stint cooking at The Country Cat, Elissa was hired on at Steve Jones’ Cheese Bar in 2011 where she eventually became the wine buyer and manager. With having little experience in the wine world outside of Cheese Bar Elissa came to the Southeast Wine Collective with the desire to learn more about the process of making wine, work amongst wine minded people and gain confidence in herself when discussing wine.