Executive Chef Elizabeth Binder was born and raised in South Africa, inspired by her fisherman father and great entertaining grandmother’s, she attended the internationally recognized Christina Martin School of Food and Wine in her hometown of Durban.
After graduating, she landed her first cooking job at the small luxury hotel, Blue Mountain Lodge near the Kruger Park, where she was quickly promoted to head chef at the tender age of nineteen. At Blue Mountain, her reputation rose as she cooked state dinners for both F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela at a pivotal point in South African history.
In 1995, Elizabeth packed her bags to embark on a career that would take her around the world. Her first stop was the UK where she worked for Sir Terrence Conran’s, Del Ponte and at Clarke’s, owned by Alice Waters’ protege Sally Clarke. Subsequent travels took her around the globe – from the French Alps to Sydney, Australia – further deepening her knowledge of cuisine and international kitchens.
While in Sydney, Australia she spent time in the kitchens of Niel Perry’s, Rockpool and Dietmar Sawyer’s, Forty One Restaurant before taking over as executive chef of Plissee, a popular restaurant / cafe in the rag trade district of Surry Hills.
Seeking her next culinary adventure, she headed to the United States where she fell in love with San Francisco. Her work in San Francisco has seen her be part of the amazing and talented Traci des Jardin’s team at Jardiniere. Working along side and under other incredible chefs like, Douglas Keane (Cyrus Restaurant), Richard Reddington (Redd), Tamalpais Roth-MacCormick (Bunches & Bunches LTD) and Loretta Kellar (Bizou / Coco 500), with cooking stints at both The French Laundry and Chez Panisse.
In 2006, after the birth of her first child, Elizabeth met business partner, Christopher Losa. The two worked hand-in-hand to open the Italian-inspired Bar Bambino, which in six short years became one of the most recognized and awarded restaurants in San Francisco’s Mission District. At Bar Bambino, she was able to realize her concept of rustically elegant cuisine and combine finesse with respect for local, fresh, and extraordinary ingredients.
Elizabeth competed on Top Chef: Seattle, the tenth season of the Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series. She is currently the Chef / Owner of successful Hand-Crafted Catering, a boutique food and wine-paired event company based in Napa, where she resides with her chef husband and two children.