Ellamarie Fortenbach is the founder of Chez Le Petit Chef, a cooking school in San Carlos CA, focusing on child chefs. Her goal is to create a culinary learning experience for children in a safe and nurturing environment through a multitude of different projects.

Nothing is better than family time with your kids. I have three. You would think that a 3 year old is too young to be cracking an egg or scrambling. I feel that introducing your child to new and different things is important, even if they are things you never would have done if you were little. Help bring out their confidence at an early age. Showing children that they can help and create is their beginning of feeling that they can approach any challenge with more confidence.

I rather my children try many new things and just have fun trying them. Asking children to try and not be afraid to fall is key. It is when we expect them to be perfect that stops them from wanting to try.

— Ellamarie Fortenbach.

Culinary Beginnings

Ellamarie grew up in a culinary home where family dinners were a priority. “We sat around the table every evening as a family and ate a nice meal together. It was something that my family felt was important. Those values are ones I am striving to implement in my own home. I am a firm believer that families that eat, play, and pray together, stay together”. Her love of cooking started as a young girl in her grandparent’s restaurants. From the time she could walk, she was exposed to all of the family businesses. It was in her younger years that she developed the love of interacting with people, the art of pleasing, and the love of cooking. The kitchen has always been the heart and soul of her household and she is thrilled about being able to extend such an atmosphere to readers who engage in one of her most recent endeavors, a cookbook entitledCooking with Ellamarie, Celebrities & Kids.

The Prolific Writer

Her cookbook, Cooking with Ellamarie, Celebrities & Kids, features succulent recipes, personal stories, words of wisdom, and stories of hopes and dreams that have been contributed by celebrities and successful executives such as renowned chef Thomas Keller, proprietor of the French Laundry and Per Se.  Some of the celebrities featured in the book share their life experiences, such as Kevin Sorbo, Danny Glover, Maria Canals-Barrera, and are a tribute to the adage “Never give up on your dreams.”   In this beautiful coffee table cookbook, Ellamarie has created a cookbook that gets celebrities and executives to roll up their sleeves & work side by side in the kitchen with young chefs. The children not only learn how to cook, they get to have a place where they are encouraged to set goals and believe in themselves.

Passion and Supporting Public Schools

Ellamarie is passionate about helping children stay in school so that they can learn and achieve their dreams.  Toward this end, she is generously contributing 50% of the profits from her cook book to A World Fit For Kids, the Los Angeles-based non-profit helping inner city youth stay physically, mentally, and emotionally fit.


Between all of her projects Ellamarie is the most proud of being a mom with a passion for her family and her food. She has three beautiful daughters, Foustene 18 years, Solange 17 years, Satiene 12 years, and a husband Eric


Ellamarie is currently working closely with production companies to use her talent from her cookbook come to life as a network show. She has been featured as a “chef instructor” for Draeger’s cooking school, renowned for bringing top chefs and outstanding tips and tricks to make their clients cook like a pro. She has made several guest appearances and was a regular on ABC’s “A View from the Bay.” She has also been featured in numerous articles and newspapers. Ellamarie has had the privilege to work and collaborate with top executives from General Mills, the Hershey Company, and Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.