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Board: EllenKassoffGray





Ellen Kassoff Gray
Washington, DC

Member of the Board since 2006
Committees: Development

A 20-year veteran of the hospitality, food and wine industry, Ellen Gray brings to the Board a knack for successful fundraising events that have helped build the coffers of WHS.  Utilizing her extensive contacts in the restaurant industry, she started “Sugar and Champagne” in 2002, the first and only culinary event in Washington for WHS with a focus on the humane law enforcement and education division.

From working in the financial publishing world of Wall Street to working for Sysco, the largest food purveyor in the country, Ellen has enjoyed a diverse and interesting career. But it was only as co-owner of Equinox, an award-winning sophisticated fine dining restaurant in Washington, DC, that she found her true calling, a job that allowed her to combine her business acumen with her love for food. Ellen manages to perfectly combine her culinary inclinations with her concern for animal welfare. She has also assisted in organizing the “Certified Humane” Program.

Born in Washington, DC, Ellen graduated with a degree in economics from the University of Maryland in 1986. While studying for her degree, Ellen participated in a study abroad program at the University of London. There, she took the opportunity to explore the Middle East and Europe where she developed a passion for travel and world cuisine. Ellen published several articles documenting her culinary adventures abroad.  
Upon her return to the States, Ellen worked on Wall Street and later returned to her hometown of Washington, DC, to pursue a career that would combine her business background with her interest in food. She began working for Sysco, where a fortuitous sales call introduced her to a young chef named Todd Gray, whom she later married.  

In 1998, Ellen created the Washington, DC area's first in-house cooking program for Whole Foods Markets. She continues to encourage cooking classes taught within Equinox's own space and is working on the creation of a cooking studio.   

An avid champion of local charities, Ellen serves on several community boards in addition to WHS, including, The Washington Jewish Community Center and the Northwest Little League.  Gray is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier and serves as a mentor for Women Chef and Restaurateurs (WCR).  Ellen and Todd, along with their son Harrison, live with their two dogs, August and Zeus, and their two cats, Hockey and Ice.  Outside their home, assorted stray cats dwell upon the porch to sample the couple’s fine feline cuisine.


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