Category Archives: Writer: Elena Johnston

Elena Johnston is an accomplished home chef; currently learning the fine techniques involved in wood fired cooking. Her interest in cooking comes from a large Italian family where food and wine and lots of family get-togethers were a big part of growing up. Sunday was always pasta made by Dad, Tuesday was left over pasta sauce and Thursday pasta sauce (gravy) mixed with rice. The rest of the time it was always Italian food cooked by her mother, who was an excellent cook.

Elena grew up in New Jersey and Santa Barbara, California, and spent her first career working for General Motors, designing, organizing and working trade shows for the electronics end of the business. There was travel all over the world and created the love of travel that continues today. After a 25- year career at GM, she bought the rights to TRAVELHOST Magazine in Santa Barbara, and as an associate publisher produced the monthly magazine and wrote all the articles covering all there was to do and eat in Santa Barbara. She published the magazine for five years before retiring and moving to Las Vegas, NV. In Las Vegas she helped develop the marketing program for a cooking school and also became a regular at the local country club helping with cooking classes for the members.

Along with her husband, Michael, travel became a big part of life and many trips to Europe, the far East, numerous cruises and of course, yearly trips to Hawaii, helped expand her knowledge of the world and it’s foods. According to Elena, she never passes up a grocery store or market, no matter where she is. Her most recent foray included attending wood-fired oven cooking at Forno Rustico in Sonoma. Previously she attended cooking classes in Italy and also attended classes at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Along with Michael, they have become well- versed in wine and enjoy attending wine events around the world. Currently, they are enthralled with the wines coming out of the Paso Robles and California Central Coast regions. She harbors a secret desire to return to the Central Coast and grow grapes.

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Wood Fire Oven

Wood-Fire Cookin’


There is something special about cooking outdoors in a wood fired oven that makes food taste especially good.