Our Team

/Our Team
Our Team2018-03-29T21:06:05+00:00

Our Team

Ella Elman
Ella ElmanOwner, head chef and meal-planner in chief
Owner and personal chef, Ella Elman, founded The Secret Ingredient in 2011 after facing her own chronic health challenges.

A scientist by training, Ella holds a Master’s degree in Forest Ecology and worked as a forest ecologist in the Seattle area for 12 years, focusing on working with cities and community groups to restore their parks and forests to health. In 2011, she left her job to take a sabbatical and to focus on healing herself from a chronic health condition. After several months on a therapeutic diet, she found a new appreciation for the difficulty of sticking to a restrictive diet and still being able to eat delicious and varied meals.

Ella realized that there were a lot of people out there on restricted diets. However, they lacked the time, expertise and resources to completely change their diet to accommodate these new requirements. She decided to turn her passion for cooking into a small business helping people with therapeutic cooking. Through the journey of healing through diet, she found a whole new profession and community to serve.

Soon thereafter, Ella started working with a clinic specializing in helping people with digestive problems and The Secret Ingredient was born! As she worked with clients on a long-term basis, she was happy to see them improving over time as they were supported in their diets and able to heal.

Ella applies a scientific mindset and lifelong passion for cooking to her work, helping others with food restrictions enjoy delicious and varied meals while supporting their health. She works with each client to provide individual meal planning and ensure great customer service from our highly trained staff.

Bianca Gomez
Bianca GomezPersonal Chef, Meal Planner, Office Manager
Bianca’s passion for cooking was ignited after she found healing from a lifelong neurological ailment through the adoption of a strict whole-food based diet and lifestyle. From this pivotal revelation, she was inspired to completely revamp her life, which included leaving her stable job in the tech industry and return to school in pursuit of a new passion – nutrition and cooking.

Several years later, having graduated from Bastyr University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Culinary Arts, Bianca is now on a mission to help those who are on their own unique journey of healing and wellness. This desire to help others along with Bianca’s strong customer service background are what fuel and motivate her to assist the clients she works with every day. Bianca is most passionate about cooking with nutritious ingredients as well as cooking mindfully and incorporating love into every meal she prepares. Bianca’s hope is that all people can experience health and happiness through the amazing healing power of food.

When Bianca is not in the kitchen, you can find her exploring the gorgeous PNW and enjoying the natural wonders of the area. She is a lover of all things outdoors – hiking, camping, paddle boarding, and bouldering, just to name a few. Additionally, photography has been a lifelong passion of hers, with an emphasis on outdoor landscapes, macro nature photography, and a newly developing interest in food photography.

Rhonda DiMercurio
Rhonda DiMercurioPersonal Chef
Rhonda was born in Michigan and moved to the Fall City area six years ago with her husband, two sons and two dogs.

When Rhonda’s oldest son was born, she knew there needed to be some major dietary changes to properly nourish her family. It was time to turn from the Midwestern diet of meat and potatoes, where gravy and ranch dressing are considered their own food groups! It was time to stop viewing fast food and deep-fried foods as dietary staples and start thinking of the health and wellness of the entire family.

Rhonda was always a great cook but lacked the understanding of what healthy foods our bodies need to thrive. This propelled her take nutrition classes, eventually getting certifications in holistic wellness, weight management and youth nutrition. She became obsessed with reading and collecting new cookbooks, constantly trying new foods and recipes. Grocery shopping became a favorite pastime – discovering new ingredients and getting inspiration for new dishes.

Delicious food is what Rhonda’s excited about. Whether it’s cooking it, eating it, teaching her sons about it, or sharing it with other people, a good day for Rhonda is a day involving good food.

Laurie Trettel
Laurie TrettelPersonal Chef
Laurie’s passion for food began at an early age. Growing up the youngest of 4 children, dinners were always shared at a small kitchen table. Family favorites included old fashioned comfort foods such as meatloaf, pot roast, macaroni and cheese. Sundays were family meals, hours in the making, shared with grandparents and extended family. At a young age Scandinavian and German family traditions were passed on, most involving food and food preparation. Laurie has continued sharing these family experiences with her two daughters.

After working in Marketing, caring for parents and raising children, Laurie attended Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy. As a result of her enthusiasm for food, upon graduation, she was asked to share her passion by teaching at the school.

Throughout her endeavors, Laurie has developed a knowledge of ingredients and food preparation. She enjoys continually trying new things and developing new techniques. She has a strong desire to share and help others with dietary restrictions/health issues or just a desire to eat good food!

Tyler Aldridge
Tyler AldridgePersonal Chef
Born in Seattle, Tyler was raised eating homemade food and spent plenty of time in the garden growing up, but never really thought too much of it. However, in his early adulthood, health concerns prompted him to take his health into his own hands and let food be his medicine. He enrolled in culinary school, several in fact, in three different states, and not finding what he was looking for, decided to educate himself here at home.

He read dozens of cookbooks, watched documentaries, tried different diets, and found his passion. He changed careers so he could spend his time working with food. He spent several years waiting tables, managing, cooking in multiple restaurants (sometimes at the same time!) and even teaching food preparation classes. One summer he managed a produce market at an organic farm.

When we are healthy, we are better able to contribute our gifts to the world. Tyler is happy to use the skills and knowledge he has gained to help others to do the same.