David began his career in the food racket during the early 1980s when he dropped out of college to work at various dairy and organic vegetable farms in Vermont. He spent 4 years milking cows, baling hay, spreading manure, turning compost, raising pigs, and tending acres of winter squash and daikon. David also spent a number of years as an itinerant hippie working with the renowned Bread and Puppet Theater in northeastern Vermont.
In 1991, he moved to New York City where he participated in the Whitney Museum’s Independent Studio Program. From 1993 to 2001 he was a successful designer for the cultural theory industry, producing books by Luce Irigaray, Judith Butler, Etienne Balibar, and Michael Taussig, among many others.
In 2001, David moved to Los Angeles to pursue an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studio Art at UCLA. While completing his degree, David and his wife Julia Meltzer purchased the old manufacturing building in Elysian Valley that now houses elysian and Clockshop, Julia’s arts production non-profit. From 2003 to 2010, Julia and David lived and worked in the space, collaborating on film and video works that have been exhibited nationally and internationally. David also began cooking for private events and working in various kitchens around Los Angeles, including Canelé with chef Corina Wiebel and Ammo with chef Daniel Mattern. By 2009, he was hosting private dinners that turned his creative live/workspace into an intermittent restaurant named elysian. These irregular and lovely dinners have now evolved into a full-service restaurant and bar.
With elysian, David has created an inviting, communal atmosphere that celebrates food, art and community. Diners are not hustled in and out, but welcomed to linger in a place that still feels like someone’s home.
Southern California native Mark Hendrix got his start in the restaurant business after moving to New York in 2008. Shortly after settling in his new town, Mark was introduced to the owners of Five Leaves in Brooklyn, landed a job as barback and quickly rose through the ranks to head bartender. After a few years honing his craft, he made the move back to California and settled in Los Angeles, where he worked at a number of well-respected establishments, including L.A. Chapter at Ace Hotel, Allumette and Dirty Laundry, as well as consulting for a number of places around town such as Alma at The Standard, Amigo Room at Ace Hotel Palm Springs, Trejos Tacos, Avua Cachaca and Absolut Elyx Vodka. Hendrix now brings his passion for crafting cocktails to elysian and has developed a cocktail menu that blends both classic standards as well as innovative potables that pay tribute to seasons.
Kayla is a wedding and event planner with 6 years of extensive experience in creative and corporate planning. With over hundreds of events successfully produced, she has a knack for creating captivating events that fit all sizes and budgets. After years in the finance and corporate world, she decided to quit and pursue her passion for events, food, and creativity. Outside of elysian, Kayla owns a boutique wedding and event planning company. A food aficionado, she also co-founded Scoopd, a mobile app that focuses on improving restaurant customer service. In her free time, Kayla volunteers for the Be The Match foundation and loves cooking with friends.
assistant to the creative director
Upon moving to Los Angeles, Bethany decided to establish new roots by digging in and getting involved with LA-based non-profit Food Forward, harvesting backyard fruit that was donated to local food pantries, shelters and after school programs. She was enchanted by elysian at Food Forward's second annual fundraiser Spring Melt, and joined the team soon after. Since then she has worn many hats: coordinating collaborations, assisting in sourcing local ingredients, and managing the guestbook—from behind the scenes as well as hosting at the very front of the house.