Meet Chef Izzy Cross

New Director and Head Chef

Isabel “Izzy” Cross is the Program Director and Head Chef of Huntington’s Kitchen. In her role, she is helping increase the Kitchen’s profile as a gathering place for cooking, connection, and health, as well as expanding educational and outreach programming for various audiences. Isabel is also working with the Kitchen’s advisory panel to help improve the community’s health through prevention and reduction of diet-related disease through healthy food and cooking education.

Chef’s Cooking Background

Her background includes a wealth of training and experience. Isabel started cooking at a young age in her native Caracas, Venezuela, developing the talents that later culminated with her first business in college. The revenue from her small create-your-own-pizza shop helped pay for her bachelor’s degree at Andres Bello Catholic University. Inspired by the multicultural gourmet scene in Caracas, she decided to then attend culinary school and graduated from the Centro Venezolano de Capacitacion Gastronomica in 1999.

Chef’s Local Connection

After culinary school, “Izzy” moved to the United States, where she earned her Master’s degree in Organizational Communication from Marshall University in 2005. While completing her studies, she began teaching as an adjunct faculty member for the Marshall Culinary Arts program in 2004. Locally, she and husband Mark operate the renowned 21 at the Frederick in the historic Hotel Frederick in downtown Huntington. Featuring modern American cuisine, the restaurant has received “Best Steak” for 10 consecutive years in “Best of the Tri-State” voting conducted by the Herald-Dispatch newspaper.

In addition, in 2011 Isabel led a team in the first Heritage Farm Cast Iron Cook-off that captured first place in the “Open Fire” division. Chef Cross’s team won the state competition in 2012 and in 2013 took first place in the “Throw Down” division. Since then, Isabel has served as a culinary judge in several cooking competitions around the state. She and her husband have two children, Fisher and Camila, and their four-legged kid, Dumpling.