My Michelle’s began with an email. Or, at least, an email list.
Oxford, Mississippi native Michelle Rounsaville wondered what could happen if she sold casseroles. The Oxford High School and University of Mississippi graduate grew up with talented female cooks. Plus, she’d always loved serving her friends comforting meals from scratch.
It wasn’t until a year-long stint at Colorado Mountain College, where she studied the culinary arts, that Rounsaville considered catering. As someone who had worn every other culinary hat (bartending, apprenticing at resorts and managing restaurants), catering was fresh. Besides, there was something lovely about feeding hundreds of people in a short amount of time. So: she opened her browser.
Rounsaville’s emails were first sent to friends. She offered subscribers a few options of frozen casseroles, prepared fresh by her each week. By the end of the first run, her freezer was empty – and by June 2010, she needed a kitchen.
Rounsaville isn’t one to slow down. Just three years into business, she expanded her location and served in-house lunch. And four years after that, she executed a continental breakfast menu at the Inn at Ole Miss while sharing her expertise as a bar consultant and manager for The Jefferson. All the while, catering never slowed.
By 2020, Rounsaville had fully tapped into her creative prowess. Her restaurant shut down, but she sold casseroles, individually prepared meals and home deliveries. Shortly thereafter, she added grab-and-go catering – a staple product of the business.
For 13 years, Rounsaville, voted as Best of Oxford’s Best Chef and Best Grove Caterer, has offered the community incredible storytelling through food. The chef has built enduring relationships with clients, while her meals, marked by an ever-changing menu, usher people together. She’s fed James Meredith, Supreme Court Justices, ESPN executives, and country music singers. She’s plated meals that honor marriages and birthdays; Christmas and Thanksgiving; lives lived and goals scored.
There’s a reason Rounsaville’s business motto is “More than just great catering.” Her mission has never been about emails sent, casseroles made or tables decorated. At its heart, My Michelle’s curates conversations, experiences – and ultimately, relationships.
Michelle Rounsaville, an Oxford, Mississippi native and 2001 University of Mississippi graduate has always been surrounded by excellent cooks. Experience with diverse culinary traditions and a love for feeding people well led to the 2010 opening of her catering company, My Michelle’s. Rounsaville’s commitment to excellence has earned her titles such as Best of Oxford’s Best Chef (2022) and Best Grove Catering (2018). She has fed everyone from Luke Bryan to Supreme Court justices, and values every relationship built along the way. When she isn’t curating exceptional menus, she is watching live music with friends, spending time with her nieces and nephews, or doting on her three pets: Miles, a Corgi-mix; Rachel, a French Bulldog; Emmylou, a Bernedoodle; and Missy Elliott, a “cat raised by dogs.”
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND HEAD CHEF
Ellen Raiford Benz
Ellen Raiford Benz, a Clarksdale, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee native and 2015 University of Mississippi graduate, serves as My Michelle’s Chief Operating Officer and Chef de Cuisine. The once-intern now interprets Michelle’s menu and executes dishes for a wide range of clients and events, like ESPN staff, inside of Oxford, Mississippi’s Vaught-Hemingway stadium. Whether Raiford directs kitchen staff or administers catering for 600-person weddings, her aptitude for the field reflects My Michelle’s core values. When she isn’t feeding her community, she’s at home with her husband, Walker, or hiking with their Staffordshire Terrier, Rigby.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER AND CHEF DE CUISINE
Kinsey Everett, a DeWitt, Arkansas native and 2022 University of Mississippi graduate, serves as My Michelle’s Catering Manager. As a former hospitality management intern for the company, Everett is no stranger to the creativity her role requires. From constructing events to perfecting catering details, her background in business and hospitality shines. When she’s not executing the creativity and excellence My Michelle’s is known for, she’s being a dog mom to her Goldendoodle, Ruby, and teaching dance to children at Oxford Elite Dance Company.
Deborah Mann, Memphis, Tennessee native, has worked for My Michelle’s since October 2022. Her extensive experience in the hospitality and culinary industries across the Mid-South lend her an invaluable edge. She opens shop, serves customers, facilitates invoicing and scheduling and assists Michelle, among other tasks. Mann’s sense of humor is an asset to the team, and a quality she values in her colleagues, too. She appreciates that her job affords Michelle more time off. When she isn’t greeting customers with sincerity, she’s reading, listening to live music (“anything from Korn to Tyler Childers") or investing in her seven-year-old granddaughter. She is also a proud new dog mom to her Bernedoodle, Harley (who is sister to Michelle’s Bernedoodle, Emmylou).