Our Team

Headshot of Elissa PhillipsElissa Phillips is the founder and CEO of Mise En Place Restaurant Services, Inc. Accounting and Finance have always been strengths of Elissa’s but hospitality and food have always been her passion. As a child most of the play dates Elissa hosted involved baking or cooking. Having grown up in a home where breakfasts and dinners were always eaten as a family, food has always been important to Elissa.

But in school she excelled in those subjects where numbers were dominant. Elissa received a Bachelor of Business degree and a Masters in Accounting degree from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Upon graduating college, Elissa passed the CPA exam and then went to work for Bear Stearns as an investment banking analyst. At Bear she learned what it meant to work long hours and to work in a client driven industry. During her years in the analyst program Elissa worked on numerous valuations, fairness opinions, equity offerings and exclusive sales of middle-market businesses.

When Elissa decided to go back to school for her MBA she realized that she wanted to put her entrepreneurial spirit to work to enter the industry she was passionate about. During her two years at the Stern School of Business at NYU Elissa worked on her business plan for a natural foods, fast casual restaurant. After graduation she spent a season on Nantucket working at the Boarding House and Pearl restaurants to learn about the day to day operations of a restaurant and after the season ended she returned to her native Los Angeles to begin fund raising and site selection for solar HARVEST. While her restaurant was not the success she had hoped for, the experience of creating a business plan, building and launching a restaurant, operating the restaurant through three meal periods a day seven days a week and eventually closing the restaurant gave Elissa the education she needed to really understand all of the intricacies of the restaurant industry.

In 2007 Elissa started the Southern California office for Vine Solutions. In five years she grew the business to over 60 restaurant locations in Southern California, including some of L.A.’s best known restaurants. In early 2012 Elissa decided to start Mise En Place Restaurant Services to provide different levels of customized accounting services to restaurants while focusing on exceptional customer service.

Elissa has been active in culinary philanthropies in Los Angeles since she returned to L.A. in 2004. She served on the planning committee for No Kid Hungry’s Taste of the Nation and for three years was the Chair of the Committee.  Elissa also serves on the Advisory Board for C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Programs) an organization that helps lower income students develop culinary skills and eventually earn scholarships to culinary arts programs at universities and trade schools. Mise En Place provides an annual scholarship to C-CAP as well. For the past few years Elissa has been mentoring grant recipients for Re:Her, a non-profit with a mission to advance women food & beverage entrepreneurs.  She is also active in Alumni events for her high school, Brentwood School, and participates from time to time in events for the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and NYU Stern School of Business.

Elissa recently relocated to Singapore with her husband, Rick, their children Alexis, Spencer and Holden, and their golden retrievers Baxter and Astro. She really misses the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market and is enjoying exploring new cuisines in Southeast Asia.  Her hobbies include hiking, running, yoga, reading and cooking.

Angela Cowley: Director of HR

Angela Cowley has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of both payroll and human resources, including working for several years at a Professional Employer Organization.  She has managed payrolls that range from two to 1,800 employees in industries ranging from restaurants to construction, and has handled multi-state, certified and prevailing wage payrolls.  In addition to managing the internal HR at MEP, Angela has significant experience consulting with restaurant clients on their HR needs, most often handling employee screening/hiring/training, benefits enrollment and ACA compliance, constructing employee handbooks and training manuals, harassment investigations, and cultivating SOPs, job descriptions, and employee development plans.  Angela studied at Utah Valley University and Brigham Young University.  Angela loves to spend time with her family camping, hiking, or attending sporting events.  She loves to run and has completed more than 15 half-marathons and one full marathon.  Her passion is sewing, and she spends an exorbitant amount of time each year creating extravagant Halloween costumes for her children from scratch.

Gavin Bates: Director of Systems and Finance

Gavin Bates is a seasoned accounting and consulting professional with a specialization in the restaurant industry. Currently serving as the Director of Systems & Finance, Gavin joined Mise En Place in July 2016, and has over fifteen years of experience in overseeing financial operations and ensuring the accuracy and integrity of financial statements.

Prior to his role at Mise En Place Restaurant Services Inc., Gavin served as a Principal at Aspire – Accounting, Consulting, Tax, where he provided expert guidance and strategic insights to clients across various industries. His contributions were instrumental in helping businesses optimize their financial performance and navigate complex accounting challenges.

Gavin has also gained valuable experience in the restaurant industry through his roles at Umami Restaurant Group, LLC and Matchbox Food Group, where he honed his analytical skills and deepened his understanding of the unique accounting needs within the sector.

With his comprehensive background in accounting and consulting, Gavin is a trusted partner for restaurant owners, consistently driving financial growth and ensuring operational excellence.

Gavin is a certified public accountant, with a bachelor’s in accounting from St. Vincent College.

Rose Besone: Director of Client Services and Implementation Coordinator

Growing up among the palm trees and farmers markets in sunny West Los Angeles, Rose has been a foodie since birth. At an age where most teenagers were sneaking off to go to parties on Saturday nights, Rose was honing her cooking skills, whipping up seafood risottos and coq au vin for her family and friends. While pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in French Literature from U.C. Santa Cruz, Rose spent a year abroad in Paris and fell in love with all things French. She moved back to Paris after college, where she cut her teeth working as a prep chef in Paris restaurants before following her passion to hospitality management, receiving her MBA degree in Hospitality from ESSEC – IMHI (partnered with the Cornell Hotel School in New York). Soon after completing her degree, Rose returned to her hometown, and began working in the restaurant industry. She eventually spent over five years working for famed chef Suzanne Goin managing The Larder at Tavern, before joining Mise en Place and achieving her dream of having weekends off.