Originally from Southern California, Deja Marrone Hart grew up with a passion for cooking. The influence of a large Italian family gave Deja comfort in the kitchen and the opportunity to test her recipes on her willing family.
After graduating high school, Deja moved to Los Angeles where she attended and graduated from the Art Institute of California with an Associates degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Management. Throughout school, Deja worked full time at a private beach resort, the Jonathan Club, where she mentored under Chef Colin Sako.
After completing her schooling at the Art Institute Deja moved to Northern California to work at a five star, five diamond luxury hotel and Relais Gourmand restaurant, The Estate by the Elderberries. This property’s restaurant, Erna’s Elderberry House, utilizes the bounty of the local farmer’s market with a daily changing 5-course prix fixe menu. Over a period of 2 ½ years Deja worked her way from Garde Manger to Line Cook and eventually to Chef de Partie under the mentorship of Executive Chef James Overbaugh.
During the Summer of 2006 Deja received a phone call from former Chef, Colin Sako, who offered her an Executive Chef position in Mahattan Beach, CA. Seizing this opportunity, Deja tearfully left the Estate by the Elderberries and took over the helm at a small Thai and Indonesian restaurant – Chakra.
One year later, she was persuaded to return to the Estate by the Elderberries when the Director of Operations, James Overbaugh, offered her the position of Executive Assistant.
Upon her return, Deja became responsible for the preparation and execution of all off-site caterings and cooking classes!
In July of 2010, Deja’s husband, Karsten Hart, was offered the Executive Chef position at Castle Hill. They made the long journey across country to beautiful Newport, Rhode Island. Deja started her own hot sauce company (Rhed’s) in 2017 an became co-owner of Newport Cooks in January of 2018.