“This award is being given to honor both Carol Fay’s memory and to give back to the community she loved so much,” said Trisha Elcan a co-owner of the Loveless Cafe. “We lost her too soon and our hope is that this fund will allow her to continue to inspire people and ensure that her legacy of working hard and dreaming big will continue forever.”
The annual award will be given to help recipients overcome obstacles in their lives and enable them to move forward to the next step in pursuing a “big dream.” Awards will be made to one or more individuals who embody the spirit with which Carol Fay worked her way up from a dishwasher at age 14 to become the national spokesperson for The Loveless Cafe. In addition to her loyalty and work ethic, Carol Fay always kept a positive attitude and always dreamt big!
“One of the most gratifying parts of working with Carol Fay over the last several years was watching what joy she took in being ‘The Biscuit Lady,’” said Tom Morales a co-owner of the Loveless Cafe. “Through the generosity of Trisha and Chuck Elcan who started this fund, Carol Fay’s spirit of living an unimaginable dream will live on through those she continues to inspire.”
The award might be used for opportunities around health and well-being or issues of self-improvement like additional education or training. Any person is eligible to apply for this award after 2012. Prior to that, nominations will only come from employees of The Loveless Cafe. Recipients will be chosen by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. For more information about the award or to contribute to the fund visit www.lovelesscafe.com
“She would be so proud and pleased to know that her legacy is living on and through someone else,” said Allisha Ellison, daughter of Carol Fay. “My family and I can take great comfort in knowing someone else will get to find the same kind of joy and happiness in life that my mother found in being ‘the biscuit lady!’”
About Carol Fay Ellison...“The Biscuit Lady”
Carol Fay Ellison brought a smile to the face of everyone she met. As the youngest of 9 children and a single mother herself, Carol Fay knew the value of hard work. She spent most of her childhood in the kitchen with her mother preparing the meals for their large southern family. Her father died when she was only two years old. It was this time with her mother that showed Carol Fay the value of a strong work ethic.
Born and raised in Nashville, Tenn., she first began working at Nashville’s famous Loveless Cafe in 1979 (more than 30 years ago) as a dishwasher while she was still in high school. For years, Carol Fay would watch the workings of the busy cafe while she scrubbed away in the back of the kitchen. One day, after the cook called in sick, Carol Fay stepped away from the sink and in front of the stove. By the end of the night, she had proven her abilities and, over the years, she worked her way up until Carol Fay was, among other things, the keeper of the prized biscuit recipe and the only one that could make the famous old-fashioned preserves. Through the years, many of Carol Fay’s coworkers came and went, but she stayed – never imagining that one day, she would be the face of the Loveless Cafe.
In the fall of 2003, the Loveless Cafe was sold. A new staff and management team no longer saw Carol Fay as just another employee – they knew she was much more than that. During the reopening of the Cafe, when stress was boiling over quicker than a pot of grits, it was Carol Fay who always remained calm. It was Carol Fay that was always smiling. It was Carol Fay that had the answers to all the questions; after all she had done virtually every job in her 25 years at the Loveless.
Carol Fay Ellison was a rare breed. She was hard working, compassionate, dedicated, and most of all, a true gift to those who knew her. The values of hard work and dedication that she learned early on from her late mother reigned true through her entire life. Always giggling, always smiling and always appreciative of the joys in her life. Carol Fay did not greet you with a handshake; she greeted you with a hug. In less than a year after the reopening of the Loveless Cafe, Carol Fay saw her face in LIFE magazine, her name in Gourmet, and her photo on the front page of USA Today. She had the opportunity to make biscuits with Katie Couric and Al Roker of NBC’s TODAY and Harry Smith of CBS’s Early Show, travel to Los Angeles for the Ellen show, teach Conan O’Brien techniques for making great biscuits on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, show Martha Stewart some Southern hospitality on Martha, “Throwdown” with Bobby Flay on Food Network and cook with Paula Deen in her kitchen (airing July 24 on Food Network). Carol Fay was grateful indeed for the chance to live life in a way she never knew existed – to travel the country, meet the stars . . . and for once, to feel like one herself. Carol Fay passed away on April 5, 2010.
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