As a teenager, Mary started washing dishes at an Italian restaurant in native Las Vegas and made her way up the culinary ranks, both through education and experience. Mary moved to Norfolk to attend Johnson & Wales University and received her bachelor's degree in Food Service Management. She is an American Culinary Federation certified Chef De Cuisine with over 25 years of experience. She counts experiences like the Trellis in Williamsburg under the Death by Chocolate Chef Marcel Desauliners, Town Point Club in Norfolk, Cavalier Golf & Yacht Club in Virginia Beach and the Renaissance Hotel in Portsmouth among her many impressive work locations and joined the Culinary Institute of Virginia in 2013.
Chef Cook had been an instructor at the Culinary Institute of Virginia and was the Director of the Casual Gourmet program until 2020 when the pandemic impacted the program. She is a wife and mother to 5 young children and enjoys spending long summer days on the beach or camping with her family.