Melanie has worked as a Culinary Educator for 25 years, teaching at The Institute of Culinary Education in NYC in the Professional Pastry and Baking program, as well as in recreational and kids classes. For the past five years, she has taught high school culinary and baking arts in the Career and Technical Education Department. She is licensed to teach in New York and Connecticut. Passionate, engaging, and committed to her student's growth, she thrives by connecting with others and teaching them techniques and how to develop confidence, creativity, and calm in the kitchen. For teens, Melanie's philosophy is educating students to think both critically and creatively while creating a sense of confidence in themselves. Melanie believes that through food, cooking, and eating - all forms of gathering - we can connect. Teaching affords her a unique opportunity to align with young people and listen to their stories, fears, and hopes.
From Melanie, “Cooking can break down all types of barriers and unite us all. I’ve repeatedly observed how learning to cook and bake enriches lives - connecting with oneself, friends, and family, creating community, and developing self-confidence. ”
Melanie’s enthusiasm for fresh and organic food developed as a child on her family farm in Loudoun County, Virginia, where she began cooking at age four with her grandparents. Her grandmother, Eloise, taught her to bake with intuition and discernment. Her grandfather, Charlie, would invite the community over for butchering in the winter, canning in the summer, and these roots of connections began to solidify. Her family instilled this appreciation of food, family, and friends. She began working at a bakery in high school but never considered this a career choice. Quickly realizing this was the ONLY career choice. She apprenticed in Washington, D.C., before moving to New York, where she opened The Four Seasons Hotel and worked at The Plaza Hotel, Torre di Pisa, and other celebrated New York City restaurants.
In 1996 she transitioned to teaching and found her true passion as a cooking and baking instructor for professional and recreational programs at the Institute of Culinary Education. Melanie also taught private cooking classes and was a speaker on creativity and calm and how to bring it to the workplace. Her book, Making Artisan Cheesecake, was published in 2015 (Quarto Books), and she has contributed to numerous cookbooks.
Melanie is working on her next book, Rule Breaking Baking - Baking without Recipes. She continues to teach and host culinary retreats and camps.