Food, glorious food. Not only do I love to cook, I love to write about it. There is always something new to learn and my job as Food Columnist. It’s a gig that gives me the opportunity to discover breaking food news on a daily basis.
There are new ingredients, innovative techniques, and provocative cutting-edge twists; trend-setting chefs to cook with, and recipes to develop and test. I was honored with a first place award as the Best Food Columnist in the nation from the Association of Food Journalists (in the large newspaper division – meaning I beat out the big wigs).
As the Food Columnist for The Orange County Register for 26 years, I chronicled culinary trends and the people that make them – written about everything from avocados to zucchini, haute cuisine to down-home favorites, soup, yes, to nuts. Beer Can Chicken with Steven Raichlin, raspberry tarts with Jacques Pepin, tuna sandwiches with Julia Child, and weight-loss recipes with Pam Anderson. Yes, and salt-baked sea bass with Thomas Keller! Now I am an online columnist for Orange Coast Magazine (orangecoast.com).
Because I’ve studied with chefs across America, Europe and Asia, I have a passion for ethnic cuisines. I love to embrace new flavors, new aromas and new techniques. When it comes to cooking and eating, there is always something new to experience.
My first book was published in 2006, “Melissa’s Great Book of Produce” (Wiley, $29.95, 2006 – written for Melissa’s World Variety Produce, the LA-Based company that is the nation’s largest distributor of specialty and organic produce). My new book is “Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce” (Wiley, $29.95). The book has received fantastic reviews. Emeril plugged the book on Good Morning America, naming it as one of the top ten cookbooks for the season. My third book, “50 Best Plants on the Planet (Chronicle, $29.95) explores the fifty most nutrient dense fruits and vegetables that grow on earth. The recipes are easy and delicious.
I pioneered the use of culinary videos on the Web, taping hundreds of cooking “how-to’s” and celebrity interviews. Slicing, simmering and sautéing, I’ve shot with celebrity chefs, such as Jacques Pepin and Marcus Samuelsson, as well as cookbook authors and restaurateurs from around the globe.
These short videos have spotlighted everything from beer-can chicken with Steven Raichlen to molecular cuisine (turning melon puree into “caviar”) with Rob Wilson. And yes, I’ve gone behind the bar and whipped up cocktails with a cast of talented bartenders.