My food stories appeared weekly, both in print in cover stories in the O.C. Register’s food section and online for 26 years. My work showcased diverse topics. One week it might be a taste test to find the best inexpensive extra-virgin olive oil; the next week it might be a close-up look at bar food trends. Sometimes my stories chronicle a travel adventure; other times a great new cookbook. Or maybe ten great things to make with bacon.

Now I am an online columnist for Orange Coast Magazine. My chef profiles and videos appear at

And now due to the interest in “quarantine cuisine,” I’m back in a full-page cooking story every Sunday in the OC Register newspaper (as well as all the other Southern California News Group papers – that includes Press Enterprise, Pasadena Star News, Daily Breeze, L.A. Daily News, Press Telegram and several weekly newspapers.)

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 second book debuted in spring 2010,  “Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce” (Wiley, $29.95). And my third book, “50 Best Plants on the Planet (Chronicle, $29.95) explores the fifty most nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables on earth. The recipes are easy and delicious.

I pioneered the use of culinary-based flash 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.

The images above (and below) are examples of food shoots with Nick Koon. Nick is one of the best food photographers in the business. We have shot hundreds and hundreds of food photos together, the kind that make you drool. You may see more of his work at