Melissa is a restaurateur, professional cook and writer, specializing in Sicilian cuisine. She holds both a Masters in Journalism and a B.A. from Columbia University, as well as a degree in Culinary Arts and International Breadmaking from the French Culinary Institute.
Once dubbed “the Kitchen Mistress” by a New York Post critic, Melissa was born in New York, but owes her passion for food to her childhood summers in rural Sicily, where she learned the value of being connected to the land. She is a firm believer that good eating is a cornerstone of living a long and healthful life.
At the age of 22, Melissa’s childhood dream of opening a restaurant came to fruition, when she designed and developed “Osteria del Gallo Nero,” a Tuscan country-style restaurant in Greenwich Village, which she successfully operated and owned for the duration of the restaurant’s lease.
In 2010, Melissa opened Bar Eolo, a self-professed “love letter to Sicily,” in Chelsea. Inspired by her childhood adventures and her fascination with the food culture of the region, Eolo’s seasonal menus reflect the history and cultural calendar of Sicily.
Melissa’s latest venture, Pastai, an artisan pasta bar, opened in March 2013, also in Chelsea. When not in the kitchen, Melissa is writing her first cookbook, Tasting Sicily (Rizzoli, 2016), about Sicilian food and wine.