melissa Vélez-Luce grew up in the kitchen, alongside her abuela, her mother, and her father, all of whom loved to cook. At age five she designed restaurant menus and began plotting how to set up the family dining room to accommodate “the crowds” that would certainly be coming to the house to dine. To this day, there is a copy of Melissa’s Restaurant Menu in the Vélez family archives.

She spent years working in the food service industry at a family-run restaurant, where she cultivated customer service skills and an entrepreneurial spirit, and learned about the restaurant industry. By the age of 20, Chef Melissa was hosting dinner parties in her on-campus college apartment, setting out trays of spinach-portabello lasagna and platters of grilled chicken parmigiana for large groups of friends. As a college sophomore she took on the task of hosting her first four-course Thankgiving dinner complete with all the trimmings, and it has become a tradition since then.

Chef Melissa also spent several years working as an event planner, coordinating weddings, bridal and baby showers, corporate conferences and workshops, and festive celebrations. While she worked feverishly to make sure every detail of these events were well-executed, she noticed a trend: that no matter where she went or what type of crowd she served, people always had the most fun around the table.

Launching My Very Own Chef has given Chef Melissa the perfect opportunity to pair her attention to detail with her passions for cooking and serving others. She specializes in simple bistro fare and comfort foods, with a focus on making mealtime healthy, appealing, and fun for the whole family.



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