Melissa Mayer is a chef and and an artist with a purpose, balancing advocacy, education and pleasure for the sake of her gastronomic mission. Melissa is a vital voice for the principle that what we eat can change our culture, our environment and our lives. She brings her focus to paper, to art, to community fundraising and of course, to the plate, delivering equal parts awareness and pleasure. (Complete Bio)
Chef Melissa Mayer is part of the San Diego culinary crowd, one of the adventurous, high energy food explorers trekking through Baja with her camera in tow. You can find her cheering for the expansion and growth of the San Diego Public Market Project, working her artistic creativity and culinary talents for organizations like the New Children’s Museum and more. Listen closely… You will hear her name over and over.
What/who inspired you to cook?
I’m inspired to cook each and every time I travel to another city and country, taking in all of the cultural splendors of a specific city, time and place. I’m so immersed in the culinary sights, smells & flavors! I take all the discoveries & memories with me and imagine what I can do with all these amazing food ingredients out there. If you were to say to me, “Mexico.” I would immediately begin planning a menu because my journeys into Mexico elicit warm and inspired memories of amazing food steeped in culture and beauty.
What about feeding people intrigues you?
Feeding people is more than just giving them a source of food. It is about having the opportunity to provide more than sustenance. As chefs, we can influence people’s food choices, quietly or with a greater voice. We have exposure to foods that the every day consumer does not. We can share new foods with people they may otherwise have not discovered. What intrigues me is that we can generate excitement just by sharing new foods, new flavors, new ingredients with our guests. We can change minds and evolve minds about foods they haven’t tried or tried and didn’t like before. We can influence important food decisions regarding the food chain and food sources. We have an immediate ability to do good for our food community. I am intrigued by that ability and by the ability to make people happy through food experiences.
What is the best meal you have ever had and what made it so special?
Favorite meals are easy to have and they do not require depleting your bank account to experience. Grab some friends and drive to Ensenada, eat your way through the best street carts in the city and you will be in food heaven. Love, Love El Fenix Fried Fish and Shrimp tacos. I can still taste the flavors exploding in my mouth. If your first stop is La Guerrerense, you should probably only eat there. One bite of Sabina Bandera’s ceviche tostadas will leave you speechless because nothing can describe the effects your feeling from the food wizardry she crafts. In a nutshell, the most special meals are the ones where you know love was a main ingredient.
Name one thing still on your culinary bucket list?
San Sebastian, Puebla, Vietnam, can’t just name one! Too much to experience! We should take in as much as we can for there is so much out there to discover. There is a lot to be said for taking the unbeaten path.
What do you want to ensure your patrons walk away with once leaving one of your culinary experiences?
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