Melissa's corporate chefs include Ida Rodriguez, Tom Fraker, Marco C. Zapien, Andrew Faulkner, and Miki Hackney.Ida Rodriguez
While always having a passion for cooking, it is only over the past few years that Ida Rodriguez has been able to extensively explore and teach about foods with a more exotic flair. Serving as Corporate Chef for Melissa's/World Variety Produce, Inc., Chef Ida is continually exposed to some of the latest and most sought after fresh fruits and vegetables from around the world.
While incorporating these exotic treasures into her classes, Chef Ida's friendly, "hands-on" approach to teaching makes her classes both informative and enjoyable for all cooks -- novice to intermediate. Chef Ida developed her passion while living in Europe for many years. Once there, she explored the varying cuisines of many countries including England, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain.
To this day, Chef Ida's love for the cuisines of Europe compels her to journey on an annual culinary tour of European countries with other professional instructors and food editors in search of what's new. Today, Chef Ida remains focused on healthy cooking using fresh fruits and vegetables from around the globe.
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Chef Tom studied at The California School of Culinary Arts - Le Cordon Bleu. He began working for Melissa's/World Variety Produce, Inc. as a Corporate Chef providing recipe design and testing, managing local demo programs, web site recipe design, daily tastings for the staff, and special events. Chef Tom loves to prepare tastings for Melissa's employees on a daily basis. He uses his culinary talents to create new and innovative recipes to taste Melissa's unique fruits and vegetables. Looks for Chef Tom's recipes on our website.
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Marco C. Zapien
Chef Marco graduated from the Los Angeles Culinary Institute in March 1997. He began his career as a prep cook, learning directly from chefs that had been in the industry for many years. Chef Marco then began working in the Sports and Entertainment food services industry, working at stadiums and arenas all over the country. He once even had the honor of a visit from Pope John Paul II while working at America's Center in St. Louis. As a corporate chef for Melissa's, he remains directly involved in the Sports and Entertainment industries by way of working with all of the chefs in the local stadiums and arenas.
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Chef Andrew Faulkner is currently working as a corporate chef for Melissa's. He is involved in heading up the Las Vegas Food Service Team and working on developing website recipes for our site. Since he has been with Melissa's, Chef Andrew has worked with our Merchandising and Tradeshow teams. He enjoys the trade and industry shows and helping to educate chefs on various types of produce to use in their creations. Chef Andrew is a graduate from the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon. He interned at the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel, CA then moved on to the Four Seasons Hotel and Pelican Hill Country Club, in Newport Beach, CA. Before coming to Melissa's he was with JW Marriott. Chef Andrew has had a passion for cooking since he was nine years old which grew stronger as he got older. While he was in high school, he would cater small parties with great success. His passion for cooking shows in the recipes he creates for Melissa's.
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Chef Miki Hackney has enjoyed food and the social interaction it prompts ever since a small child helping with large family parties; She loved making goodies from her Easy Bake Oven for her family and school friends. Following a business career, Chef Miki began her culinary career as a prep chef in Southern California restaurants and venues while studying her formal culinary education at California School of Culinary Arts-Le Cordon Bleu. As a Corporate Chef for Melissa’s/World Variety Produce, Miki manages the local demonstration programs, and prepares and conducts the staffs’ daily product samplings. Her gregarious, friendly nature and passion for cooking is exhibited when representing Melissa’s at local and out of state trade shows and expos, educating attendees of the various uses for the produce and related products Melissa’s supplies.
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