02/08/2010

Profile

Melanie’s Kitchen: is a professional cooking resource operated by Melanie Preschutti, a self-taught chef, experienced cooking consultant, recipe developer, instructor, on-air cooking host/personality and food writer/blogger ... she was actually born a foodie. Melanie is also a member of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) at the Professional level. 

 

Restaurants:   For over fourteen years, using her research library of over 6,000 cookbooks, Melanie has developed unique recipes and planned events for a diverse group of casual to upscale restaurants, chefs, caterers and private individuals.  Recipes developed by Melanie include year-round, as well as seasonal signature dishes, plus a host of frequently requested favorites!

 

Boutiques & Cooking Classes:  Melanie’s Kitchen presents cooking demonstrations and cooking classes for food stores and specialty shops that increases traffic and educates customers on using ingredients unique to that store.  Melanie’s demonstrations not only generate cash, but continue to generate profits through return visits by delighted customers.  Demonstrations and classes are also available to organizations, groups, private individuals and even families based upon their specific requests and requirements...  from novice cooks who want to learn, to experienced cooks who want to learn more, participants leave with a respect for organization, the skills and knowledge to cook a wide variety of great tasting food, plus, the confidence to do it for themselves, their family and their friends!

 

Television:  Melanie volunteers many hours each year as the Cooking Consultant and Cookbook Editor for WPSU-TV, the Penn State University's public broadcasting station.  Melanie, whether on camera doing her own cooking segment, or behind the scenes doing food-styling for a guest, uses her over-the-top organizational skills to make everything look easy and fun, not to mention taste fabulous and appear just beautiful.  In this same capacity, Melanie also organizes and supervises food demonstrations for celebrity chefs who visit the WPSU television studios.  To date, she has worked for and with:  Lidia Bastianich, John Folse, Joanne Weir, Martin Yan and Steven Raichlen.  For example:  Melanie's Kitchen supplied all of the hardware and prepared all of the food for Lidia's live demonstration (as well as all of the food for the 100+ donors and guests of the station seated in the audience), which Lidia gleefully declared to be "the most organized demonstration she had ever seen"!

 

In 2011, thanks to and in conjuction with WHVL-TV in Centre County, Melanie began hosting her own weekly "Kitchen Encounters with Melanie Preschutti" cooking segment on their Sunday morning show "The Centre of It All."  Filming is done right in Melanie's Kitchen.  When the segment airs, WHVL links viewers directly into Melanie's blog, www.kitchenencounters.typepad.com, so they get immediate access to all of her recipes, along with detailed instructions, as well as her own step-by-step photography.  As Melanie puts it, "it is just me being me, doing what I do on TV!" 

 

TV Cookbooks:  Melanie's Kitchen has organized, designed and edited three cookbooks from recipes submitted by the viewers of WPSU television.  Melanie's editing process includes reviewing all of the recipes for initial content, revising them to fit the proper/standard format, then making phone calls to the participants/contributors in order to iron out any glitches, answer any questions, and, get a personal story to introduce that persons recipe(s).  These three books also contain many of Melanie's personal cooking tips, serve-with suggestions and brief Editor's notes.  Melanie's philosophy regarding writing cookbooks in general, respects a quote from Julia Child: 

"A cookbook is only as good as the worst recipe in it... if someone tries a recipe for the first time and it does not work, they will never use that book again"! 

 

Private Consultations:  Melanie has developed many specialized recipes for individuals with dietary restrictions and preferences ranging from diabetes and gluten-free to ethnic requests and religious concerns, for both the young and the elderly.  Once a list of ingredients is provided to Melanie (which must be approved by the appropriate professionals), she begins creating tasty and healthy alternatives to bland and boring diets using readily available ingredients.  Melanie's Kitchen prides itself in teaching people how to prepare and serve:  "Healthy, delicious, creative food that is enjoyed by everyone at every occasion". 

 

Cookbook Reference Library:  Melanie’s Kitchen includes (on premise and literally in Melanie's Kitchen) a world-class cookbook library of well over 6,000 volumes.  The diversity of Melanie's collection includes every type and style of cuisine.  Melanie and her husband Joe have traveled extensively over the past 30 years of their marriage.  Melanie takes great enjoyment returning home from each trip with a suitcase full of regional cookbooks, recipes and hardware.  In addition to her hardcopy reference library, the collection is enhanced by over 25 years of cooking periodicals, containing every issue of major cooking literature published for public consumption since the early 1980’s.  To have a cooking question answered or a recipe researched, clients, cooking friends, blog readers and foodies simply contact www.kitchenencounters.typepad.com.  Melanie answers each and every question personally!

 

In 1999, The Centre Daily Times, a local newspaper, published an article about Melanie's library.  This resulted in a visit from WTAJ-TV and a live on-air interview, which was aired several times.  Shortly after that, early in 2000, The Good Cook Book Club (a leading cookbook sales outlet) recognized her and her library in its national publication.  Shortly after that, all sorts of people started calling and e-mailing, asking for recipe research and cooking lessons!

 

Most recently, one of Melanie’s recipes was chosen by America’s Test Kitchen in Boston and appears in their book:  America’s Best Lost Recipes121 Kitchen-Tested Heirloom Recipes Too Good to Forget.  Quoting the book:  "A lost recipe is served and that first taste, like the last line of a good O.Henry story, is a reawakening, a connection to another cook, perhaps a long time ago, who lived a very different sort of life."  "These really are the best of the lost recipes, the best of our immigrant experience, the best of home cooks being inventive with sometimes new ingredients and sometimes few ingredients."  Melanie's Texas Chili Dog Recipe, developed completely by her based upon an immigrant Greek legend, appears on page 40 of their book.  It was chosen from some 2,800 total recipes submitted to represent "121 slices of Americana".  Why submit a recipe for a chili dog???  The criteria was to come up with a recipe that represented our American heritage, and, come up with a recipe not readily found in any other cookbook!

 

Melanie’s Kitchen Recipes & Cookbook(s):  Melanie’s Kitchen has over 700 of it’s own detailed, instructional recipes that have been tested for accuracy, resulting in the most delicious dishes with a zero-tolerance for error.  Besides being a tremendous compilation of great food, personal narratives and photos, this recipe collection stands apart because of the “obsessive-compulsive” attention to details.  Going well beyond a normal cookbook’s format of merely listing ingredients with brief, abbreviated, many times vague cooking instructions, Melanie’s recipes: specify a list of required/preferred-sized cooking tools and utensils; provide specific cooking times and details for all food processing methods; tailor the ingredients to produce amounts of product that precisely fit into specified equipment.  When you follow the recipe without exception, the food is fabulous and there is not a drop of wasted materials!  Melanie’s Kitchen recipes are purposefully overwritten and structured so that a novice cook will get excellent results and an experienced cook can quickly grasp the process without wasting time on instructional details.  More than a few, in fact almost all of Melanie's students have have made comments like: "after following your recipes, I don't want to cook from any other cookbook"!

 

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti