When it comes to cooking and baking, pro chef Melanie Underwood is an expert’s expert—over 20 years of teaching at the Institute of Culinary Education will do that to a person. Since 2017, she's also been teaching in a Connecticut high school culinary arts program, changing teenagers’ lives by encouraging them to build marketable skills and develop self-confidence by gradually taking full command of a kitchen. And, Melanie has built a successful home-based business offering private cooking and baking lessons, both in person and virtually. Who better to be our first-ever Chef in Residence than Melanie? No one!
What is a Chef in Residence, you ask? Good question! The answer: Our Chef in Residence is a phenomenal cook, a passionate educator, and a skilled instructor, all rolled into one. And starting June 28, she will be sharing her talents on the regular on an amazing new live-streaming video platform called Kittch. The site is a digital playground where chefs can host demos and much more. Every 2 weeks, Melanie will go live on Kittch, sharing recipes and tips to make your life easier, more delicious or more fun—and preferably all three! Replays of live segments will be readily available if you can’t watch in real time, so no worries there. Best of all, viewers so inclined can click “Tip Chef” to make a donation to Cookies right then and there. A win-win!
Melanie is thrilled to be joining the Cookies team, and we’re so lucky to have her. She’s a longtime professional collaborator and friend of Cookies founder Gretchen Witt, and has been lending a helping hand since the organization’s early days. “I’ve believed in volunteering for my whole life,” says Melanie. “And knowing Gretchen and having a child made me feel especially strongly about this cause. Even in the thick of Covid, she wanted to find a way to pitch in so she devised a Virtual Bakesale concept, working with fellow foodie Jamie Wei. They picked four different types of cookies to bake strictly for pre-orders, suggesting a donation of $5 per cookie and a minimum of 6, for contact-free pickups at strategic locations. The pair raised over $3,000. Pretty sweet, right?
We’ll definitely keep you posted as her Cookies debut date—June 22!—gets closer. In the meantime, get to know Melanie at her website, follow her on Instagram, and check out her existing replays on Kittch. So excited for what Melanie is going to bring to our table!