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Melissa Kelly is the Executive Chef of the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Inn, a position she has held since the 1995 opening. On May 3, 1999 Melissa won the American Express Best Chef: Northeast Award at the James Beard Foundation Awards in New York City. These awards are the culinary equivalent of the Academy Awards. She was a 1998 nominee for the award.

Chef Kelly grew up on Long Island where her earliest cooking lessons took place in her Italian grandmother's kitchen. First in her graduating class from the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Kelly's post-graduate education took place in some of the top restaurant kitchens in the country. At the Greenbrier Hotel she learned "two valuable lessons -volume and speed." At Larry Forgione's An American Place she learned cooking history and lore, and at Alice Waters' Chez Panisse she found a style- "simplicity, seasonality, freshness."

Sous Chef at An American Place then Executive Chef of Forgiones's Beekman 1776 Tavern, Melissa was named one of the upcoming chefs of the 90s by Food & Wine magazine. As Executive Chef at the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Inn she continues living up to this prophecy.

In 1996, because of Melissa, the Inn was named one of "The Best New Restaurants" by Esquire and "Gourmet Retreat of the Year" by Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report, who named the Inn a "Grand Winner" in 1997. In fact, Melissa's culinary skills have been recognized by many publications, too numerous to mention here, but a feature article in The New York Times called her a "sorceress," and a recent article in The Boston Globe said she is, "an undisputed culinary star," and the inn, "is a mecca for food lovers, because of Melissa Kelly." Chef Kelly's cuisine can be summed up best in the words of one reviewer as "worth a drive from just about anywhere."

The Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Inn, located in Old Chatham, New York, is a member of Relais & Chateaux and a Mobil Four-Star Award winner.


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