Rising Star Pastry Chef Mellisa Root of Madera - Biography

Menlo Park, CA

May 2013

As a child Mellisa Root studied music and visual arts, but her passion for the culinary arts eventually won her affection. Her mother, recognizing Root’s fascination with cuisine and her affinity for Julia Child, suggested Root study to become a pastry chef. Root’s new direction paid off—she went on to graduate from the California Culinary Academy and eventually received training from some of the world’s most noted pastry chefs, including Ewald Notter, Michael Joy, Wiener Heitz, and Jacquey Pfeiffer.

Root began her career as a chocolatier at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando. She later moved to Houston, where she supervised the pastry shop of the River Oaks Country Club under the tutelage of Pastry World Champion Darrin Aoyama, who encouraged her competitive streak. After working as the pastry sous chef for Payard Patisserie in Las Vegas, Root took on the challenge of the 2008 World Culinary Olympics, representing the United States as the pastry chef and earning three gold medals. She also competed and earned medals at the 2007 International Culinary Federation competition in Chicago and in several American Culinary Federation national competitions before moving on as chocolatier of M Resort and Casino, Las Vegas for Jean Claude Cannistier M.O.F.

Momentarily putting aside competitions, Root worked as pastry chef de partie at Thomas Keller’s Per Se. When the opportunity arose to move back west, she took the position of pastry chef at the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, California. Drawing on her impressive background, Root produces exquisite pastry, bread, and chocolate programs for room service, banquets, and the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant Madera.