Pastry Chef Melody Lee of ABC Kitchen - Biography

New York, NY

May 2013

A Queens native, Pastry Chef Melody Lee never even considered a career in the kitchen. Within her Taiwanese family the kitchen was the exclusive domain of her grandmother, who prepared traditional dishes for all the holidays. Lee’s own childhood aspirations leaned towards being a doctor, but by the time she reached college she had decided on becoming a lawyer and completed a psychology degree at NYU before landing a job as a paralegal. However, after two years dealing with ugly battles over child custody, she decided to make a change to a career where she could facilitate happiness and enjoyment.

Spurred by the excitement of the Top Chef series she enrolled at the French Culinary Institute to study pastry arts.

Following on graduation in 2004 she worked as a pastry cook at Craft Steak NYC (now Colicchio & Sons) for six months before making a move to The River Café in Brooklyn, where she worked for a year and a half. Lee found her next position at Southgate, now in the Essex House hotel, working under renowned chef Kerry Heffernan. In 2010 Lee departed Southgate to sign on as Pastry Chef for a new venture, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen. For the last three years she has been working with Executive Chef Dan Kluger to serve sophisticated farm-to-table comfort foods.