Chef Zach Meloy - Biography

September 2013

For as long as Zach Meloy can remember, he has always catalogued his memories around food. From vacations to days at summer camp, he’d always take note of what he’d eaten. But it was during college, working with Chef Frank Stitt at Bottega, where Meloy became interested in life as a professional cook. After graduating from university with degrees in ceramics and Spanish, he shifted his sights towards food.

Meloy then attended Johnson & Wales in Denver, and shortly after finishing classes, he spent close to five years living, traveling, eating, and studying in Central America. Seeing the shared ingredients he’d once thought specific to his home in Atlanta, he became fascinated with the natural overlaps between the Latin and Southern American kitchens. While in Costa Rica, he worked as a private chef, catering to tourists in the area. During that time he also met his wife Christina, and the couple quickly relocated back to his hometown of Atlanta, GA, to start their life while trying to compete in the city’s quickly growing culinary industry.

Taking elements from the chefs he’s spent time with—Kevin Taylor and Sean Yontz in Denver, Gerry Klaskala, Micah Willix and Jay Swift in Atlanta—Meloy tried to establish his own style of cooking based in his roots in Southern and Latin food while elevating them with creative flavor combinations and expressive presentations. In 2011, he and Christina launched PushStart Kitchen, a successful underground supper club in Atlanta. Tucked away in a 130-year-old factory space, the couple serves private, prix fixe meals to members of their modern speakeasy, focusing on their favorite elements of their Latin-Southern “mash up” cuisine. The supper club has been featured everywhere from Food Network’s “Chopped,” and TBS’ program Trends With Benefits to Jezebel Magazine and the Atlantan. In 2013, the couple began working towards their ultimate goal, a PushStart Kitchen brick and mortar space.