Let me start with an apt metaphor.
So, I was in the gym of my apartment building, anxiously waiting for my personal trainer to arrive for the first time. I was a bit nervous since I've never met her before, at the time, and I had never properly worked out in my life. I have always been that kind of person who hardly works out and had just wished my body desired shape would naturally work out. It didn't happen, haha. So, I decided to take advantage of the well-equipped gym in my apartment building. While I was waiting for the body trainer, I thought I should try to use at least some equipment. Time is money. Just do it. For the first time in my life, I was determined to work out. Even though I consider myself clever, I was totally clueless about the equipment there. I wished I could go back to kitchen. That's the domain with which I am familiar. I know how to use the tools and the equipment in the kitchen. I am also very knowledgeable about ingredients, for example, there are different kind of lemon, such as Eureka lemon and Meyer lemon. Since I had to purchase some clothing for my first work-out class, I discovered there is another kind of lemon, it's called "Lulu Lemon," and it has nothing to do with produce. It is a brand for sports ware. Believe it or not, when I heard the word "LuLu Lemon" for the first time, my thought was, "how come I have never seen this kind of lemon at Whole Foods?" Anyway, I digress...
Finally, my body trainer arrived in the gym. She was so pleased with all the nice equipment in my gym. We talked about my goals and then she guided me through every single step, including how to warm up and how to use each equipment to meet my goal. Now, that equipment doesn't look so foreign to me anymore, and I got the one-one-one instruction that I desperately needed to get going. The lesson was geared specifically to my needs, my goals, and my starting ability and understanding. I can finally enjoy the gym.
Do you have a fancy kitchen with all top of line appliance? Do you like to "collect" beautiful kitchen tools and then "display" them in the kitchen? Do you find yourself lingering at William Sonoma or Sur La Table every time you go to a high-end shopping mall? And yet, you don't cook often. Part of it can be that you're not familiar with those tools and machinery. Part of it can be that you need someone to guide you through the steps of cooking and baking, so it ends with a sense of accomplishment rather than frustration.
Well, you may think, "If I just need the skill set, I can take a class of a recreation cooking program. Why do I want to hire a chef instructor for an in-home cooking lesson?" The answer is, a private lesson will be 100% cater to your needs. When I teach a group lesson of ten students, some of them are at beginner level and some of them are at intermediate level. Even though I try to give the same level of attention to each student, sometimes it's inevitable more attention will go to the students in the beginner level. Furthermore, it is much easier for you to apply what you've learned from the lesson to your everyday life when you take a class at home. When you take a private lesson at home, you use the tools you have at home. It's just like when I took the lesson with my private body trainer, all the equipments we used were the ones in my gym.
Last but not least, the format of class at some schools is similar to Top Chop, each student picks one recipe to tackle during the three-hour class. Sometimes there will be one or two recipes that no one wants to do, and one or two recipes everyone wants to try. If you hire me as your private chef instructor, the menu will be catered to your interest. There is no need to fight for the popular dish. Futhermore I can customize any private lesson exactly to your wants and needs. Have an allergy or food restriction? No problem. Want to learn an obscure foreign dish? You got it!
Enough said about how wonderful it is to have me as your private chef instructor. Please don't ask me how is my work outs have been going, haha. I realized two things regarding working out: First, I still have a long way to go. Second, I still like to be in the kitchen more than the gym. After all, kitchen is my domain. I'm happy to be in my humble kitchen rather than any fancy gym!
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Melissa is 100% MIT (Made in Taiwan), where she worked as a food writer. She’s also worked alongside renowned chefs like Ming Tsai and Joanne Chang, honing her craft and gathering stories along the way. Part story-teller, part educator, and part food lover, Melissa brings a special blend of experience, skill, and enthusiasm to her work. She blends her Asian background, her new home of New England, and love of food and culture to bring joy, optimism, and inspiration to food lovers and fun-seekers everywhere.
What sparked your passion for the industry?
The desire to make things by hand. The joy of sharing delicious, hearty food with students. The opportunity for people to get connected via cooking and baking. When a child smiled broadly and told me it’s the best scone he has ever made and eaten, it really made my day!
In your opinion, what’s the most important course?
Well, I usually take a peek at the wine list first. I like tapas style, so the course doesn’t really matter. Cheese and charcuterie are always a good place to start. And since I’m a pastry chef, there is always room for dessert!
Bill Gates is picking up your tab, where would you go?