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June 26, 2015


Post by Melissa Mayo

Melissa Mayo


A Food Network chef, author and motivational speaker with a cooking school in Italy-- yet my most beloved roles are those of wife and mom. I learned to cook at my mom's knee. She taught me to taste my way to the perfect dish. When I moved to America, I missed the tastes of home. So I began recreating them in my kitchen. Once I was in control of the ingredients, the weight I had been holding onto in my teens and 20's just fell off. That's why I believe that abs are made in the Kitchen. I don't believe in diets or crazy resitrictions. I eat eveything. But the sercret to achieving your dream body, is to make healthy, clean and delicious home cooked meals. So join me as we COOK IT OFF!




Watch the video to meet Melissa

Melissa Mayo- from South Africa

Early Life

Ever heard of biltong, boerewors, bobotie, bredie or braaivleis? You’re not alone. Yet these dishes are the cornerstones of every South African’s diet. This is the food I grew up eating.

I learned to cook at my mom’s knee. I was her official taster. She‘d always say, “Melissa, if you need a recipe, you can’t cook!” So I was taught to taste my way to the perfect dish.

Like many South Africans I have a large personality. My front door is always open, and my home is full of guests and an abundance of good food. This is the South African way.

Family & Travel

After completing my MBA I moved to California. I spent several years cooking for prominent Hollywood studios, private events and notables such as Hans Zimmer and Jeffrey Katzenberg and used this time to experiment. I also appeared on two seasons of Food Network's “Private Chefs of Beverly Hills”.

Influenced by my South African roots and my travels, I created a style of cooking uniquely my own. I met my hunky South African husband, Saul, and gave birth to our beautiful daughter (and my best friend) Jade, who is now a teenager.

We love to travel. I literally eat my way through each country, trying out new dishes and flavors. I developed a love affair with Italy and opened a cooking school in Lucca. During the summers I offer international cooking experiences, to food lovers, who want to create mouthwatering dishes, under the Tuscan sun.

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I’m passionate about food, but I also enjoy feeling fit and healthy.. I aim to EAT THE RAINBOW and don't believe in crazy diets. By cooking with fresh ingredients, you control what you put in your body.

I enjoy grilling and roasting colorful, crunchy food that is visibly appealing, because people eat with their eyes first. My style of cooking suits everyday lifestyles. I use simple, uncomplicated methods and the recipes are quick and based on what is in season.

I like to serve food family style, at room temperature so I can enjoy my guests. Nothing beats entertaining and sharing stories together over a good meal.

I have three popular cookbooks in print and I'm the creator of The "Meals Movement Motivation Plan" available this summer.




For a full list of articles and features, please email melissa@melissamayo.com


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