BIO: Pastry Chef Mellisa Root

Mellisa Root is the Pastry Chef of Madera, the signature Michelin-starred restaurant at Rosewood Sand Hill® in Menlo Park. Chef Root is an accomplished, multiple gold medal-winning pastry chef with a rich depth of experience managing and working in the kitchens of world-class Michelin restaurants, luxury resorts and country clubs, and artisan bakeshops. A highly sought-after consultant, Chef Root has been involved in several new ventures, helping to develop the culinary and pastry programs and fine-tuning the kitchen operations and menus.

Chef Root comes to Madera most recently from Thomas Keller's Per Se, which was awarded three Michelin stars in 2010 and voted the 10th best restaurant in the world. Prior to working at Per Se, Chef Root was Pastry Sous Chef for Francois Payard’s in Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, where she directed a staff of cooks in preparing fresh pastries and baked goods; as well as co-designed several dessert parties with Chef Payard.

While living in Houston, TX, Chef Root oversaw the pastry shop of the River Oaks Country Club under the tutelage of World Champion Darrin Aoyama, directing a team of cooks that provided two outlets and party banquets with premium quality desserts, specialty chocolates, showpieces and breads. In one of her first positions, Chef Root served as a Chocolatier and Wedding Cake Designer under Executive Pastry Chef Laurant Branlard for the 3,700-room Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL. Utilizing her creativity and skill for organizing, she helped to develop and produce a gourmet bonbon program and oversaw the production of all chocolate decorations.

Chef Root is also a renowned culinary consultant who has helped to streamline the culinary and pastry programs of several successful ventures. For a new retail bakery in the resort town of Beaver Creek, CO, she designed and launched a wedding and specialty cake program. As a consulting chef to the Fort Worth Country Club, she helped launch a new dessert program as well as assisted in redesigning the pastry kitchen. She crafted the new banquet menus and implemented a wedding cake program. An accomplished Chocolatier, Chef Root was recruited by the five-star M Resort in Las Vegas prior to opening to assist Executive Pastry Chef Jean Claude Canestrier in launching the resort’s pastry shop and designing the chocolate menu. Finally, while preparing for the 2008 World Culinary Olympics, Chef Root consulted to the prestigious Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York, where she developed new menu items and kitchen procedures and trained staff.

Chef Root has received world-wide recognition and acknowledgement over the last decade for her exceptional talent and skill, winning multiple awards and competitions. In 2008, Chef Root represented the United States as the Pastry Chef on the National Culinary Olympic Team, competing at the World Culinary Olympics in Germany, where she won three gold medals. In 2007, she competed in the prestigious International Culinary Federation competition in Chicago, where she earned three gold and two silver medals. Between 2002 and 2007, she won and placed in several American Culinary Federation national competitions in several different culinary categories.

Chef Root graduated at the top of her class of the California Culinary Academy, and has received additional training and certification from some of the world’s most noted pastry specialists, including Ewald Notter; Michael Joy; Chef Wiener Heitz, and Jacquey Pheiffier.