About Mellisa Root
Mellisa Root is a sought-after chocolatier, pastry chef, judge, and consultant. Her list of accomplishments doesn't end there though. Most recently, she was handpicked to be an original cast member on Netflix's School of Chocolate, a confectionary-oriented reality series that is set to leave your mouth watering. Get ready to drool over her creations!
Mellisa Root is an acclaimed chocolatier and pastry chef based in Virginia. She grew up inspired by the legendary, Julia Child, immersing herself in cookbooks at the local library and honing her culinary skills at home with her family. Eventually, Mellisa discovered her true passion for baking, and with her mother’s encouragement, decided to pursue pastry at CCA in San Francisco. That was just the beginning for Mellisa, who has since spent her professional life training with some of the most renowned chefs in the United States while racking up an impressive career of her own.
Today, Mellisa’s resume is varied and prolific. Her journey in the world of chocolate began under the tutelage of Laurant Branlard at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, followed by a move to Houston, where she supervised the pastry shop at River Oaks Country Club. Always with a competitive streak, she was coached by Pastry World Champion, Darrin Aoyama, to turn that competitive focus towards representing the United States at the Culinary Classic, where she led her team to win multiple gold medals.
In Las Vegas, Mellisa took on the role of Assistant Pastry Chef to Gregory Gourreau and Francois Payard at Payard Patisserie. Again, she represented the United States at the 2008 World Culinary Olympics where she racked up three gold medals. Mellisa was the opening chocolatier at M Resort and Casino, Las Vegas for Jean Claude Cannistier M.O.F. She earned her three-star Michelin stripes alongside Elwyn Boyles at Thomas Keller’s Per Se in Manhattan, NY. The Executive Pastry Chef position at Rosewood Sandhill brought her back west, and another Michelin star at Madera. It was there she developed a chocolate and confection line for the hotel, as well as an exquisite pastry, bread, wedding cake, and dessert program for the resort. In 2013, she earned a Star Chef’s Rising Star Hotel Pastry Chef Award, as well as a Golden Whisk Award from the Woman’s Chef Organization for her contribution to the pastry and dessert world.
In 2016, Mellisa moved to Portland, Oregon to open The Hairy Lobster alongside her husband, David Root, realizing their dream of running a chef-driven, seasonal, share plate restaurant. This unleashed her innovative ideas and enabled her creativity to run amok. It was during this period that she designed some of the best-plated desserts of her career, not to mention the over the top themed dinner events the restaurant quickly became known for. However, 2020 saw The Hairy Lobster closing its doors, along with so many other privately held businesses due to the COVID pandemic.
In 2021, Root relocated to Charlottesville, Virginia, to spearhead the pastry department for Farmington Country Club, where her focus has been on developing a chocolate program (of course!) in addition to growing and developing their pastry and dessert program.
Most recently, Root has channeled a capricious approach to candy and chocolate making in order to launch her own line, Mellisa Root Chocolates and Confection. These one-of-a-kind, small-batch, hand-crafted chocolates and candies are developed for the current season, intended to bring a little taste of joy to those with a sweet tooth. Mellisa believes we eat savory food to nourish our bodies and dessert to nourish our souls. This guides her approach to dessert making, knowing that each bite is a conduit to personal joy!
Mellisa strives to lead a career that honors the guidance she received along her path. During her busy schedule, she prioritizes making time for her mentees and networks to continue to pave the way for the equitable culinary career trajectory of others.
Most recently, Mellisa appeared on Netflix's School of Chocolate, where you can see her competitive spirit tempered with her creative side while admiring the cast's drool-worthy chocolate creations.