Melissa Perello

Melissa Perello

Melissa Perello, Executive Chef and Owner of Octavia and FRANCES in San Francisco, shares her career timeline and advice for up-and-coming talent.


I'm inspired every day by the people that surround and support me. Our staff at both restaurants are the best and it’s where I spend pretty much all my time. We are really in touch with our guests as well; they have also become a constant fixture in my life.


EXPERIENCE
EDUCATION
I cannot live without my knives or my computer to do my job.
I find the only way to get through each day is staying level headed, calm and focused. I think people enjoy working with me because I’m not a very intense person, I’m more on the mellow side.
I try to give everyone on my team an opportunity to feel like their opinion is valued. That they have the opportunity to present ideas and to be creative. If they have an idea for a dish or a suggestion to tweak a recipe, I’m always open to it. It’s important for my team to feel confident to be able to express themselves and contribute to the menu, while exercising their creativity.
I look for a positive attitude, someone that is friendly, focused, and organized. People that fit in with the rest of the team. It’s very important that the team stays cohesive.
Education to me is keeping my eyes open and eating a lot. I ask questions to my chef friends. It’s a great chef community here and we are all open to collaboration with each other.
I don’t try to find inspiration; I just try to find time to sleep!
I was very focused and goal oriented as a child. I knew going into HS what I wanted to do. We had culinary education programs in my High School and I got to take on an internship during that class. After I started working in restaurants I started researching the culinary schools and knew I wanted to go to CIA once I graduated. I knew pretty early that this was the industry I wanted to be in and was right for me.
Ron Siegel taught me to nurture your relationships with your purveyors. It’s so important to build bridges with them as they are just as important to the success of my business as my employees and my guests.
I did my internship at with Michael Mina Aqua. I was very young at that time and I went back to work with Michael when I graduated from culinary school. I ended up working for him for over 10 years and it created the opportunity for me to eventually step into the Executive Chef position. Because of the relationship I had developed with Michael over the years, it helped me grow my career with him and create new career opportunities for me.


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