Weekend With Home Chefs #4 - Melissa Martins

Once again Chef’s Special series, introducing Melissa Martins from Vasco De Gama, Goa a culinary expert and pastry chef bringing baking to life … from developing and inventing recipes to sampling some of the finest ingredients, confections, spices and sweets, there is, admittedly, much to love about a gig like this….

Introduce yourself – tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Melissa Martins. My little home enterprise named after my daughter RENEES GOODIES specializes in baking and cooking varied types of cuisines. I am based in Vasco da Gama, Goa but my unequaled palate of sight, taste, and touch has been displayed through my creativity in baking and cooking enabling me to cater across Goa. I am a passionate foodie who loves cooking and baking, with a mix of creativity and talent , the food business has become a full time career spanning a spectre of 20 years.. I specialize in wedding cakes, traditional Goan food etc. ensuring every event that I cater to is an unique experience with a sense of style. I also conduct cooking/baking classes adding value to children’s lives.

Where does your passion for cooking come from?

I was passionate about food as a child and used to experiment a lot in my teenage years.
I usually experimented with recipe books and magazines that ran food columns. In summary, I would have to say that the world of cuisine and pastry intrigued me as early as I can recall. The passion in serving a dish, creativity, and fusion of flavors have always sparked my interest, captivated my thoughts, and inspired my dream of being what I am today.

Where do you get your recipe inspiration from?

Documented in a book my mother’s recipes who is also a great cook though she worked from 0900 to 1700, she was very enthusiastic about cooking for the family. After marriage I picked up some great recipes from my mother in law who herself is amazing home chef. I never gave up cooking and baking which is my passion now, adding on flavors’ with exotic varieties in food especially Goan traditional recipes and making a difference to the place I come from - Goa, land of love and sunshine.

Any ingredients you can’t stand? As well, which one you can’t do without?

One ingredient I somehow avoid in my cooking for no apparent reason is the tomato.
I cannot do without my ginger garlic paste.

Are there any cooking techniques, dishes or styles that particularly intimidate you or are there any which you're yet to try?

One cooking technique I find intimidating is deboning fish.

Share your worst cooking nightmare. Any epic recipe failure?

My worst failure was a recent disaster in the kitchen while making mango jam something went terribly wrong...it turned out stone hard.

What’s the most adventurous dish you’ve ever eaten?

Cooking live crabs is an adventure in the kitchen. The process begins with a crab or two scampering around the kitchen sink, alive and well and looking angry (or maybe that is just my imagination running wild).

How did your cooking change your life?

Cooking changed my life forever when I delivered my first order. I was the golden jubilee celebration of my school, St Theresa’s High School, Vasco Da Gama. Felt honored to attend to the function with pride being by Alma Mater. My career began with baking celebration cakes and extended into catering snacks for various festive occasions. The turning point was the triumphant event whereby I leaped with success catering to a thousand people at the school golden jubilee celebration. What an absolute privilege it was to cook for such an esteemed function.

Cooking is my passion. A life time is not enough to learn and master every aspect of it.

What is your message to our readers, food lovers and aspiring chefs ?

Work hard , focus, get the job done perfectly and enjoy the experience. My message to all foodie food lovers and aspiring chefs would be to eat one must kill.

The late Craig Claiborne once wrote, “Cooking is at once one of the simplest and most gratifying of the arts, but to cook well one must love and respect food.”

We will come back with another interview with one of the best home chefs next week.

To be part of the series visit http://www.chilirush.com/2015/06/weekends-with-home-chefs-interview.html

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