Seeking to make a change from a corporate career to something I felt was more gratifying. I studied to cook at various San Francisco institutions of California Cuisine including the Hayes Street Grill and Zuni Cafe. With a love for locally sourced ingredients, I continued at RN74, Spruce, and Alembic to further develop my interest with modern cooking technics.
Chef Melissa Axelrod
A San Francisco native, who comes from a very food oriented family. From an uncle who collected mussels and brewed his own beer, to her mother who held the official title of "Cherry Pie Queen," all of Melissa's childhood memories have a taste associated with them. Naturally, she found herself helping in the kitchen at a young age and never really left.
Upon graduating from college, Melissa took a life-changing trip to Italy, where after taking cooking classes in Tuscany, she decided to take her hobby to a professional level. Melissa enrolled in the California Culinary Academy, and while there landed a job as a line cook at Fringale restaurant, a well regarded French/Basque bistro in the South of Market district, where she worked continually until graduation. Following another inspiring trip to Italy, Melissa went to work at Delfina, an influential California/Italian restaurant in the Mission district. It was at Delfina that Melissa developed a profound respect for quality local, organic ingredients and expert techniques. In 2005, Melissa left Delfina to be the opening sous chef at Ottimista, an Italian wine bar and restaurant in Cow Hollow, where she gained a deeper understanding of how a well-run kitchen functions, and should be managed. All of these experiences have helped Melissa further develop her culinary skills and shaped her own personal cooking style and philosophy on food. Melissa loves good food and loves making good food accessible and enjoyable, which she brings to you through California Table.