Chef-Instructor Genevieve Meli ’07, Sweet Nature
CIA Alumni Bio
It could easily be said that Genevieve Meli was born knowing that her future professional life would be in a kitchen. Her father, Gerard Meli, was a 1977 graduate of the CIA and Genevieve grew up in her family’s restaurant. “I wanted to be pastry chef,” Genevieve says. “When it came time to go to college, the CIA was the only school I considered attending. I wanted the best education possible and you get that there.”
Education and Experience
Genevieve enrolled right out of high school and couldn’t wait to get her feet wet. “I was antsy and wanted to start experiencing a professional kitchen,” recalls Genevieve. “Every weekend I would go to New York City and work for free at Gilt at the Palace Hotel with Chef Chris Lee.”
Mentors Help Shape Your Career
After graduation, Genevieve began to build her career working in increasingly prestigious kitchens in some of the top restaurants in Manhattan. At Craft, she learned all about seasonality; at Café Boulud and Daniel she learned precision and timing; at Le Bernardin, she had the great fortune of meeting mentor Michael Laiskonis, who taught Genevieve new techniques; and at Jacques Torres, she learned all about chocolate. Genevieve then served as the executive pastry chef at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse and Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria. She attributes her continued success to another mentor, Noah Carroll ’06, executive pastry chef at Meyers by Claus Meyer. “We have a wonderful relationship and Noah has helped shape my career since my days at the CIA,” says Genevieve.
Going Back Home
On March 1, 2016, Genevieve released her first cookbook, Sweet Nature. It is filled with gorgeous photography of her delectable creations all set in nature. In October 2016, Genevieve began a new adventure as a Chef-Instructor at her alma mater teaching Baking & Pastry Skill Development to a new generation of budding pastry chefs. In June 2018, Genevieve pass the two-day exam and earned the designation of certified master baker.
“If your passion is cooking go for it and follow your dreams. The absolute best place to do that is the CIA,” Genevieve explains. “The chef-instructors are incredibly knowledgeable, the campus is amazing and convenient to New York City, and the library has every cookbook and resource you need. Everywhere you go on campus is a learning opportunity.”
Genevieve Meli majored in baking and pastry arts at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. She is an author and lecturing instructor at the CIA in Hyde Park.