Celebrity chef, television host, New York Times best-selling author, and mom of four Melissa d’Arabian embodies family home cooking at its finest. With a lifelong passion for cooking and varied life experiences, Melissa naturally connects with today’s diverse families as she shares empowering food and lifestyle solutions that are part of a bigger story about how to eat well, be a responsible consumer, and spend with purpose – all while putting satisfying family meals on the table every day. Her distinctive ability to utilize tried-and-true techniques, smart grocery store savings strategies, and superior resource management skills while creating approachable family-friendly recipes as flavorful and elegant as they are affordable have made Melissa a trusted, go-to resource for home cooks everywhere.
After winning season five of “The Next Food Network Star” in August 2009, Melissa premiered her inaugural cooking show “Ten Dollar Dinners” proving a delicious budget-friendly meal can be made without compromise and always delivering on her $10 promise – four people, ten bucks, infinite possibilities. A natural extension of the relatable television series, Melissa’s first cookbook “Ten Dollar Dinners: 140 Recipes and Tips to Elevate Simple, Fresh Meals Any Night of the Week” (Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.) debuted in August 2012 as an instant New York Times best seller. Her second cookbook, “Supermarket Healthy” is due out in late 2014.
Melissa takes back the family dinner in her FoodNetwork.com web series, “The Picky Eaters Project,” and also serves as a reoccurring judge on Food Network’s competition series, “Guy’s Grocery Games.” She’s a contributing writer for Food Network’s FN DISH blog and Parade’s food-focused magazine, Dash Recipes. Melissa has appeared on Food Network primetime series including “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” “Chopped,” “Food Network Challenge,” and “The Best Thing I Ever Made.” In January 2012 and 2013, Melissa hosted Cooking Channel’s “Drop 5 lbs. with Good Housekeeping,” a healthy lifestyle series based on the magazine’s popular monthly column.
Raised by a single mother who was putting herself through college and medical school, Melissa grew up in Tucson, Ariz., with a coupon-cutter mentality and on a shoestring budget in a humble home where waste was never a temptation but where cooking together was a favorite pastime – life lessons that have always remained at her core. Melissa received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from The University of Vermont, and then spent a year at sea as part of the entertainment staff on cruise ships before going on to earn her MBA at Georgetown University. Her professional career began in consulting, and Melissa eventually worked in corporate finance at Disney in Burbank, Calif., and in merchandise finance at Euro Disney outside of Paris where she met and eventually married her husband, Philippe. After having four daughters in three years, Melissa changed paths to focus on being a stay-at-home mom and quickly realized she was hardwired to streamline the family’s expenses (just like her mom had to do) so they could live on a single income. She could never have guessed that a home video of her making yogurt – a simple yet successful strategy that saved Melissa over $1,000 a year – to share with local moms would also be her ticket to the newest chapter in her career and life path.
Today, Melissa is a sought-after expert regularly featured in national media. Whether during interviews, events, or speaking engagements, Melissa authentically shares her diverse life experiences and wide-ranging expertise on topics including food, money saving, family, healthy lifestyle, business, and faith. She also lends her voice to causes close to her heart such as childhood hunger alongside Share Our Strength and suicide awareness with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Living just outside San Diego, Melissa and Philippe have four daughters – Valentine, Charlotte, and twins Margaux and Océane – who double as mom’s official taste testers. Melissa believes in the power of the family meal, and always serves food with the goal of nourishing both body and soul – cooking for the person, not the plate. She connects closely to her Christian faith and strives to live her life with meaning and purpose.