"THE ZEN KITCHEN" MENTOR
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Melissa Ward is a pioneer of organic, sustainable foods, and a proponent of organic foods specializing in nutritional counseling and coaching, longevity therapies, and culinary instruction. Established in 1999, Organic Gourmet specializes in creating recipes and menus using organic, healthy food that is elegantly simple, as well as delicious. Melissa’s services as a nutritional consultant and food coach, culinary educator, and personal chef have been engaged by a roster of celebrity clients primarily featured in the film, TV and music industries for whom she has designed and implemented personalized menus and recipes, supervised on metabolic detox programs and helped learn the concept of life-long mindful eating.
She developed a special line of healing foods, and has taught healthy cooking classes to thousands of students both publicly and privately. As a Southern California native, and a long-time proponent of organic foods, gardening and farming, at the age of eighteen she developed and opened an organic raw food vegan restaurant, The Garden Light, in Leucadia, a beachside town in San Diego County. In addition to offering delicious, organic, and raw foods, The Garden Light provided ongoing nutritional education to the community in how to eat, live, and heal in harmony with whole, fresh foods, and herbal modalities. She met and developed relationships with local organic farmers, and foraged produce as well as procured other organic supplies locally. A year later, Melissa coordinated in opening the first health food store in Paia, Maui, and initiated buying and foraging produce and raw food materials for the store from suppliers across the island.
Located in Santa Monica, California since 1984, Melissa continues to study the healing properties of foods and the art of longevity, increasing her knowledge and abilities to assist and guide others to well being. By offering a wealth of services, including nutritional counseling and coaching, supervised seasonal & metabolic cleanses, customized therapeutic menus, longevity practices, food combining, and culinary instruction, as well as shopping, storage and kitchen organization, Melissa offers a broad approach to wellness education. Frequently referred by doctors, dieticians, and other health professionals, she has taught healthy cooking classes to children in the public schools under a grant program and initiated donations from the Malibu Farmer’s Market to the West Side Food Bank.
Melissa is certified by The America Association of Nutritional Consultants, and is a published writer with a BA in English Literature from UCLA.