Interview With Cook Taste Eat Co-Founder Tanya Melillo

Cook Taste Eat is website and free daily email of digital recipes and videos developed by acclaimed chef Michael Mina and other acclaimed chefs, delivering entertaining and informative content to home cooks and food lovers every day.  The website was co-founded by entrepreneur Tanya Melillo.  Cook Taste Eat features culinary videos and menus by some of the best chefs in the world.  Cook Taste Eat is also co-hosted by Grammy award winning popular singer Michelle Branch (known for songs like “All You Wanted” and “Everywhere”).

Cook Taste Eat’s weekly menu will be featured in Chef Mina’s 20 restaurants across the country as well.  This means that diners in San Francisco to Las Vegas to Baltimore will be able to try recipes first-hand from Cook Taste Eat.

To stay on top of Cook Taste Eat recipes, you can sign up for a daily e-mail.  As you watch the videos, you may learn some tricks to become a better cook and eater by focusing on meals and ingredients that are centered on balance and flavor.

“One of my greatest pleasures as a chef and restaurateur is connecting with guests, colleagues, friends and family through cooking,” stated Chef Mina.  “Cook Taste Eat allows me to engage with an even broader audience and provides individuals the unique opportunity for real culinary learning – whether they love to cook or eat or both – in a casual and entertaining environment.  Our goal is to expand subscribers’ appreciation for food and enable them to wow guests and feel more confident in the kitchen.”

Chef Mina is a Michelin-star recipient, James Beard Award winner, and recipient of Esquire and Zagat’s Restaurant of the Year 2012.

“The concept of Cook Taste Eat was conceived after wondering why more culinary media – specifically food videos – were either entertaining or informative, but rarely both” stated Ms. Melillo, co-founder and visionary behind Cook Taste Eat.  “Cook Taste Eat, which intends to inspire and engage food lovers by connecting them to experienced chefs and influencers, is the first digital culinary platform of its kind.  We encourage subscribers to have fun and be adventurous, using the digital videos, daily emails and website to test out meals they never thought they could cook at home and to approach culinary learning in a very different way.”

Ms. Melillo recently launched Ram’s Gate winery in Sonoma, California and before that she was a senior project manager at Monitor.  She previously created and appeared in the pilot food show “Tanya Takes On” for The Food Network and starred in the PBS show “The Winemakers.”

The first meal on the show was made by Chef Mina and was made alongside Michelle Branch.  The recipes were for a Sesame-Crusted Ahi Tuna, Falafel, Tahini and Grilled Cucumber.  In the episodes after that one, it will feature some of Chef Mina’s favorite foods that he makes in his own home along with signature recipes from restaurants like Butter Basted Chicken and Lobster Pot Pie.

Some of the guests that will be on Cook Taste Eat include chefs from the Bay Area and personalities from across the country that Chef Mina invited.  Some of the confirmed guests include Charles Phan (The Slanted Door), Mourad Lahlou (Aziza), Michael Chiarello (Food Network star), Ken Tominaga (Hana Japanese Restaurant in Sonoma County), and Tim Ferriss (The 4-Hour Workweek book).

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Melillo about Cook Taste Eat.  I asked her how the idea of Cook Taste Eat came together.  She told me that she “always wanted to build a culinary media company.”  After she met with Michael, the idea came together very quickly.  The challenge was building an environment where Chef Mina’s “skills would shine.”

I said that putting together daily video content can be a challenge between the script-writing, recording, editing, production, distribution, and marketing.  Then I asked how does Cook, Taste, Eat bring all of these functions together?

Ms. Melillo and Chef Mina found a production company and a website design company.  Then they determined the costs of producing 365 videos in 25 days.  Chef Mina and Ms. Melillo tests all the recipes.

Given that the video content is free, I asked what would be the long-term business model for Cook Taste Eat?  Is there plans for future sponsorships?

Ms. Melillo told me that Cook Taste Eat is “focused on growth.”  Eventually they may consider licensing content and advertising.

I told her that I enjoy the programs and it would be awesome if a bunch of episodes are grouped together and aired on Food Network.

Ms. Mellilo told me that she “wouldn’t rule out anything.”

Cook Taste Eat received an investment round from Harrison Metal, SV Angel, Khosla Ventures, TriPlepoint Capital and Blumberg Capital.

You can check out Cook Taste Eat on their website, their Facebook Page, Twitter account, and Pinterest.


This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at
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