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Melissa d'Arabian at 2013 LA Times Festival of Books
October 1, 1968 |
Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
|Cooking style||American and French Food|
Melissa Donovan d’Arabian (born October 1, 1968) is an American chef and television show host. She is recognized as The Next Food Network Star’s fifth season winner (2009). Following her victory, she went on to host her show on the Food Network, "Ten Dollar Dinners", in which she provides family-friendly recipes and budget-saving strategies.
Born In Anaheim, California, d'Arabian moved throughout her childhood to Tucson, Arizona; San Diego, California; and Bethesda, Maryland. Because her single mother was paying her way through medical school, Melissa found her love of cooking - and developed her budget strategies - very young. She says that she discovered her love of entertaining at age five, hosting mother-daughter teas. In an interview with Food Network, she said, “That's where I learned about cooking as a way of showing people that you care about them.”  After high school at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, Md, d’Arabian attended the University of Vermont, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. After a period working on cruise ships as part of the entertainment staff, Melissa studied at Georgetown University, earning her MBA. While working in merchandise finance in Euro Disney, d’Arabian met her French husband, Philippe.
Road to fame
Following the birth of four daughters, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Melissa applied her methods for saving money on foods while still providing her family tasty and satisfying meals, snacks and "company fare." She began to speak at women’s groups, sharing her budgeting techniques with other moms, teaching them how they could cut their grocery bills up to 70%. A video made for local moms on making homemade yogurt would eventually become Melissa's audition tape, part of her application to the Food Network for the Season Five of Next Food Network Star. Despite having no formal culinary training, d’Arabian won the fifth Next Food Network Star in 2009.
After winning NFNS, she launched her own show, “Ten Dollar Dinners.” The premise of her show is to give healthy, family friendly recipes and meal ideas that cost under ten dollars. In every episode, she follows her Ten Dollar Promise: “four people, ten bucks, infinite possibilities.” In 2012, she published her first cookbook, “Ten Dollar Dinners: 140 Recipes and Tips to Elevate Simple, Fresh Meals Any Night of the Week”, which became a New York Times best seller. Also in 2012, Melissa began hosting a show on the Cooking Channel, “Drop 5 lbs. with Good Housekeeping.” She shares healthy recipes and lifestyle tips to help people learn how they can lose weight and still enjoy good food. She has also appeared on several other Food Network series, such as “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” “Chopped,” “Food Network Challenge,” and “The Best Thing I Ever Made." Her recipes and budgeting tips have also been featured on the Today Show, CNN, People, Food Network Magazine and iVillage.com.
Tips and strategies
On her show and in her cookbook, d’Arabian tries to offer easy meal ideas that not only taste great, but are budget-friendly. She says, "10 Dollar Dinners is really a celebration of food and managing our household budget; it's so much more than cooking cheap food. The recipes don't scream budget cooking, and there really are clever ways to maximize the impact of a pricey ingredient. I want people to learn just one more of these strategies so their tool kit gets more robust while making the recipes from the cookbook.” In an interview with Food Network, she shared her top 3 strategies from her cookbook’s "10 commandments of Ten Dollar Dinners":
Today, d’Arabian lives with her husband and four daughters; Valentine, Charlotte and twins Margaux & Océane, in San Diego, California. She says that her family is her favorite cooking inspiration, and loves to create new recipes for them to try. She says that a recent family favorite she has prepared is creamed spinach. Her second source of inspiration is her Friday night date nights that she has with her husband. The two go out to new restaurants where Melissa often gets new ideas for meals to make for her family. Melissa also practices her Christian faith where she finds meaning and purpose in her life.
- "Melissa d'Arabian's Food Network Star Interview". FoodNetwork.com. 2009-08-03. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
- Atlas, Darla (2009-03-08). "Former Keller resident wins her own show on Food Network". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2009-08-03.
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