Sous Chef - XOCO
Mel came to Frontera almost 9 years ago. She was hired as a pastry
cook although her background and experience was in savory cooking. Over
the next 7 years, she moved from that position to Sous Chef to Pastry
Chef for both Frontera and Topolo. She's currently Sous Chef in XOCO,
back to her roots in savory, but also using her pastry experience to
create new dessert items for the XOCO menu.
What first attracted you to Frontera?
I loved the fact that the menu was always changing. It was part
production and part creativity since we were always working on the next
What's the biggest challenge you overcame when you started at Frontera?
Since I didn't specialize in pastry during culinary school, I
didn't have a lot of experience in baking and I also didn't know much
about Mexican cuisine. I worked hard to fill in the gaps, but the real
challenge came in building up my self confidence. That step took longer
than I expected.
What's the favorite dessert you created?
Red Peanut Mole Cake
What's the favorite part of your job?
Interacting with the customers and the instantaneous feedback.
What was your most memorable meal?
A dinner I had in London at a gastropub called Harwood Arms. I
loved everything about that meal and even had them clean the snail
shells from the appetizer so that I could take them home as a
remembrance of that night.
Do you have a childhood food memory that stands out in your mind?
The night that my parents tried to get my brother and I to eat liver and
onions. We all decided that there wasn't enough catsup in the house to
make it edible and we ended up eating McDonalds instead.
What are your favorite Frontera moments?
Making all the desserts for my first Frontera Christmas party,
Frontera's 20th anniversary party and President Obama's dinner at
Topolo right after he won the election. He thanked me on his way out.