Melissa Williams grew up in Gambrills, Maryland, but has lived in the upstate of South Carolina for ten years. Melissa, or “Missi,” as she is called, has managed to complete her requirements for a Culinary Arts Technology degree while working for the Greenville County Schools Food and Nutrition Services and raising three children; Becca, Blake, and Brooks, who are fourteen, eleven, and nine, respectively. She finished her studies in December and officially receives her degree in May. When the conversation turns to cooking, her eyes catch fire; almost as much as when she talks about her children. She is also very animated when she speaks of her experience at school. “Chef Pat’s mind is like this book,” she says, holding up a thick encyclopedia of recipes. “Chef Pat” is Patrick Wagner, a chef instructor at The Culinary Institute of the Carolinas at Greenville Technical College. Missi’s long term plan is to own a catering business and have her kids help in the endeavor. Greenville Tech, she says, has played a large role in the realization of her dream.
When the conversation turns to writing, Missi says, “I am more of a writer than a reader.” She has been writing poetry since middle school. “I think it was an outlet for me, a way to deal with tough times in life.” Missi fuses her love of cooking and poetry in her poem, “A Taste of Culinary School” published in the upcoming “Blue Granite Review.” At the mention of an inspiring person in her life, she doesn’t waste a second saying, “definitely my mom.” Missi says her mother has inspired her, not just in her writing, but in all areas of her life. With her family behind her and her life before her, Melissa Williams is on the fast track to success.