Women We Love 2022: Melissa King

Melissa King

by Ashley Batz/Tilit

“Food has a way of connecting people and creating memorable experiences. I love embracing that superpower,” chef Melissa King tells GO. This superpower has helped King soar to incredible heights of culinary success. She’s best known for her victory on Bravo TV’s Top Chef All Stars and holds more challenge wins than any other competitor in the show’s history. Although King knew she wanted to be a chef by the age of five, she came from a family of doctors and engineers: pursuing a career in the creative arts didn’t seem like a realistic option. However, King found her true calling while studying cognitive sciences as an undergraduate. “I was moonlighting in kitchens, and knew it was the one place where I felt confident and complete,” she says. After graduating, King immediately enrolled in culinary school and hasn’t looked back since. “I am continually surprised at the experiences food continues to take me on and the people I get to meet along the way—from culinary judging on cooking competitions to making dumplings with Cookie Monster on Sesame Street, to curating the menu at the Met Gala,” she says. As a queer, Asian-American woman, King not only stands out for her culinary genius, but also for her philanthropic efforts and advocacy in supporting marginalized communities. She donated 100% of her Top Chef “Fan Favorite” prize to several non-profit organizations. For the future, King hopes to “continue to show people that any- thing is possible if you continue to believe in yourself. I’ve never liked to be put into a box: I’m not just an Asian queer woman, and I’m not just a chef. I hope to continue to lean into the unexpected.” –LC

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