All photography provided by Diane Krempa
In 2003 Melanie started a new job at the Beverly Hills Grill and was introduced to a quiet and promising cook known by all as "Big Fella". It wasn't long before Mel and the Big Fella started dating. Mel was impressed by the Big Fella's skills in the kitchen and his collection of old movies. And Tim just thought Mel was the coolest. Before too long they were engaged and having spent a few getaways at Mel's family cabin in Empire Michigan; it only seemed natural to get married overlooking the beautiful Sleeping Bear Dunes.
They continued their hard work at "The Grill" and in 2007 with Tim creating menus and Mel creating atmosphere, The Beverly Hills Grill was named Restaurant of the Year by The Detroit Free Press. The award brought on a tidal wave of guests from all over the country to challenge the couple with an even higher volume of business.
Mel and her Big Fella were learning a lot, growing as culinary artists and as a couple. By this time Tim's nickname had been shortened to Fella and then to Fell and as the couple became even closer so did their names. Coworkers, regulars and even family members started to refer to them as a single entity: Mel&Fell.
During all of their hard work, they continued their excursions up north - to Empire and Traverse City and all of the beauty in between. In 2010 they decided to make the leap by selling their house down state and moving permanently to Traverse City. They were quickly hired at two of the best restaurants in the city. Tim resumed cheffing at Amical and found a greater appreciation of hyper local ingredients and focused seasonal food. Mel took a front of the house position at Trattoria Stella, a lucrative postion which supported her dream of becoming a Master Gardener. Mel now holds a degree in landscape horticulture from Oakland Community College as well as a Master Garden Certificate from Michigan State University's Extension Program.
With all of their education, experience, and expertise in the garden and kitchen, Mel&Fell stand perfectly poised to offer flavor, sustainability, and nutrition to the people of Traverse City and its surrounding areas.
Drop them a line to see what happens when the chef and gardener meet!
- Associates Degree in landscape horticulture from OCC.
- Master Gardener through the MSU extension program.
- Front of house manager at Beverly Hills Grill (Named Restaurant of the Year in 2007 by the Detroit Free Press)
- Server at Trattoria Stella in Traverse City
- Associates Degree in Culinary from OCC.
- Thirty years of professional cooking.
- Day Chef Supervisor at Amical in Traverse City MI .
- Sous Chef at Beverly Hills Grill from 1997 in 2011. ("The Grill" was named Restaurant of the Year by the Detroit Free Press in 2007)