My name is Melissa, and I have worked at the Co-op since December 1996. I was hired into the Front End as a cashier, and have held many positions over my tenure: Cashier, Service Desk Staff, Sign Maker, Wellness Stocker, Till Counter, Front End Assistant Manager, and most recently, the Co-op’s Administrative Assistant and Cordata “Sassy Sampler”.
I am not technically a Bellingham native, but I have lived in Whatcom County since I was 1, and my younger brother was born here, so I consider myself a local! My family moved here from Martinez, CA in the mid 70’s, and I spent four years of my childhood in Saudi Arabia with my family and have lived in Birch Bay, Custer, Blaine and Bellingham. My husband (Cordata Grocery Manager Michael Elkins) and I currently reside in Bellingham, having bought a house five blocks from my younger brother.
I get my passion for food from my parents – my dad throws down a mean barbecue, and my mom is a stellar baker. My mother was a member of a grain buying club in Custer, and I don’t remember much store-bought bread in my childhood. She is a self-taught cook, and always encouraged me to help in the kitchen.
Living overseas, I was exposed to many different cuisines and customs that have helped shape who I am. Growing up in the county (when we weren’t traipsing through the woods) we were eating vegetables and fruit right out of the garden or visiting an elderly neighbor for cookies and small talk on an almost daily basis. Food has always been very community minded for me, and is a good explanation as to why I have found such a good fit with the Co-op. I believe that through cooking, it is possible to create community.
I was asked to start conducting a new type of food demos at the Cordata store in December of 2009, and have never looked back. I love talking about food with people, and offering tips and suggestions. Almost every Friday I prepare a recipe and sample it for customers and make the recipe available in both stores, on my blog and our website. If you have any favorite recipes that you would like me to try, send them to me at sassysampler(at)communityfood(dot)coop. I look forward to hearing from you!