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I'm Melissa!

A Food Network chef + mama obsessed with travel, and mouth watering food. I also own a gorgeous cooking school in Italy. My mission? To share the secrets of La Dolce Vita so you can create a healthy, beautiful, delicious life filled with joy!


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This is a love letter to all of you…. my friends, family, and fans around the world

It has been a mammoth task building this new site… 1000’s of hours at the computer, so I am beyond humbled by the outpouring of love and support.

I couldn’t have achieved this without each and every one of you and the love you have shown me and my food. Your feedback and suggestions have helped me grow and find my voice. Your likes and shares have got my recipes out there. I am privileged and blessed to be able to share in your family meals and celebrations in some small way.

I began my career as an accountant, and to say I hated what I did is an understatement. Every day was a living death. I have had no formal training in the kitchen. I am self-taught and for a long time, I was an average cook. I am proof that you can cook too.

I believe that if you follow your passion you will find success. I try to teach this to my daughter. I know some of your parents are cringing as I say this… but I have told her she doesn’t need a college degree to succeed. It’s more important to find what you love & follow your dreams. That way it doesn’t feel like work & success will follow. So if you have something you are passionate about, please embrace it and don’t be afraid to dream big.

As many of you know, 6 months ago I walked away from a 4 book publishing deal, because I didn’t feel I was able to express my own voice in my first book. The decision to put my videos and recipes on the internet at no charge was a gamble but it has paid off. The love and support you have all shown me has been the biggest paycheck of all.

I want to thank all of you for joining my team, pushing me, inspiring me, and helping me create this new website. I am going to be adding so much more content. 100’s more recipes and videos, advice and workouts from my favorite fitness and health experts, karaoke songs, travel adventures, my favorite places, people and things, and lots of cool stuff from my birthplace South Africa..

I couldn’t wish for better travel companions on the journey ahead. I love you all and I am so humbled and grateful for all your kindness, wisdom and guidance… Wishing you only success, magic, wonder, and blessings


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I'm Melissa, your host & tour guide.

A Food Network chef, author, mamma, eternal optimist, wannabe-mermaid, spice mixologist, and “dough therapist” (yep, it’s a thing)—

I'm also the founder of Susina Cucina, the gorgeous, Italian cooking school I manifested into my reality. I’m obsessed with Aperol spritzes, travel, and mouthwatering food… especially pizza and pasta.

more about me

Ciao Bella,

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In Italy, they add work and life on to food and wine.

Win a one-week luxury trip to Tuscany 

The Magic of Italy
without the planning


Food Netwok Chef, Melissa is dishing up delicious food and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for your soul.

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The Magic of Italy
without the planning


Food Netwok Chef, Melissa is dishing up delicious food and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for your soul.

find out more →

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Healthy living is beautiful … That’s why it’s calledLa Dolce Vita”.


I’m sharing my best recipes, travel guides, and Italian secrets for longevity & aging gracefully. Discover my tips and tricks to become a Rockstar chef, my current obsessions, and tools to embrace joy, find your purpose, and live deliciously!!


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