HOW IT ALL BEGAN
As a young Argentine girl, Marina Mellino was introduced to the kitchen by her Nonna (grandmother) and was declared as her little assistant. Since the beginning, curiosity filled her mind as she heard clacks and thuds coming from the kitchen counter. Aromas would trigger her salivary gland, and unknown ingredients would make the little girl scratch her head. Her fondest memories as a child began with family and ended with the celebration of their solidarity as they consumed their favorite traditional meals, cooked by the beloved Nonna. The bond between a cook and their food is similar to the love expressed by a grandmother and her grandchildren; the care of gentle preparation will result in a tender companionship which all can enjoy and remember. Marina realized and memorized this simple theme, keeping a watchful eye on her Nonna, leaving no chance to miss any clues to the mystery of her favorite meals. She noticed that the old Italian woman would use a few basic herbs for just about any meal, while the result was always the same, exquisite.
Marina was determined to find the undisclosed methods and was stuck to her Nonna’s side, barely leaving her during sleep. Her eyes grew wide with astonishment as the procedures became obvious and truth became reality. By the time Nonna passed away, the secrets had been passed on to the newest generation and the dinner table never lost its finesse. Years later, Marina arrived in Canada and the curiosity would return. She wondered if she could invent her own signature methods and began to experiment with spices and herbs, keeping in mind her base of traditional techniques. In searching for the right blend of ingredients, she found that the best quality of mixed dried spices were difficult to obtain compared to in Argentina. Eventually that moment of eureka came and with the approval of her family, she created her own secret to family tradition. Today, Marina is willing to share it with the world through spices, rubs, blends and marinades under the brand THE SPICE CHICA.
MEET CHEF MARINA
Marina is a globetrotter, a cook and extremely passionate about everything she does. Maybe not exactly in that order, but without doubt she is a woman who loves traveling to distant places and discovering new flavours. Someone passionate about cuisine and the countries she visits. A chef who cooks and travels with passion!
Her trademarks are her infectious smile and a baseball cap instead of the traditional Chef´s hat. Her strong Argentinean accent together with her flair for cooking and her unique sense of humor are characteristics that single her out in international cuisine where she is widely recognized.
Marina was born in Buenos Aires, a child of many cultures, her family being of Russian, Italian and Argentinean descent. Before becoming a Chef, she studied Art at the University of Buenos Aires and in ACAD (Canada), while simultaneously working in the food industry. She is an author of 2 cookbooks including “Cook Like a Latin Lover” and a petite coffee table guide book to prepping an Asado called “Fire" which was released in 2021.
The vision for The Spice Chica is to encourage people to think more about where their food comes from, to teach them how to cook simply and thoughtfully with love and less waste, to help them realize the importance of being present while eating and sharing food with others, and to inspire them to consider how food strengthens the body and mind. Through this vision we believe we can build stronger children, tighter families, and better communities.
Through hands-on cooking classes, personal dinning, sauce creations and other food experiences, The Spice Chica encourages people to think more about the source of their food.
We emphasize cooking simply and thoughtfully with love and less waste, eating and sharing food with others, and working with food to strengthen our bodies and minds.