April 15, 2024
Melanie Dunn is the proprietor of Pâtisserie Mélanie. Courtesy photograph

San Diego mother and businesswoman Melanie Dunn has confirmed that it’s by no means too late to attempt a brand new profession path. In 2018, Dunn gave up her 15-year profession as a highschool trainer to dwell her dream of changing into a chef.

Dunn, a mom of 1 little one, stated she was instructing highschool English when a former pupil instructed her about Le Cordon Bleu. One summer time, Dunn took the leap to coach in Paris earlier than later opening her North Park eatery. 

As we speak, Dunn is the proprietor of Pâtisserie Mélanie in North Park, an inviting bakery and restaurant the place clients can take pleasure in French pastries corresponding to croissants, eclairs and extra. The eatery additionally serves a Parisian dinner and lunch menu with choices corresponding to French beef stew and braised hen. 

“When you’ve got spent any period of time in France, you’ve come to know that the nook bakery is important to the French lifestyle,” Dunn stated. “I needed to create that for the North Park neighborhood, which has at all times stood out to me as a vibrant village of creativity and style. Not a day goes by that somebody in the neighborhood doesn’t cease into Pâtisserie Mélanie and inform us how glad they’re that we opened, that we’re precisely what NP has been lacking. It’s satisfying to be a neighborhood gem in a neighborhood crammed with gems.” 

Though her dishes are stunning, Dunn stated she cares extra concerning the genuine style of her dishes greater than its aesthetics — even on the planet of Instagram. 

“I maintain myself to a excessive commonplace,” Dunn stated. “I maintain myself accountable as an envoy of French baking and its methods. Our croissants take three days to make. The almond paste and raspberry compote in our best-selling raspberry almond croissant is fait à la maison [made in-house], as is the brioche in our croque monsieur. These are simply two examples of how there are not any shortcuts at Pâtisserie Mélanie. We perceive this makes a distinction within the style of the ultimate product. I’m very happy with my group and their dedication to authenticity and to excessive requirements.”

Dunn’s North Park kitchen brings her again to her childhood when she typically baked along with her mom. 

“My mother influenced me changing into a pastry chef,” Dunn stated. “However not within the basic means the place I realized by standing at her elbow within the kitchen whereas she baked. I did assist her so much within the kitchen when she baked birthday truffles and special day desserts.”

Dunn stated her mom additionally empowered her to make her personal meals as a baby. 

“I used to be an 80s ‘Latchkey Child’ — very impartial,” Dunn stated. “My brother and I might get dwelling from college and be liable for doing homework, chores, and making our personal snacks. I feel my curiosity in cooking got here out of this expertise—being given a lot of duty and the assets to prepare dinner alone at a younger age. It was very empowering.” 

As a mom immediately, Dunn hopes to deliver that very same empowerment to her personal little one. 

“I hope my little one sees perseverance — holding onto a imaginative and prescient of your corporation,” Dunn stated. “But additionally that expertise and creativity will not be sufficient. Planning, group, lengthy work days, are the required laborious work to see your desires by to fruition. When my little one laments mother not being dwelling, I remind her of my dedication to my objectives as a brand new enterprise proprietor, which proper now — as a result of we’re within the first yr of operation — is a substantial time dedication. However I additionally remind her it’s not ceaselessly, and so it is crucial for the 2 of us to proceed to speak and craft and bake collectively to keep up our shut relationship.”


San Diego Mothers is revealed on Saturdays. Have a narrative thought? Electronic mail [email protected] and comply with her on Instagram at @hoawritessd.