Pittsburgh Profile: Chef Justin Melnick

chef justin melnick


The Food Nerd’s Pittsburgh Profile series features chefs, baristas, restaurant owners and more across the Burgh. In today’s post, meet Chef Justin Melnick! 


Tell us about your career background. 

I graduated from New Hampshire and later met my wife, Emily, at culinary school. We lived in and around Boston before settling down on Martha’s Vineyard running a Relais & Chateaux restaurant for five years before relocating to Pittsburgh. 


What’s your new podcast about?

Culinaryrd.com is a new venture I started and incorporates food, beverage and travel opportunities from an array of of speakers every week. You can find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. Our latest episode featured Katrina Scott, co-founder of Tone It Up. Katrina and I grew up in the same town and graduated high school together. We have always remained great friends and stayed connected over the years. 


Who else is coming up on your podcast?

We have different guests every week. Kamal Grant from Sublime Doughnuts in Atlanta was just on, and we will be releasing that episode in a few weeks. Other upcoming guests include Chef JJ from Field Trip in Harlem and Joseph Carr from Josh Cellars.

The podcast has been a great way to reconnect with some old friends and meet some new people virtually. We hope to grow the listenership to a much larger scale and continue to have fun and interesting discussions about food and beverage. 


What’s on the horizon for you?

I’m offering prepared meals to go for families that don’t have the time to cook, but want to eat flavorful healthy meals.  In addition, I am doing cooking demos, classes, and private wine dinners.  Lastly, I am putting together a trip to Italy with my wife’s cousins that will be a hands-on food and wine experience for 12-15 guests that will include cooking classes, truffle foraging, olive oil making, vineyard visits, and much more.


What’s your favorite drink? 

Classic Manhattan cocktail, it’s the drink I always had with my grandfather when he was alive, and still enjoy anytime I am around my family back in New England (or anytime I feel like having a great cocktail)  Very simple to make, can obviously be found at any bar, yet not all bartenders can make a good one.


What’s your favorite cuisine?

As you could have guessed, I certainly lean more towards Italian cuisine.  I have had the opportunity to spend some time cooking in a few restaurants while in Italy, and it is really the style of food that got me into cooking in the first place.


For more foodie fun, connect with Justin on Instagram – @chefmelnick.

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