With the ninth annual Greenwich Wine + Food Festival taking place on September 20th and 21st, Living Greenwich thought it was a perfect time to interview Nadia Ramsey, Executive Chef of the Catering Division and Catering Manager at Méli-Mélo Crêperie & Catering in Greenwich, who ALSO happens to be an Ambassador Chef for the big event!
Chef Nadia Ramsey (who has been with the Méli-Mélo family since 2005) learned how to cook by standing next to her grandmother’s stove, where she watched her whip together rabbit stew, oxtail soup and vanilla pudding soaked in caramel sauce. A native of Belgium, Nadia’s travels throughout Europe, the Barbados and Puerto Rico had a strong influence on her recipes, inspiring her to blend together spices and flavors she discovered around the world.
Nadia is known today for her whimsical crepe parties and special event menus with a loyal clientele based throughout Westchester and Fairfield Counties. Referring to herself as “The Happy Belgian, Nadia finds it most gratifying to explore her creativity in the kitchen and prepare delicious food.
Nadia, congratulations on being named an Ambassador Chef for the upcoming 2019 Greenwich Wine + Food Festival.
Thank you, we are very proud. This is our third year in a row receiving this honor.
I understand that the Ambassador Chefs will be preparing a special dish for those lucky folks with VIP tickets to the Saturday evening dinner. What will you prepare?
I love to cook with woks and I love to cook Asian food. So I am making Korean beef BBQ with crunchy vegetables served over a bed of sesame noodles. The location for the VIP dinner is just spectacular, views of the Long Island Sound, the tents are set up beautifully and it’s such fun for us to see all our favorite celebrity chefs mingling around. Also, we recognize many of our customers and we might get new customers. The exposure is very good for Méli-Mélo the restaurant and it is good for our catering division.
Tell us a little about Méli-Mélo Crêperie & Catering.
Well, of course we are famous for our sweet and savory crepes, but our salads are lovely and fresh and people love our smoothies and sandwiches. We have a fabulous staff. But how many restaurants have 18 different soups available daily?
Why 18 different soups?
We have so many soups because Greenwich is multi-cultural. We appeal to the Asian, African American and Indian population, others of course, so we need to get creative with our soups. We have vegetarian and vegan choices as well. I want to please everybody.
What is the demographic of people you see on a typical day?
We see businessmen, teenagers, women coming in from yoga or soul cycle. We sell a tremendous amount of juices in the morning. Our clientele is very diverse from day to day. And I do see customers returning again and again. I’m on a first name basis with many of our customers.
Is the secret to your success fresh ingredients combined well, diverse menu and great service?
Yes, it’s the freshness of the food plus the promptness of the service. I can say our servers are fast, they have to be fast. We also provide take out. People pull up in front of the restaurant and someone will bring their order to them in the car. Our catering business is also doing well.
Tell me about Méli-Mélo’s catering department.
We do corporate catering and parties. I particularly enjoy the parties. We do graduations, kids parties, baby and bridal showers. We have 3 different crepe menus people can choose from and we also offer international selections and custom menus. It’s all very rewarding.
What goes into the crepe making process?
For our savory crepes we use eggs, organic buckwheat and milk. Our sweet crepes require eggs, white flour and milk. We make gallons and gallons of it every afternoon because the batter needs to rest over night so all the molecules can combine perfectly.
We love your location and the cheerful colors inside and out, what is behind that?
Artwork is important at Méli-Mélo and we like to highlight artists whose pieces are happy and whimsical. There is a link on our website where interested artists can submit images that may be hung on our walls.
It has been such a pleasure to sit down with you and your wonderful energy. Thank you for your time and enjoy the 2019 Greenwich Wine + Food Festival.
You are very welcome.
Learn more about Méli-Mélo: http://www.melimelogreenwich.com/
Learn more about Greenwich Wine + Food Festival (PLUS Purchase Tickets): https://serendipitysocial.com/greenwich-wine-food/
Interview by Pam Grunow.
Bio Excerpts Courtesy Greenwich Wine + Food Festival / Serendipity - Becky Blake
Featured Photo Courtesy of Greenwich Wine + Food Festival - Sara Lucky