Culinary genius Mellissa Mohabir Beharry encourages others to find their passion

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JCI recipient of the Culinary Excellence and Fan Favourite Award, Mellissa Mohabir Beharry (Photo contributed)
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By Robert A. Emmanuel

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Find your passion—that was the message from Mellissa Mohabir Beharry, the JCI recipient of the Culinary Excellence and Fan Favourite Award.

The young Antiguan spoke to Observer about the importance of pursuing a passion, even in the face of pressure.

“My culinary journey started as I grew up with my aunt, and everyone loved her food, but when I grew up, I entered college studying business and it really wasn’t for me,” she said.

She explained that following that experience, she started working at a bar and from there began to pursue her true passion in cooking.

“So, I started culinary school, and I loved it, I excelled at it, so I knew it was something for me,” she said.

She revealed how during the Covid pandemic, she continued in her pursuit of her dream.

Said she, “In my final year when Covid struck, I felt like my opportunity for internship was taken away from me.

“But I didn’t want my drive and this new passion that I’d found and love to really die down, so I decided to start my own little business from home.”

Therefore, she started her burger business, bringing her own unique style to the effort.

“I needed to stand out, so I did a lot of research using social media, and I created this box where it stood out, and it just blew up,” she noted.

She added that being a private chef allowed her to express her own personality rather than at a hotel or restaurant where she stated that a person’s surroundings could become routine.

“I get to come up with my own menu ideas, I get to meet one-on-one with the client; it is something that pushes me and something that I don’t regret doing,” Mohabir explained.

However, she revealed that if given the opportunity to do so, she would love to work in the hotel industry.

“I am only aiming for Jumby Bay, I am not aiming for anything less, because that is where I was supposed to go for my internship and I worked really hard to get there,” she said.

The young chef also revealed her emotion upon hearing that she was nominated for both the culinary and fan favourite awards, and won them both.

“To be honest, I was more excited about the fan award because I got to see first-hand going up with well-known Chef Mint.

“To see that we were the two chosen for that section, it was like ‘wow,’ and to see that we were neck and neck, it was like politics, I loved it,” she expressed, adding that she hopes to enter more competitions.

In addition, as a message to Antiguans and Barbudans, the young chef encouraged others to not be discouraged in the face of obstacles, especially financial issues.

“People that are passionate about things, or love what they actually do, they overcome struggles, struggles do not keep them down; they find a way around them,” she declared.

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