Photo from Melissa Schaefer

Chef Melissa Schaefer

Private Chef In Newburgh

4.5/ 5
Chef Melissa Schaefer

Get to know me better

Culinary professional with 15+ years experience

Classically trained French, first-generation Italian-American, a love for all things wild and free.

I fondly remember the very first time I was fascinated by food. After a bountiful harvest of my Nonno's garden, my large and loud family gathered in his backyard and started the process of jarring large batches of tomato sauce. Fresh basil wafted through the air, the chatter of dozens of relatives, the bustle of shuffling feet, clanking of mason jars, the fire being lit, the kettle being filled. It was all so magical to me as a young girl. It was the memory at the forefront of my mind when I made the decision to attend culinary school, when I landed a position at a Michelin starred restaurant, when I made the decision to cook in Alaska and on the day that I opened my business. That fond memory took place on the day that I fell in love with food.

I began my professional career in NYC, cooking in various fine dining restaurants for the better part of a decade. The hours were long and the work was hard but the techniques that I learned and the skill that I gained made the experience a very rewarding one. Craving a change from city life, I traveled to Alaska in 2016 where I spent my Summer season cooking for a top lodge and exploring new foods and practices. I remembered and re-learned to appreciate every facet of telling a story with food. It reminded me of that day in the backyard garden; everything circles back to where the ingredients begin. This has always been my foundation, and it continues to drive me.

Menus Inspired by Seasonality & Locality

My inspiration for these menus is the local farms, orchards and vineyards within Upstate New York. When love and care results in top tier ingredients it transcends through any dish you choose to make with them. An avid admiration of this work is what drives me to thoughtfully highlight the attributes of the peak local fare and bring an exciting experience true to the region to your table. Food has always been about connection for me. A connection to the first phases of food allows me the opportunity to experience it in a new way once cooked, and finally, I get to see the joy it brings to the table, the connection among loved ones.

My services

As a Private Chef, I can offer you:

Personal Chef

Simply tell me what you're craving! I would love to create the perfect menu for your special occasion in Newburgh.


I can do weddings, birthdays and corporate events in Newburgh. You name it!

Full-time Chef

A longer stay in Newburgh? I'm available for holidays, on a daily basis, and so forth. Just let me know!

Tupperware meals

If you are looking for someone to keep your fridge full of incredible meals in Newburgh, count me in.

Chef Melissa's reviews

4.5/ 5

Melissa was amazing! The food was great and more than lived up to expectations. Melissa was especially good at accommodating our requests and dietary restrictions.

Joshua - Jul 22 2022

5/ 5

Chef Melissa was AMAZING! We hired her for a bachelorette party dinner after a day of wine tours and it was the best!! She was right on time, came in and made us pizza within the first hour which was amazing after a day of drinking. We had a great time while she cooked and served us, and the food was outstanding! she cleaned up and headed out the door very discretely which was nice as we we're all chatting enjoying each others company. 10/10 recommend for any event!

Amber Dushenskh - Apr 27 2022

4.3/ 5

Chef Mel was beyond incredible! She created an unforgettable meal and took into consideration all food restrictions and allergies. Chef Mel took the time to communication with me to discuss the best menu for my party based on my preferences. The food was delicious!

Melissa Horowitz - Feb 08 2022

5/ 5

Chef Melissa made my dreams come true. She communicated with me for weeks creating the perfect menu that was still allergy friendly. She arrived and prepped like a professional. Courses were plated beautifully and came out in a thoughtful manner and were timely! The food was amazing!!!! She was so kind and cleaned the whole kitchen before leaving. I want to hire her for any event! Thank you Melissa!

Emi Clark - Aug 10 2021

5/ 5

Book your experience with Chef Melissa

Specify the details of your requests and the chef will send you a custom menu just for you.