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Melting Pot

Cheryl Smith

Chef Cheryl Smith is no ordinary cooking diva. She's a self-taught cooking diva.

With no formal training, only an unshakable passion for cooking and a determination to make the culinary arts her career, Cheryl has emerged on the cooking scene as an important new talent, recognized for her innovative -- even unorthodox -- cooking style.

Cheryl's passion for cooking began innocently enough. She simply missed her mother's Jamaican home cooking and tried to cook for herself. Cheryl describes her attempts as "laughable." The very food she had grown up on and knew most intimately turned out to be difficult to duplicate. So began Cheryl's journey: To discover and understand the unique balance of spices and flavors--not only of foods of her native Jamaica--but of foods from other native cultures and regions.

With each new experiment and each new discovery, Cheryl became more and more convinced that cooking was going to be her life's work. But breaking into the business was another matter.

Cheryl's professional career began not as a cook, but as a dishwasher. Without a culinary diploma, Cheryl had to start at the bottom and work her way up. But it was well worth it. Everything she needed to know about running an efficient, organized kitchen was learned in those early years.

In short order, Cheryl became co-owner and executive chef of OK Kitchen Catering. In 1994, Cheryl joined the staff of Marion's Continental Restaurant, which specialized in American, French, Italian and Asian fusion foods. Eventually, Cheryl was made executive chef and was responsible for the design of the restaurant's dining room and catering menus.

In 1999, Cheryl moved on to another challenge as the executive chef of Sol Restaurant, which specializes in Asian/Caribbean cuisine. Cheryl has also worked with Match Restaurant, Tocqueville and Lola in New York City. She is looking forward to opening her own restaurant some day.

Cheryl's television career began in 1999, when she appeared on Chef Du Jour. She has since made numerous appearance on several shows, including Ready, Set, Cook!, In Food Today and Gordon Elliott's Door Knock Dinners. Cheryl brings her unique expertise of pan-African cuisine to Melting Pot, a show that explores regional cuisines.

For more information about Cheryl Smith click here:

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