OUR TEAM

Our classes are taught by industry-professional instructors, each boasting a diverse background, and widely varying experience. All of our chef-instructors, though, subscribe to the same principles for preparing delicious, wholesome, internationally-inspired foods for an appreciative audience.

Our chef-instructors coach students in different cooking styles including the history, culture, and any customary ceremony associated with those foods. Every dish is prepared—as we like to say—as though at the hands of the mamas in the country from which each recipe originates.

Melanie Cecilio    Founder/ Culinary Director   Melanie has brought her immense talents to teaching, developing and curating recipes, and heading up product initiatives for leading global food companies, including Kraft, Nestlé, Glad, Monde Nissin, Cuisinart, and Heinz-UFC. She has distinguished herself by establishing  Cooking Basics  in Manila, Philippines, and doing all of the concept work—from architecture to relationship development—for building  Hudson Table  in Hoboken. She has also taught cooking classes at Haven’s Kitchen, Hunt Hill Farm and continues to teach as a chef instructor at the  Institute of Culinary Education  in New York.   Little Fox Kitchen , though, is Melanie’s dream: a place to share cuisine learned at the side of master chefs around the world; to inspire and educate amateur chefs and food aficionados; and above all, to celebrate the joys of food with others. Melanie, a firm believer in experiencing food, continues to travel to culinary hotspots, bringing back stories, techniques, and history to properly season her recipes—both original and traditional.

Melanie Cecilio

Founder/ Culinary Director

Melanie has brought her immense talents to teaching, developing and curating recipes, and heading up product initiatives for leading global food companies, including Kraft, Nestlé, Glad, Monde Nissin, Cuisinart, and Heinz-UFC. She has distinguished herself by establishing Cooking Basics in Manila, Philippines, and doing all of the concept work—from architecture to relationship development—for building Hudson Table in Hoboken. She has also taught cooking classes at Haven’s Kitchen, Hunt Hill Farm and continues to teach as a chef instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York.

Little Fox Kitchen, though, is Melanie’s dream: a place to share cuisine learned at the side of master chefs around the world; to inspire and educate amateur chefs and food aficionados; and above all, to celebrate the joys of food with others. Melanie, a firm believer in experiencing food, continues to travel to culinary hotspots, bringing back stories, techniques, and history to properly season her recipes—both original and traditional.

Dan Stone    Chef Instructor   After two decades as a college administrator, Daniel Stone was awarded a scholarship by the James Beard Foundation to attend New York’s Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) where he completed the Professional Culinary Arts program with Honors.  He became Recipe Editor for ICE and developed the classes and recipes for the Recreational program of the school for over a decade. He resides in New York City where he teaches recreational cooking classes to adults and high school students. He is a licensed New York City Sightseeing Guide and gives culinary walking tours through the Lower East Side, Chinatown, and Brooklyn.

Dan Stone

Chef Instructor

After two decades as a college administrator, Daniel Stone was awarded a scholarship by the James Beard Foundation to attend New York’s Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) where he completed the Professional Culinary Arts program with Honors.

He became Recipe Editor for ICE and developed the classes and recipes for the Recreational program of the school for over a decade. He resides in New York City where he teaches recreational cooking classes to adults and high school students. He is a licensed New York City Sightseeing Guide and gives culinary walking tours through the Lower East Side, Chinatown, and Brooklyn.

Melissa Velez    Chef Instructor   Melissa is a graduate of the esteemed culinary university, Johnson & Wales. She has also obtained her health coach certification at the Institute of Integrated Nutrition and has taught recreational cooking classes for Sur La Table, NY and Le Gourmet Factory in NJ as well as private in home lessons alongside her personal chef service. With a passion for food science, Melissa focuses her classes heavily on technique and breaks down each step in a way that results in a greater understanding for the home cook. She is always encouraging questions and for each dish to be made personal to the amateur chef making it. The personal touch she can offer her students is from a well rounded education and hands on experience paired with casual grace and attention to detail.

Melissa Velez

Chef Instructor

Melissa is a graduate of the esteemed culinary university, Johnson & Wales. She has also obtained her health coach certification at the Institute of Integrated Nutrition and has taught recreational cooking classes for Sur La Table, NY and Le Gourmet Factory in NJ as well as private in home lessons alongside her personal chef service. With a passion for food science, Melissa focuses her classes heavily on technique and breaks down each step in a way that results in a greater understanding for the home cook. She is always encouraging questions and for each dish to be made personal to the amateur chef making it. The personal touch she can offer her students is from a well rounded education and hands on experience paired with casual grace and attention to detail.

 
Kimberly Severson    Chef Instructor   Kimberly is a chef, sommelier, caterer, and all-around food and wine enthusiast.  Hailing from a family of excellent cooks, Kimberly’s culinary journey began when she was barely tall enough to see over the stoves, at her grandfather’s restaurant in Raritan, NJ. Her studies took her to the Culinary Institute of America, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts Management. After spending some time cooking in restaurants in Vermont and New York, Kimberly’s love of wine and fine dining took her to the front of the house in upscale NYC restaurants like Café Gray and Alto. She went on to study wine with the American Sommelier Association and the International Wine Center, where she graduated with Distinction.  Kimberly worked in Sales for Astor Wines & Spirits, but brought her love of food, wine, education, and all things gustatory together at Astor Center, where she was the Director of Programming. Kimberly continued on to teach wine classes at Astor Center, Murray’s Cheese, Heirloom Kitchen, and in private homes around NY and NJ. In 2008 she created Spoon & Cork, and NJ-based business offering boutique catering, culinary events, and wine education to the Tri-State area.  Kimberly is thrilled to join the team at Little Fox Kitchen! She resides in Lincroft, NJ with her husband, two children, and her sourdough starter.

Kimberly Severson

Chef Instructor

Kimberly is a chef, sommelier, caterer, and all-around food and wine enthusiast.

Hailing from a family of excellent cooks, Kimberly’s culinary journey began when she was barely tall enough to see over the stoves, at her grandfather’s restaurant in Raritan, NJ. Her studies took her to the Culinary Institute of America, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts Management. After spending some time cooking in restaurants in Vermont and New York, Kimberly’s love of wine and fine dining took her to the front of the house in upscale NYC restaurants like Café Gray and Alto. She went on to study wine with the American Sommelier Association and the International Wine Center, where she graduated with Distinction.

Kimberly worked in Sales for Astor Wines & Spirits, but brought her love of food, wine, education, and all things gustatory together at Astor Center, where she was the Director of Programming. Kimberly continued on to teach wine classes at Astor Center, Murray’s Cheese, Heirloom Kitchen, and in private homes around NY and NJ. In 2008 she created Spoon & Cork, and NJ-based business offering boutique catering, culinary events, and wine education to the Tri-State area.

Kimberly is thrilled to join the team at Little Fox Kitchen! She resides in Lincroft, NJ with her husband, two children, and her sourdough starter.

Wai Hon Chu    Chef Instructor   Wai Hon Chu is the co-author of  The Dumpling: A Seasonal Guide , a collection of traditional dumpling recipes from around the world. Chu completed his culinary training at The Art Institute of New York and has worked in professional kitchens throughout New York City. In 1999, he launched El Eden Chocolates, which grew into a Manhattan storefront offering over 25 truffle varieties nationwide. His handmade chocolates have garnered rave reviews from The New York Times, Food & Wine, New York magazine, TimeOut New York, National Public Radio, and others. Wai currently works as a Culinary Instructor at Hot Bread Kitchen and has previously taught at the Institute of Culinary Education, the Natural Gourmet Institute, and the Culinary Center at Whole Foods Market Bowery.

Wai Hon Chu

Chef Instructor

Wai Hon Chu is the co-author of The Dumpling: A Seasonal Guide, a collection of traditional dumpling recipes from around the world. Chu completed his culinary training at The Art Institute of New York and has worked in professional kitchens throughout New York City. In 1999, he launched El Eden Chocolates, which grew into a Manhattan storefront offering over 25 truffle varieties nationwide. His handmade chocolates have garnered rave reviews from The New York Times, Food & Wine, New York magazine, TimeOut New York, National Public Radio, and others. Wai currently works as a Culinary Instructor at Hot Bread Kitchen and has previously taught at the Institute of Culinary Education, the Natural Gourmet Institute, and the Culinary Center at Whole Foods Market Bowery.

Samantha de Simone    Culinary Assistant   Samantha is a Brooklyn bred foodie who is over the moon to be joining the Little Fox team. Samantha graduated from Wagner College with a theater degree and can be seen around New York on various stages. When she's not on stage, she's instructing future chefs through Butterbeans Wellness Inc, where she was the Assistant Camp Director for their food and garden camp. Samantha is thrilled to develop her culinary passion through Little Fox and cannot wait to explore new food and techniques with you!

Samantha de Simone

Culinary Assistant

Samantha is a Brooklyn bred foodie who is over the moon to be joining the Little Fox team. Samantha graduated from Wagner College with a theater degree and can be seen around New York on various stages. When she's not on stage, she's instructing future chefs through Butterbeans Wellness Inc, where she was the Assistant Camp Director for their food and garden camp. Samantha is thrilled to develop her culinary passion through Little Fox and cannot wait to explore new food and techniques with you!

 
Marianna di Giansante   Chef Instructor  Marianna is an Italian food lover born and raised in Bologna, Italy. She moved to New York a couple of years ago with her two Russian Blue cats in order to live with Mark, the man she loves.  She developed her palate in Italy, learning how to cook with the best cooks she ever met (her mom Anna and her grandmothers nonna Marianna and nonna Bruna), but it was only in New York that she understood how big her passion for food is. There, she decided to pursue her childhood dream to study at a professional culinary school. Last year she graduated with honors from the Farm to Table Professional Culinary Arts program of the International Culinary Center in SoHo.   Currently, she works as a line cook at Del Posto, the one-Michelin-star Italian restaurant in the Meat Packing District. During her spare time she blogs on food and teaches recreational cooking classes privately and in collaboration with Little Fox Kitchen and the Italian company Italy Food Nest.   In her previous life, among other jobs, Marianna worked as the General Manager of the hotel Al Cappello Rosso, one of the oldest hotel in the world, and with a friend she reopened that hotel's historical Osteria (established in 1375 but closed a century ago), resurrecting its tradition of conviviality and local food.   "I love doing Italian cooking class. Food is my passion. When I cook I'm an artist involved in an artisanal creation. I'm a witch who casts a spell: food can kill, can make you fall in love, can take you back through memories. When I cook, I'm an actress who plays a piece, I'm a lover who shares his love.  Food is love, as my mum was used to say, she shared it with me, so I do the same. I love to share my love with others. Cooking and eating together is a heartwarming memory of my childhood. It's tradition in Italy eating with your family at lunch on Sunday in a sort of a reunion, and in the morning all the woman of the family from the youngest to the oldest prepare food together, speaking about their life, asking and giving advice, laughing, sharing experience and feeling in a love convivium.  My cooking classes recover this cheerful sociable spirit and the food is just an excuse to meet people, understand different life, learn unknown cultures. I'm so happy when my kitchen is enriches by a melting pot of ingredient and fellows".

Marianna di Giansante

Chef Instructor

Marianna is an Italian food lover born and raised in Bologna, Italy. She moved to New York a couple of years ago with her two Russian Blue cats in order to live with Mark, the man she loves.

She developed her palate in Italy, learning how to cook with the best cooks she ever met (her mom Anna and her grandmothers nonna Marianna and nonna Bruna), but it was only in New York that she understood how big her passion for food is. There, she decided to pursue her childhood dream to study at a professional culinary school. Last year she graduated with honors from the Farm to Table Professional Culinary Arts program of the International Culinary Center in SoHo.

Currently, she works as a line cook at Del Posto, the one-Michelin-star Italian restaurant in the Meat Packing District. During her spare time she blogs on food and teaches recreational cooking classes privately and in collaboration with Little Fox Kitchen and the Italian company Italy Food Nest.

In her previous life, among other jobs, Marianna worked as the General Manager of the hotel Al Cappello Rosso, one of the oldest hotel in the world, and with a friend she reopened that hotel's historical Osteria (established in 1375 but closed a century ago), resurrecting its tradition of conviviality and local food.


"I love doing Italian cooking class. Food is my passion. When I cook I'm an artist involved in an artisanal creation. I'm a witch who casts a spell: food can kill, can make you fall in love, can take you back through memories. When I cook, I'm an actress who plays a piece, I'm a lover who shares his love.

Food is love, as my mum was used to say, she shared it with me, so I do the same. I love to share my love with others. Cooking and eating together is a heartwarming memory of my childhood. It's tradition in Italy eating with your family at lunch on Sunday in a sort of a reunion, and in the morning all the woman of the family from the youngest to the oldest prepare food together, speaking about their life, asking and giving advice, laughing, sharing experience and feeling in a love convivium.

My cooking classes recover this cheerful sociable spirit and the food is just an excuse to meet people, understand different life, learn unknown cultures. I'm so happy when my kitchen is enriches by a melting pot of ingredient and fellows".