This Chef’s Story Will Inspire You to Follow Your Passion

While some chefs and bakers on social media find their passion by chance, Melissa Stadler always knew she was born to cook. She was helping her mother in the kitchen from a young age and was always fascinated with the art of cooking. But had not expected her private passion to make her into a social media start with over 30k followers on Instagram and her own successful business.

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Hi friends! I’m Melissa…the face behind Modern Honey, who is way more comfy behind the camera. It is baking season so I can’t wait to share all of my new baking recipes with you! It’s time to share one of my cooking fails! Before MH, I competed for years in cooking contests. My first contest was the Pillsbury Bake-Off in 2010. I was one of the finalists chosen to fly to Orlando to compete for 1 MILLION DOLLARS. It was televised on the Oprah Show (which was a big deal back in the day), and because everything was totally new to me, I was SO NERVOUS. I will never forget making my sandwich recipe. I was feeling pretty confident, everything went smoothly and felt it was ready for the judges. I put my sandwich in the oven for the last step – 2 minutes under the broiler to melt the cheese. It was at that precise moment a reporter wanted to interview me. I didn’t hear the timer…but I didn’t miss the smell. My sandwich had burned to smithereens. I opened the oven to lots of smoke and my crispy black sandwich. I was in total panic. I walked to the bathroom…had a quick cry, tried to pull myself together, then went back to work. I got it to the judges in the nick of time — with only minutes to spare. I didn’t win the million but left with something else….a deep desire to get myself back to the Pillsbury Bake-Off. I find that sometimes the biggest motivator in life is defeat. “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” I was determined…so I worked and worked to create innovative recipes with one goal in mind — to return as a Pillsbury Bake Off finalist and do it all again. It was the greatest feeling to find out I was a finalist again! This time I went to the contest with two goals in mind — to do my best and to enjoy every single moment of the experience. Thankfully I didn’t burn my food! My recipe came out just like I wanted and the experience was everything I hoped it would be. I had one of the best days of my life. I didn’t bring home the million dollars, but it didn’t even matter. I had proven to myself that I could set a goal, work hard to achieve it, and actually live out a lifelong dream. So here’s to defeat because sometimes it’s our greatest teacher. ❤

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Melissa’s passion for cooking started at her mom’s kitchen, where she would often help to cook for her five brothers. Bring the only girl in a household full of boys, she had to find her own niche – and cooking it was.

That interest follower her into high school, and in 2010 she felt confident enough in her skills to start competing in recipe contests. She spent five years traveling, competing and cooking with some of the biggest names in the industry. Her experience in the kitchen, and her degree in communications, helped her turn her passion into a business, and soon she launched her blog and social media brand, “Modern Honey.”

Today she shares her recipes with her thousands of followers, and still enjoys cooking for her friends and family. All it took was a knack for cooking, business savvy, and determination.