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Meet Melissa Locke of Kitchen on Locke in Van Nuys

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melissa Locke.

Melissa, before we jump into specific questions about your business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up (Baltimore, Maryland) in a household where my mother was always cooking. She had me help her in the kitchen very often from a young age. These were very special moments for me, that I remember to this day. Fast forward to high school in my 9th-grade year I got accepted into Carver Center for the Arts and Technology High School for culinary magnet. Although I enjoyed their program I ultimately left to pursue another extracurricular activity I am equally as passionate about, dance.

After graduating High School dancing took me to Cincinnati, Ohio where I trained for a year with Exhale Dance company. Eventually, found myself moving to Los Angeles, California committing to the dream of becoming a professional dancer. Within my first year of moving to Los Angeles in 2011, I found out I was pregnant with my son. To my surprise that was such an amazing time experiencing my first year in LA, pregnant with friends who felt more like family. I, however, decided to move back to Baltimore at seven months pregnant. This created an uncertainty of what my new future would look like. I’m never down too long, trust me! Three weeks after giving birth to a sweet baby name Avery, we were both back in the dance studio teaching. I spent the next two years making a life for us in Baltimore, teaching dance at two local studios.

I choreographed routines for dance students to compete at local competitions. During this time I took up a love of posting pictures of the food I made for myself and others. I had the privilege to cook new recipes every week and experiment. But if you thought that was the end to my story, you have another thing coming. I wasn’t satisfied. Intrigued by the possibilities of what the LA dance industry had to offer me, I once again made the decision to move back to LA with an almost-two-year-old in tow.

One year of culinary school, two different living spaces, and a load of auditions later, I still was finding my way. Until one day I said to myself ” Why can’t I do it all?” I have been fortunate enough to have done commercials, danced on a tv show, and two award shows ( 2018 VMA Ariana Grande “God is a Woman” and 2019 Bet Awards Lizzo “Truth Hurts”). Oh, and did I mention raising Avery and nurturing his ever-growing interests. On top of all the side jobs such as a Zumba/Fitness instructor and dance instructor, one passion always stuck, cooking. I started my Instagram primarily for pictures of meals I prepared for myself and others. I was inspired by an old hip hop solo choreographed by my high school mentor ” Got it on Locke” for the name of my new business.

Kitchen on Locke will now be going into 2020 with new ventures under its belt. Breakfast brunches, lunches, and events catered in the past year have fueled the fire of my inspiration. I want to do it all. I will do it all. The goal is to continue dancing while also feeding my fellow foodies who love satisfying, savory dishes. Kitchen on Locke is meant to be a convenient option for every day people but doesn’t lack the feeling of a home cooked meal. I also provide catering for all events.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, it has not been a smooth road. Being a single mom at a young age let alone an aspiring chef and dancer was a whole new experience. Where do I begin? 20 years old living in LA spending my first year training and auditioning pregnant. 21 years old, welcoming the most precious little human being in the world and moving back home. A newborn and a woman with many passions but very little money and access to a life in which she strives to live. I had to really soul search, which took months after my son was born.

Nevertheless, once Avery was born I worked very hard and continued to ensure he didn’t want or need at all times, making him my first priority always. I struggled finding the balance of motherhood and pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. Always questioning, “How do I make money doing other ventures that I equally love as much as dance?” It took six years but I have found it. Thankfully, cooking was another means to have fun and provide.

Please tell us more about your business.
Kitchen on Locke. The name originated from my senior year hip hop solo named “Got it on Locke” – Lance Guillermo. I was so inspired by how catchy and easy it rolled off the tongue. My business “Locke’s” down your hunger while offering catering services and convenient meals on the go that are delicious and filling. My company is different because it is geared toward the everyday working individual. In Los Angeles, it is very common for a “meal to go” service to be predominantly geared towards the fitness/ health industry. Our mission is for those who lead a busy life and can not make time to prep/cook for themselves to have different tasty options. Being from Baltimore, Maryland, home of the Crab and everything old bay, you will see my menu selections really reflect that part of me. Some specialties include, but not limited too, Old Bay Fried Chicken wings, Old Bay Fried Shrimp, Crab Dip, Seafood Boil bags – (crab legs, shrimp and potatoes). Items such as these, plus more help Kitchen on Locke to stand out, bringing the east coast flavor to the west coast.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I have a couple haha! I was a competitive swimmer from 6 to 18 years old. My favorite memory were the summers at our local swimming club, Padonia Park Club, where I was on the swim team with my friends. I also participated in dancing competitions in high school competing with Rage Box Dance Center. The people I got to share these moments of play, dance, laughs, and childhood woes will always have a positive impact on my life. This shaped me into becoming a social butterfly, one who loves new adventures, and has the ability to adapt and be versatile.

Pricing:

  • Charcuterie Boards Available. Small – $100, Medium-$159, and Large $225
  • On the Go meals range from $12- $30. Signature Items: Old Bay Fried Chicken, Old Bay Fried Shrimp, Shrimp Salad, Seafood Boil Bag, Old bay Shrimp twice baked potatoes, Cajun Pasta Salad, Old Bay Shrimp n’ Grits
  • Inquire about Catering, Lowest package deal is $22/ person

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Wes Klain

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