About Us

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We believe that food tastes better when it’s made by hand with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Our food is simple, hand-crafted and driven by farmer’s market inspiration. We love to cook and we love to eat; we get excited over a perfectly ripe peach, the char on a wood-fired pizza and making sausage from scratch. Our mission is to share this love with you through food that’s crafted with care from nature’s best ingredients. We look forward to catering your next event.

Our story…..

In 2003, Simple Gourmet started with the mission to teach everyday people how to cook better food. Founder and Co-Owner, Melanie Barsuk, began with small, private cooking classes and before long had a thriving culinary events company that specialized in hands-on cooking classes and team building events. It wasn’t long before those students were hungry for more and were inquiring about catering services. Soon Melanie and Co-Owner/Executive Chef, Taji Marie, were catering events throughout Los Angeles featuring their seasonal, inventive food. In 2011 Melanie and Taji began a Pro-Athlete Catering program that feeds the players of the LA Kings and LA Galaxy daily meals delivered to their training facilities. They also work closely with Athlete’s Performance to provide meals to various teams traveling to LA to train at the Stub-Hub center including the NFL.

Inspired by the move towards farm-to-table eating and people’s urge to embrace real, hand-crafted food, Melanie and Taji re-focused their catering efforts in 2013 and launched The Simple Gourmet Kitchen. SGK is about getting back to real food….food that comes from farms and ranches nearby…..food that’s made by hand……food that comforts and inspires.

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Over a decade ago, Melanie Barsuk left a successful career in corporate sales and marketing to devote her attention to her lifelong love of cooking and entertaining. With years of culinary classes and real-life experience under her belt, Melanie set out to build a company that would bring together her passion for good food and her business expertise. As a mother of two, Melanie is a voracious advocate for children’s nutrition and believes that the best way to get kids to eat better is to teach them how to cook. Since 2009 Simple Gourmet Kids’ popular Summer Cooking Camp has helped create a foundation of nutritional knowledge and enthusiasm for eating fresh, seasonal food in young chefs. Kids leave classes armed with basic cooking skills and a life-long culinary curiosity.

In 2004, newly settled in Los Angeles, Taji Marie was eager to move beyond her years in restaurant and resort kitchens and dive into creating foods that highlight the seasonal bounty of California. She brought this love of farm-to-table cooking to Simple Gourmet and began teaching cooking classes and coordinating events. As the company expanded, Taji continued to refine her culinary skills and develop recipes for hand-crafted sauces, sausages, pastas and desserts that would become the backbone of The Simple Gourmet Kitchen. Marie’s degree in Journalism and love of writing has also led published articles and recipes in culinary publications such as Cooking Light and Wine County Living. In 2013 Taji competed on Food Network’s CHOPPED and won her episode, “Without Missing a Beet.” Most recently she launched a food blog, TRUSTurGUT, to share her original recipes and encourage people to trust their instincts in the kitchen and in life. Learn more about Taji’s food styling, writing, consulting and cooking here.