Chef Adam Melonas, of Spain’s progressive healthy cuisine hub Madrid Lab, might have been classically trained to turn fresh food into flavorful experiences and gorgeous presentations on a restaurant plate. But he also uses his talents to tempt the palettes of another demographic—children, and this week, trick-or-treaters.
As the face of Unreal, a company whose mission is to “un-junk the world”—one candy bar at a time—with all-natural versions of America’s favorite candies, Melonas has his work cut out for him.
Though that’s never been a problem. Melonas, who began his career at 19 as the head chef at London’s Otto, says, “I went a little crazy trying to prove the impossible possible. That’s still with me. Now, I’m a progressive cuisine chef constantly looking for new things, like Unreal.”
Melonas carries that same inspiring attitude into his cooking at home, where he continues to use all-natural ingredients to make meals for his wife and baby. Even though he’s busy in the kitchen at work, he doesn’t mind taking the time at home.
“It takes the same amount of time to order a pizza as it does to cook some chicken and vegetables,” Melonas says. “Sure, you can feed your family McDonalds for 10 bucks—but it’s causing the food industry to do less than ideal things to how they grow and produce food. Every piece of food that goes into my mouth I recognize. I feel like I have to lead by example.”
To that end, here Melonas shares what’s in his fridge. And I guess we know what’s he’s going to serving the pint-size doorbell ringers that come by on Halloween.
You’re an Australian chef with Greek heritage. How does your background influence your cooking? You know, I’ve been out of Australia for 15 years. I used to go to Greece every summer as a kid. Still, in some ways, both countries have influenced the way I cook at home. They’re both about very simple ingredients—not messed with too much. Basic and simple—but strong—flavors.
Pure and simple, I love that. I see a bunch of eggs in the top right corner. What do you use them for? A variety of things. I will poach eggs inside of the shell and leave those in the fridge for my wife. I’ll use poached eggs in salads, or put one over sprouted Jasmine rice for breakfast.
What a delish breakfast idea! Okay, you’re clearly a Kombucha fan. What do you like about it? I love Kombucha. My body just tells me that this is the right thing for me—especially that Kombucha with chia seeds. It makes me feel energized and satisfied for a long period of time. If my body is happy, I’m happy.
That’s a great mantra to go by. I’m drawn to your collection of fresh veggies. What do you make with those? I’m lucky because there’s a farmer’s market just down the road from me. The type of veggies I buy there depends on what’s in season. In summer, I make a lot of salads. During winter, I start to make more vegetable soups of grilled veggie dishes.
Eat seasonally, got it. I don’t see a lot of fruit. Do you make smoothies? I have a smoothie every morning with frozen wild blueberries. There are probably 25 different ingredients in the smoothie I make. I use all different kinds of seeds and oil. It keeps me very satisfied until lunchtime.
Wow, a 25-ingredient smoothie! I don’t see any dairy. Do you drink milk? The only place that I drink milk is in coffee. I only will use a grass-fed milk that’s local. No hormones, no antibiotics. I know that there’s a huge milk alternative craze going on right now. I would rather make them at home myself. Most of the commercial nut milks contain added sugar. They’re so easy to make at home and they taste so much better.
It seems like everyone that makes almond milk at home agrees that homemade tastes way better. If you were having a dinner party tonight, what would you make? I’d probably go get some locally caught fish. If it’s just good friends coming over, then I’d whip up something super simple. But if it’s a special occasion, then it would have to be an elaborate five or six course meal. —Jamie McKillop
For more information, visit getunreal.com