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JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes

4040 Central Florida Parkway · Orlando, Florida 32837 USA

  • +1-407-393-4444

Primo

  • +1-407-393-4444

Chef & Staff Profiles

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Melissa Kelly (Co-Owner and Executive Chef)

Melissa Kelly is the executive chef and proprietor of the original Primo in mid-coast Maine. She is the 2013 and 1999 James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Northeast. She was also nominated in 1998.


Melissa grew up on Long Island, and her earliest cooking lessons took place in her Italian grandmother's kitchen. In fact, she still favors Mediterranean-accented foods. She attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York and graduated first in her class. Her post-graduate education took place in some of the top kitchens in the country.


With a resume that includes the posh Greenbrier Hotel, West Virginia; Bluebeards Castle, St. Thomas U.S. Virgin Islands and An American Place in New York, Melissa has a wealth of experience. To broaden her culinary skills, she moved west to work with Reed Heron of Lulu and the legendary Alice Waters of Chez Panisse. “I didn't have a style when I got there,” Melissa says. “By the time I left, I did: simplicity, seasonality, freshness."


Melissa was named one of the upcoming chefs of the 1990s by Food & Wine magazine, Nation's Restaurant News, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Chocolatier and The New York Times. In 2003, she partnered with JW Marriott to open a second Primo at Grande Lakes, serving the Orlando area fine Italian cuisine in a casual, comfortable setting. A third located opened in 2005 at Starr Pass Resort in Tucson, Arizona.

Price Kushner (Co-Owner and Baker/Pastry Chef)

A native of Miami, Price Kushner spent much of his childhood in coastal Maine, where his parents maintain a home. A self-taught baker and pastry chef, he has quickly risen through the ranks of some of America's premier restaurants, including stints at the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Inn in Chatham, New York and the renowned Acme Bread Bakery in Berkeley, California.