NATCHITOCHES – Melissa Randall has combined her loves of performing, baking and working with children into an interesting career. She is soon hoping to take that to a new level. Randall, a Northwestern State University alumna with a degree in theatre, will appear on the debut of the Lifetime show “Supermarket Superstar” Monday at 9 p.m. CDT.
Each one-hour episode of Supermarket Superstar follows three home chefs as they pitch their product concepts to titans of the food world, including cookie mogul Debbi Fields and specialty foods pioneer Michael Chiarello, for the opportunity to have their creation launched nationally in a major grocery chain.
Randall has her own business, Baking with Melissa, that serves her original sweets and offers children’s baking parties in the Los Angeles area. Her website is at BakingWithMelissa.com.
“A friend told me about auditions for the show in October,” said Randall, a 1996 graduate of Northwestern State. “I didn’t know if I was ready for something like this. I talked to the producers off and on until February and I found out I made it on the show.”
The experience was better than Randall imagined.
“It was fun. I never thought about making food on a large scale,” said Randall. “It was wonderful meeting Debbie Fields. She was so lovely and sweet. Being on the show was like being in a dream.”
Baking and cooking have been part of Randall’s life as long as she can remember.
My mom and grandmother loved to bake and cook and from the time I was a little girl I wanted to watch and help,” said Randall. “As I got older, I got to do more and eventually started trying things.”
Randall’s career includes a professional acting repertoire of performances and hosting accomplishments that have brought her all over the world. She established herself by performing in dinner theatres, children’s theatre, theme parks, cruise ships, trade shows, baking webisodes and more. For the past 17 years, she has taught children the art of acting and cooking in a variety of enrichment programs and theatres. Randall is a featured talent on eHow.com, where she has filmed 73 baking webisodes based around her business and is the host of five cooking shows for a Bumble Bee Tuna App.
“I didn’t get to cook or bake while I was on the cruise ship, so when I finished that work, I went back to Los Angeles and made up for lost time,” said Randall. “My mom sent me a mini-muffin pan and it inspired mw to start creating new recipes. I was baking with no purpose then one day a friend and I started talking about ways to combine my interests.”
Those interests led to Baking with Melissa. Randall offers baking parties for children that include games, crafts, teaching baking to children and other fun activities.
Randall said when she first started pursuing her acting career she often consulted with former Northwestern State Artistic Director Dr. Jack Wann before taking any professional job. She credits Wann and his colleagues on the faculty with preparing her and fellow students for rewarding careers.
“I got the tools I needed,” said Randall. “All of the faculty told us the industry wasn’t easy, but taught us what we had to do. I learned that a lot of people will tell you no, but you learn how much you want it. When I left Northwestern, I knew how to go into the world and pursue a professional acting career.”
Over the past several months, Randall said she has had many opportunities to be proud of fellow alumni who have appeared on Broadway and on stages around the country, in films as actors and stunt performers and developed successful careers in casting or as teachers.
“It is inspiring and I am proud to have come from the same place as so many amazing people,” said Randall. “At Northwestern, I was taught how to do the work, to keep doing the work and never give up. That is what I’ve done.”
More information on Supermarket Superstar is available at mylifetime.com/shows/supermarket-superstar.