Melissa Cookston is a cook, entrepreneur, businesswoman, and writer from the United States. Melissa Cookston is a seven-time world barbeque champion, a chef/owner of two restaurants and two cookbooks. Cookston is also the only female barbecue world champion, winning the top award in the Memphis in May World Barbecue Championship two times.


Prior life: Upbringing & Education

Melissa Cookston was born on October 29, 1968, in Greenville, Mississippi. She is of mixed Scottish and English ancestry and holds an American passport. However, she hasn’t revealed anything about her upbringing or early years. Melissa, on the other hand, was born and raised in the little Mississippi town of Ruleville. Tommy E. Nichols Sr., who got listed on Melissa’s Facebook’s’Family and Relationships’ section, got speculated of Melissa’s father, even though she never openly addressed him.

She attended North Pontiac High School for her schooling. Melissa’s first recollection of barbecue is heading down to her grandfather’s coffee shop and smelling the barbecue coming from the nearby grilling station.

melissa cookston
Image Source: Morris Marketing Group

Body stats

The cook Melissa Cookston stands at a respectable height of 5 feet 7 inches and weighs 63 kg. She has black hair that she dyes blonde most of the time. Similarly, she has a fair complexion and dark brown eyes. Other details regarding her physical measurements are yet to be disclosed to the public.

Full NameMelissa Cookston
Date of BirthOctober 29, 1968
Birth PlaceGreenville, Mississippi
Age53 (2021)
Father's NameN/A
Mother's NameN/A
Body MeasurementN/A
Height5 feet 7 inches
Weight63 kg
Hair ColorBlonde
Eyes ColorBrown
Relationship StatusMarried
Spouse(s)/Partner(s)Pete Cookston
Net worth20 million USD

Career & Achievements

Melissa Cookston’s passion for barbecue began when she used to visit her grandfather’s coffee business in Pontotoc, which was next to a barbecue joint. She used to smell barbeque while sitting at her grandfather’s coffee shop, and if she was lucky, she could even grab a sandwich. After that, she spent years working in the foodservice industry, where she met her spouse Pete.
Melissa, on the other hand, did not contemplate starting a BBQ company until she met her spouse, Pete Cookston. She began cooking barbeque in 1996 and began entering contests, winning a number of them. Then, in 2007, she and her husband resigned from their jobs and traveled the country, competing in barbeque competitions.
Their first establishment, Memphis BBQ Company, opened in 2011 and now has outlets in Mississippi, Georgia, and North Carolina. Melissa stands out as a role model for any woman who desires to work in the pits at a time when practically all pitmasters are males. Melissa was judging on the fourth season of Destination America’s BBQ Pitmasters before appearing on Netflix’s American Barbecue Showdown.

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She even got dubbed one of America’s most powerful BBQ pitmasters by Fox News. She has been on a variety of TV series since 2012, including BBQ Pitmasters, Chopped, CBS This Morning, and The Kitchen.

STEAK by Melissa, her second restaurant, debuted in Southaven, Mississippi, in October 2016. It got decommissioned in 2020. Green Tomato Catering, a catering/plate lunch restaurant in Horn Lake, MS, launched in 2019. She is still the pitmaster for the Delta Q BBQ crew in Yazoo.

Cookston said in 2017 that she has started breeding her own hybrid pigs. She has been in a variety of TV series since 2012, including BBQ Pitmasters, Chopped, CBS This Morning, The Kitchen, and The American Barbecue Showdown. The well-known chef has earned a place on Wikipedia.

Melissa Cookston
Melissa Cookston Image Source Foodrepublic

It includes a brief account of her personal life as well as highlights from her professional career. Melissa is a novelist in addition to her reality TV and restaurant careers. As of September 2020, she has authored two books, “Smokin in the Boy’s Room” and “Smokin’ Hot in the South,” in which she chronicled her recollections and experiences with barbeque, as well as several recipes.

She is also the only female barbecue world champion, winning the top award in the Memphis in May World Barbecue Championship two times.


Melissa Cookston is happily married. Pete Cookston, who is also her business partner, is her husband’s name. They run their wildly successful restaurant enterprises together. Pete was the one who originally introduced her to barbeque. While dating, the two even attended a BBQ competition together. The pair married in September 1997, after seeing each other for a few years.

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Net Worth

Given her extraordinary achievement, it’s hardly surprising that she’s made a lot of money. Melissa Cookston operates two restaurants and is regarded as one of the world’s best cooks. Melissa Cookston is expected to have a net worth of over $20 million, according to internet sources. Her establishments brought somewhere around $10 million and $15 million in revenue.

melissa cookston
Image Source: The Southern Illinoisan

Social media presence

When it comes to her social media presence, Melissa Cookston is highly active. Melissa Cookston has over 139K Instagram followers and over 9K Twitter followers. In addition, her Facebook profile is likely to have a following of roughly 20 thousand people. She also has a YouTube account with 4.27 thousand subscribers. On her Instagram feed, the acclaimed cook typically posts elaborate BBQ dishes.

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