A Teachable Moment… at Melissa’s Produce

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

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I guess the old saying, “Once a teacher, always a teacher” definitely applied to me on this remarkable day I experienced at Melissa’s Produce in Los Angeles. We were invited as authors to participate in their informative monthly events they hold at their plant facility in Vernon, Ca.  For those of you who have never been to one of these events, it was a luncheon served up by Melissa’s chefs with recipes from our book. We started the day with an olive oil presentation finishing off with an olive oil tasting for everyone who attended.  As our gift to those who attended, we signed books for everyone as our way of saying thank-you. The day rushed by so quickly it’s very difficult not to write a dissertation of my experience that day.  But, I’ll try to keep it short.

For me, this special afternoon at Melissa’s was so gratifying!  I taught, interacted, and listened as everyone gave encouraging words and advice to the two of us. I was so honored to be with my co-author Laura Bashar as we carefully navigated throughout the day. We had so many little details to make sure we covered in the world of olive oil. As I worked through the crowd I wanted to pinch myself and ask, “Is this really happening?” The book signing was an up close opportunity to meet everyone, and it was so magical for me. Actually, it was a dream come true. You see, I was a former bookseller and for years I watched authors as they performed in the spotlight as I sat behind the scenes.

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I couldn’t have been happier as Robert Schueller introduced us to the crowd. We had invited expert George Menzelos from Arianna Trading Company to join us, for we appreciate his talent in importing an organic premium Greek olive oil into the states. He helped clarify myths and helped the audience understand terms and definitions of olive oil where we needed assistance.

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The staff presented a tasty and colorful buffet for the event, which I find to be Robert’s unique twist to his produce events. Many staff hours went into the planning and execution of this event and we thank Robert and his great staff. Chef Tom Fraker and his assistant did an outstanding job!

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One of the most enjoyable moments was meeting with the people who took the time out of their day to attend our event. We were privileged to meet Dr. J.J Levenstein and Shirley Bovshow from the Home and Family Staff  at the Hallmark Station.

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Blogger Valentina Kenny from Cooking on the Weekends, and Chef Nancy Eisman/Adventures with Nancy Rose — joined us for a quick picture always a pleasure to see the two of them.

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Chef Tom, Robert, Mary, Laura, and George in a final picture.

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After lunch, we presented out talk , and afterwards we had selected three extra virgin olive oils for an olive oil tasting.  This was the moment I will never forget. The light bulb went off for many of the attendees as we finished the tasting. They responded with an extremely loud , “Aha”  moment. Just what an instructor is always looking for after class. Many questions were asked afterwards, because it finally all started to make sense to them – the health benefits, the myths, facts, and the true taste test! What a teaching moment it was….

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Thank you Melissa’s Produce, Robert Schueller and your entire staff in providing us with all the food, goodies bags, and drinks for this unforgettable book signing event. I will cherish this time we had together with your staff, employees and guests.

You may purchase my cookbook, “Cooking Techniques with Olive Oil”, and learn more about the world of olive oil.





© 2014 – 2019, Mary Papoulias-Platis. All rights reserved.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious

It was SUCH a great event! Well done!

2 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Thank you Dorothy, it was so nice to see you there! Your questions were so appreciated, keeping the conversation alive.

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