Melissa Cookston Bio, Age, Ethnicity, Husband, Restaurants, Net worth

Melissa Cookston Biography

Melissa Cookston is a chef, author, and restaurant owner from Ruleville, Mississippi. She grew up in Greenville and Pontotoc, Mississippi. She is widely known for participating in barbecue showdown competitions. Cookston is a seven-time barbecue champion. She now serves as a judge on Netflix’s Barbecue Showdown.

Melissa Cookston Age | Birthday

Cookston was born on October 29, 1968, making her 55 years old as of July 2024. She celebrates her birthday on the 29th of October each year.

Melissa Cookston Parents

Melissa has not publicly disclosed details about her parents. However,  when it comes to her ethnicity and heritage, she is of a mixed (Scottish and English) heritage.

Melissa Cookston
Chef Melissa Cookston

Melissa Cookston Height

The talented chef, Cookston stands at a height measurement of approximately 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm).

Melissa Cookston Husband

Cookston is married to her husband Pete Cookston. When it comes to her children, Cookston and her husband Pete, together they have a daughter named Lauren, who graduated from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in 2020 with a degree in International Studies. Chef Cookston now resides in in Hernando, Mississippi, with her husband.


Melissa Cookston is a chef, author and restaurant owner.  She is also a reality TV personality. Her culinary journey took her from barbecue competitions to owning two restaurants. In 2011, she opened her first restaurant, Memphis BBQ Company, which has locations in Mississippi and Georgia. Cookston later launched her second restaurant, STEAK by Melissa, in Southaven, Mississippi (though it closed in 2020). Additionally, she opened a catering and plate lunch restaurant called Green Tomato Catering in Horn Lake, MS. Melissa remains the pitmaster of the Yazoo’s Delta Q barbecue team.

Melissa’s TV appearances include shows like BBQ PitmastersChopped, CBS This Morning, and The Kitchen, as well as Barbecue Showdown.


Melissa Cookston is also an accomplished author. Her cookbooks include “Smokin in the Boy’s Room” (2014) and “Smokin’ Hot in the South” (2016).


Melissa Cookston’s restaurants are:

  1. Memphis BBQ Company: Known for its mouthwatering barbecue, this restaurant has become a staple in the barbecue scene.
  2. STEAK by Melissa: Although it closed in 2020, it left a lasting impression on diners.

Barbecue Showdown

Melissa Cookston’s barbecue prowess has earned her seven world championships. She twice clinched the top prize at the Memphis in May American Barbecue World Championship, making her the only female American barbecue world champion.

She now serves as a judge on the Netflix series Barbecue Showdown, alongside Kevin Bludso.

Melissa Cookston Net Worth

Cookston has an estimated net worth of $20 million, according to various sources. She has accumulated her fortune through her career as a chef and author. Chef Cookston is also a restaurant owner and reality TV personality. She serves as a judge on Netflix’s Barbecue Show down.

Melissa Cookston’s Biography Profile

NameMelissa Cookston
Age55 years old (born on October 29, 1968)
Zodiac SignScorpio
EthnicityMixed (Scottish and English heritage)
Height5 feet 7 inches (170 cm)
HusbandPete Cookston
ChildrenLauren : Daughter
RestaurantsMemphis BBQ Company

STEAK by Melissa

BooksSmokin in the Boy’s Room

Smokin’ Hot in the South

Net Worth 

$20 Million


Chef Melissa is active on Instagram. Her Instagram handle is @melissa.cookston, with 240K followers as of July 2024.