Meet Melissa Pappas from Barbecue Showdown: 4 Things to Know About the BBQ Contestant

By David Thompson Posted:
Melissa Pappas

The life of BBQ Showdown's chef Melissa Pappas may surprise viewers of the new Netflix cooking show.

Barbecue Showdown recently released all eight episodes of Season 3 on July 4, pinning nine chefs against each other for a $50,000 prize.

One of the most captivating and talented cast members is Melissa Pappas, a food content creator from Orlando, Florida.

[ Full Cast of Barbecue Showdown Season 3: Contestants & Judges In 2024 Episodes (Photos) ]

Who Is Melissa Pappas? Biography Details

Melissa Pappas
Melissa Pappas

Melissa Pappas is a Self Taught Chef

Melissa Pappas, a self-taught chef, has turned her passion for cooking into a thriving online presence. 

In 2020, Pappas began sharing photos of her homemade meals on social media, launching "Sweet Melissa Cooks" (via Linktree).

As video content gained popularity, she started recording and editing recipe tutorials herself, per

Pappas has since focused on mastering BBQ, experimenting with smokers, grills, and open fire to perfect dishes like pulled pork, turkey, and ribs:

"I even had the opportunity to learn from some of Orlando’s greatest pitmasters through my involvement with many local restaurants, which was such an honor. These dedicated chefs are some of my biggest inspirations."

Her journey from hobbyist to content creator showcases her dedication to culinary arts and makes her background truly unique on Barbecue Showdown.

Melissa Used to be a Florida Teacher

Before her time on Barbecue Showdown, Melissa Pappas was an award-winning teacher in Florida.

She holds a Master's degree from the University of Central Florida and a Bachelor's degree from the University of West Florida with a focus in special education.

Pappas dedicated nearly seven years to teaching special education in the Orange County Public Schools system, focusing on children with intensive autism and various behavioral and educational needs. 

According to The Daytona Beach News-Journal, she earned the title of OCPS Teacher of the Year in 2020 and also won the prestigious Mary J. Brogan Excellence in Teaching Award from the Florida Department of Education.

In 2020, Pappas was recognized as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' guest during his State of the State Address.

Melissa Loves to Sing on Social Media

Fans of Melissa Pappas, also known as Sweet Melissa, will know that the influencer occasionally posts videos of her belting out music in her kitchen.

Using the term "Song Sunday", Pappas has posted many different music videos, including a touching performance (via Instagram) of "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack on Father's Day:

"My dad has dedicated this song to me since it came out when I was a kid, so it only seemed fitting that I dedicate it back to him for Song Sunday today on Father’s Day. I love you very much, you know, Daddy."

To kick off her birthday week, Pappas sang "Lead the Way" by Mariah Carey into her spatula for all of her Instagram followers to watch:

"Spatula drop - Only seemed appropriate to kick off birthday week with my (queen) Mariah."

Melissa Pappas Has Created Parody Videos

Initially posted on December 20, 2022, to YouTube, Melissa Pappas made a parody music video of Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" titled "Look What You Made Me Poo".

While this is currently her only parody, in the description of the video Pappas states that this is the first of many "Sweet Melissa Cooks: The Parodies" and it had been four years in the making.

Check out the full parody video here:

How To Follow Melissa Pappas Online

Melissa Pappas's social media profiles can be found on Facebook (Sweet Melissa), Instagram (@sweetmelissacooks), and YouTube (@SweetMelissaCooks).

Barbecue Showdown Season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.

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- About The Author: David Thompson
As an editor, writer, and podcast host, David is a key member of The Direct. He is an expert at covering topics like Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and business-related news following the box office and streaming.