Q&A: Melody Mitchell

Now marking 22 years at Woodside’s iconic Michelin-star restaurant, Village Pub’s lead server shares her go-to comfort food, her crazy step count during a typical shift and a cherished encounter with the star of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

What’s the secret to delivering a memorable fine
dining experience?
Honestly, there’s no secret or substitute. It’s constant dedication and a ton of hard work. It may sound clichéd, but paying attention is critical. Every member of our team commits themselves every day to being 1% better than the day before.

What guided you towards the hospitality industry?
It runs in my blood! My mom and grandmother used to have really elaborate dinner parties, and me and my three sisters would get dressed up and host and run drinks and food. It sounds adorable, but we really learned so much.

What’s your go-to comfort food?

What’s your personal motto?
Do what you love and be the best at it.

How has the fine dining experience evolved over
the years?
It’s like an antique luxury car—I would imagine they’re always in the shop, with very fine adjustments being made all the time. I am happy to see that the scene is less serious now, and that guests seem more and more about being comfortable and just having a great time.

What’s your favorite type of exercise?
Hiking. I love being out in nature—it’s so grounding.

What’s a movie you could watch over and over?
Midnight in Paris or The Grand Budapest Hotel. Both are so beautiful and full of magic.

What TV show are you most embarrassed to admit you watch?
Everything on Bravo. Andy Cohen is my spirit animal!

How many steps do you take during an average shift?
Not sure, but I’d say between 10 to 15K. I really should start recording that…

What’s something people are surprised to learn about you?
That my husband is shorter than me. (I’ve always listed my height as 5 feet, 13 inches.)

How do you unwind after a long day?
MEZCAL! Well, it usually starts with an adult beverage, but just being home, in our own space, makes me feel a million miles away from everything. My man and I also love cooking at home.

What do you enjoy the most about your work?
Look, I make a good living, and that’s awesome, but the best part about what I do is knowing that for the two hours you’re in my section, you’re going to have an extraordinarily memorable experience.

Favorite celebrity encounter?
Paul Newman. He said, “Young lady, go ahead and order for me.” I chose the roast chicken. He was so kind—and he kissed me on the cheek!