Marissa Leon-John

Saturday, November 4th at 3:30pm • Presented by Chicken Farmer's of Canada

Born and raised in Montreal, Marissa’s kitchen reflects the multicultural food haven she hails from. She was introduced to a wide variety of flavors at a very early age and her Caribbean heritage is the foundation of her passion for honoring tradition while creating innovative recipes. Growing up, exposure to culinary treats from many cultures including Greek, Italian, Filipino, and of course the traditional flavours of St. Lucia and St. Vincent & the Grenadines shaped her culinary landscape. Diversity in the kitchen helped refine her palate and now she is proud to share her passion with the masses.

As a self-taught chef with a love for diverse flavours and who prides herself in being a chameleon in the kitchen. She is a proud, two-time MasterChef Canada alumna, including being a finalist on the 5th season.   Going back for the all-star season in 2020 provided Marissa a massive platform to showcase herself unapologetically – as a strong, charismatic, queer, Black daughter of immigrant parents who can throw down in the kitchen with the best.

With a focus on accessibility, Marissa channeled her passion, expertise and drive from the show to start creating immersive food experiences full time.  From there, Elle Jay’s was born – a space where Marissa shares her love for food by curating menus from small dinner parties to large corporate events and festivals, including the title as head chef for the Montréal Pride Festival 2018.

Marissa also has launched her own product line of “Fairy Dust” spice blends that are versatile, magical, and delicious.  She hopes to inspire home cooks to create “magical” food experiences in their kitchen without breaking the bank.

Marissa uses her voice and platform to provide more visibility for other young, black LGBTQ+ members of the culinary community. While working with DESTA Black Youth Network, Marissa advocates the importance of community building, accessibility and representation in local neighborhoods. She continues to be a champion for other young Black entrepreneurs in and outside of the food industry.