FORT MITCHELL, Ky — A Northern Kentucky woman finds joy through cooking.

Chef Laura Melcher prepares 300 meals a day totaling 15,000 a week. But her journey didn't start out with cooking meals.

Melcher has cooked meals for Redwood, a nonprofit, special needs facility in Fort Mitchell for the last 6 years.

Melcher said cooking is their family calling. She earned an Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design at Northern Kentucky University but for her food became the connection in her life.

“My family are all pretty much in the cooking business. My brother is a chef. He teaches at Midwest Culinary, and I have a daughter studying to be a chef at Midwest Culinary,” Melcher said.

Melcher said she started at a young age spending hours in the kitchen learning from her mother and now has been cooking for almost 30 years.

“You know when you can provide someone something simple as a meal and they get so excited it's great to see so tugs at your heart,” Melcher said.

This includes training clients in her team, so they too can learn jobs skills and earn. She said food is her gift to those who receive services at Redwood.

“Some of the clients her do not live with family. And they don't get you know a home cooked meal sometimes cause they live in group homes and such. So it kind of brings joy to see that they're getting a balanced meal. I know at least one meal a day they're getting healthy,” Melcher said.

She not only feeds about 300 clients a day, she prepares the menu, cooks and is generally a hands-on manager.