Heather Mendenhall was raised in Libertyville, Illinois and went to Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois to study French in 1987. It wasn’t long before she discovered French and food went together, so after graduation she enrolled in Kendall College in Evanston, Illinois to study the Culinary Arts. During that period, she apprenticed under Great Chef Roland Liccioni at Carlos’ Restaurant in Highland Park, Illinois.
After graduation in 1992, she went to Atlanta to work at the Peachtree Club as pastry cook, and then to II Pailo Restorante in Chapel Hill, North Carolina as pastry and garde manger. At the end of 1992, she returned to Atlanta to work under Great Chef Jean Banchet whom she had met in Chicago, to be his assistant pastry chef at his new restaurant, Ciboulette.
In November 1994, that restaurant closed and she returned to North Carolina to be the pastry chef at The Fearrington House under Great Chef Cory Mattson. It was there in 1996 that the Great Chefs Television team showed up to tape her for the Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs of the South television series.
In 1998 she left The Fearrington House to be pastry chef for a year at Brightleaf, before opening her own French Bistro, Momo. Four years later she was offered a position as pastry chef at The Carolina Inn from 2004 to 2006. By that time, in 2007, she had decided to start her own candy wholesale business which took her into a new direction of research and food science. In 2009 she returned to school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison as a research assistant for the next three years, then as a food scientist for Knechtel Inc. in Skokie, Illinois and senior food scientist for Swallow Solutions back in Madison, Wisconsin. In 2015 she was hired as product development specialist for the Georgia Nut Company in Skokie Illinois, where she remains today.