My Culinary Voice: Ashley Merriman

Caitlin Gunther


For Chef Ashley Merriman, her culinary career began at the dish pit. Before competing on Top Chef and graduating from ICE’s Culinary Arts program, she worked as a dishwasher after school. One afternoon, the restaurant’s chef was making a batch of tuna salad and asked Ashley to season it with white pepper instead of black. Having never experimented with seasoning before, Ashley really tasted the difference — a brief moment in tasting that had “a big influence on” Ashley. Since that day, her goal was to cook professionally. Today, the co-chef of NYC’s acclaimed restaurant Prune couldn’t imagine her life going any other way. 

Watch the video to hear Ashley dish on her unique culinary voice.