At a young age Danvers resident Melissa Gale watched her mother and grandmother in the kitchen, baking cakes, pies, and cookies for family and friends. Her mother, Rita, did not rely on measuring cups and spoons but rather her own intuition as to the amount of ingredients she would use to render the perfect cookie. “With Rita, you had to watch very closely because it wasn’t a recipe—it was a little of this and a little of that,” says Gale. “The measurement was a nod of the head or a few taps of the foot—she never overmixed or overbaked.”
“I knew by 15, when I was selling Grandma Rome’s chocolate fudge cake to my parents’ friends, that baking was my passion,” notes Gale. After receiving a degree from Boston University for food service, she went on to work at the West Street Grill and the Locke-Ober Cafe? preparing desserts. “I found myself delivering cheesecakes to 75 Chestnut and apple pies to Joe’s American Bar & Grill,” she says. She also opened her own retail bakery at the old Filene’s in Downtown Crossing and sold homemade baked goods for several years.
Eventually, Gale sold the bakery and went into a management role, though she soon realized how much she missed baking. Sitting around the kitchen table with her husband one night she mentioned a cookie truck she had seen in Chicago called “Sweet Ride,” and knew she wanted to get into the baking business again.
“I often drove around the North Shore wondering where I could stop and indulge in the perfect cookie. It had to be fresh and from scratch. But friends and family told me my cookies could not be beat,” she says. So she and her husband bought a food truck in 2012 and named it “The Cookie Monstah.”
Gale prepares the cookie dough in a small bakery in Danvers and bakes the cookies in a propane-powered oven in the truck so the cookies are always warm and fresh for her customers. She makes be- tween 2,000 to 3,000 cookies a day—all from scratch. “I even still crack my own eggs,” she notes. She also uses the finest chocolate chunks, coconut, caramel, and creamy butter. Her all-time favorite and bestseller is the chocolate chunk cookie, but her salted caramel cookies are a close second with customers. Gale hopes to open a retail location on the North Shore soon, but for now you can buy her cookies at Atomic Cafe? in Beverly and Prime Roast Beef in Danvers…and, of course, from her well-loved cookie truck! thecookiemonstah.com