High Heels to Crocs… Starting The Somm Chef

Before The Somm Chef

Before starting The Somm Chef in 2020, life looked a lot different. So let’s go back to the beginning. Born and raised in Minnesota, I’ve always had an itch for travel and adventure. Growing up, I thought I was going to become a famous actress and have an Oscar by the time I was 25. So naturally, Hollywood was where I always wanted to go.

I went to college in Dallas and graduated with a double major in film and advertising (my parents insisted on getting a “proper” degree). After that, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my “true purpose.” However, I was too afraid to try acting. Following that I worked as a receptionist for a movie studio and worked as an assistant in nearly every department there. Then I switched jobs to work for a small digital marketing company marketing horror films.  

I should tell you, I’m a Pollyanna and “Hallmark Channel” kind of girl. So how exactly did I end up there? Well — I guess you could say false advertising. After I had fulfilled my 6-month freelancing contract, I knew I needed a change. 

The Next Big Change – CIA

Culinary school kept coming back into my mind. I had taken a croissant making class at a Sur La Table in LA one weekend and something clicked. A bug had bitten me and it bit hard. I was obsessed with cooking. It was a great stress reliever and I saw how happy it could make people. 

So I decided to apply for the Culinary Institute of America. I had never worked in a kitchen a day in my life, but nothing had ever made so much sense to me. My parents had a good friend who was a chef and heard about what I was doing. He offered to mentor me for two weeks in his kitchen before I started culinary school in New York. Those two weeks meant so much to me that I ended up working for him for 2 years after I graduated culinary school. 

Falling In Love With Wine

During the last semester of culinary school, I took the required wine class.  It changed my life. That class, and the professor, opened a whole world that I had never appreciated. I had always enjoyed wine, but this went beyond that to really understand it. 

After graduating, I worked as a tournant (a cook that studies all areas of the kitchen including pastry, banquet-style food, special VIP meals, butchery, the hot-line, and others). By May of 2019, I was promoted to be a Sous Chef. It’s been a great experience to learn how to create menus, manage people, and improve customer service.  

Starting The Somm Chef

Now I am ready for the next phase. I founded The Somm Chef to curate custom food and wine experiences and wine tastings that take place in a client’s home to generate memorable events with friends and family alike. My goal is that these experiences will bring people together in a way that helps them to live in the moment. 

On the blog, I also share recipes that I’ve used and learned in a professional setting and adapted them for home use. I hope that you consider these recipes and techniques as a growing part of your culinary repertoire.