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Cheese board with olives, hummus, nuts, cheeses

Welcome to The Somm Chef!

Let’s Talk Food & Wine

Many of these recipes are inspired by my professional experience working in restaurants and client homes. I have adapted them for practical home use so you feel free to experiment with the ingredients and equipment you have on hand.

I hope that you consider this blog as a part of your cookbook repertoire.

I also hope that you gain confidence in your cooking abilities as you cook through my recipes. 

The best part of my job as a private chef and wine educator is getting people excited about food and wine. So please, explore and get excited! If there’s something you can’t find, just ask!

I can’t wait to hear from you,

Sydney

How I Went From High Heels to Crocks…

How It Started….

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 that I get a “serious” degree). After that, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my “true purpose.” However, I was too afraid to try acting. Instead, I worked as a receptionist for a movie studio and got to stand in for any vacationing or sick assistants 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.

Next Stop – CIA (not that 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, as some put it. I was obsessed with cooking. I would read books like “On Food and Cooking” (very dense)  at my desk during slow days. 

Ultimately, I decided to apply to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). I had never worked in a kitchen a day in my life, but nothing had ever made so much sense to me. Even after my dad made me make a spreadsheet comparing income and debt levels for the next five years between the two career options.

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 understanding wine. I took my first level in the Court of Master Sommeliers and scheduled to take the second when Covid hit. Still planning on taking level two, but in the meantime I’ve been taking classes with WSET (Wine and Sprit Education Trust). 

The Culinary Side of Things

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.

In May of 2020 I was hired as a consultant and executive chef on the opening of a food and wine space inside of a food hall. By September of 2020 that was up and running, I had found a replacement, and left to spend some time in Rosemary to catch up on some sun! Turns out, my husband, Ian and I decided to never leave. 

Starting The Somm Chef

Now I am ready for the next phase. I founded The Somm Chef to curate custom dining 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.

While you can hire me for more fancy meals or that restaurant-style quality, you can find simpler, but still delicious and quality, meals on my blog. I share recipes that I’ve used and learned in a professional setting and adapted for home use. I hope that you consider these recipes and techniques as a growing part of your culinary repertoire.

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