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,
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.
Join The Somm Chef Community
Get Sydney's wine tips, recipes and culinary how-to's straight to your inbox
You have Successfully Subscribed!
A Place For Food & Wine Questions
Sugar and Wine – Residual and Added
Sugar and wine. This whole thing about tons of sugar cubes filling up wineglasses, and advertising "zero added sugar" wines has to stop. This is so...
How Does Climate Affect Wine?
Köppen-Geiger Climate Map In the simplest of terms, think about climate in hot versus cold. You can do this fairly easily by thinking of the world...
Wine Tasting: Why Do You Swirl Wine?
In short we swirl wine because swirling helps release aromatics in young and older wines. However, it's important that you don't swirl too much! The...
Is Wine Vegan?
Is wine vegan? Is it not? I think it depends on the vegan. Here's the deal. Clarifying wine happens a few different ways. Some of these processes...
Why Wine Contains Sulfites
Why do wines have added sulfites? What do Sulfites do, anyways? SO2, Sulfur Dioxide is a naturally occurring part of the winemaking process. It is a...
Latest Blog Posts
How To Curate A Cellar
Think of curating a wine cellar like curating your wardrobe. When it comes to having a well-curated collection, both wine cellars and closets share some common elements. First and foremost - every single wine cellar should be unique to the person who owns it. As...
Baking Soda versus Baking Powder
Baking soda versus baking powder: what's the difference? Baking is a science and having the right ingredients can make a big difference in your finished product. If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between the two, you’re not alone! Many people don’t know...
Wine Tasting Basics
Wine Tasting Basics: What to Look For In Every Glass If you’re interested in learning more about the world of wine, it helps to understand the basics of wine tasting. It’s important to learn how to recognize the different characteristics of a wine, not just for...
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins have been on my mind for a while now. I finally had a few overripe bananas (see below on how overripe) so I could experiment with some recipes! It's been so rainy the past few weeks that I've been able to catch up on a few different...
Holiday Wine Pairings
Make your taste buds jingle all the way with these holiday wine pairings. It's the most wonderful time of the year! Which means it's also time to start thinking about what you're going to serve for Christmas dinner. Turkey? Check. Mashed potatoes? Check. Green bean...
7/8/22 Weekly Wine Picks
On the list for 7/8/22 weekly wine picks is a Champagne that pairs with nearly anything on your table, a Rosso from a powerhouse Brunnello producer, and a white that’s the #1 value pick of 2021 wine pick from James Suckling.
7/1/22 Weekly Wine Picks
7/1/22 Wine Access Weekly picks this Week: A Rosé Champagne that will blow your mind not your budget, from a winery that Dom Perignon and Krug get grapes from. A red from Bandol that's a darling of Michelin restaurants that just might become your new Cabernet...
Keller’s Buttermilk Biscuits
Why Keller's Buttermilk Biscuits? This recipe is based on Thomas Keller's recipe from his incredible cookbook Ad Hoc at Home. When I was working as a consultant/Executive Chef starting up a restaurant, I put Keller's Sandwich on the menu, which was a monster fried...