fbpx
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.

A Place For Food & Wine Questions

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...

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...

Latest Blog Posts

Holiday Wine Pairings

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

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 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

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...

Frosé

Frosé

Frosé. What could be a better signal of summer than that? It's refreshing, easy to drink (maybe a bit too easy?), and just straight delicious. Have you ever tried to make your own frosé? It's so easy! And if you're looking for a beverage to bring to a Memorial Day...

Strawberry Sorbet

Strawberry Sorbet

It's almost Memorial Day Weekend! Strawberry sorbet made from fresh strawberries is one of my favorite dessert components of all time. I love using this strawberry sorbet recipe for client dinners. The sweet and refreshing sorbet pairs so well with so many different...

Classic Tiramisu with Marsala and Mascarpone

Classic Tiramisu with Marsala and Mascarpone

I love tiramisu in all forms, but the classic combination of ladyfingers, chocolate, coffee, and custard is my favorite. This recipe deviates from the original by adding masala to the custard, and by soaking the ladyfingers in espresso and marsala rather than just...

Homemade Ladyfingers or Sponge Cake

Homemade Ladyfingers or Sponge Cake

Homemade ladyfingers are quite easy to make. To make things even easier, I take this recipe and spread it out onto a prepared 1/2 sheet tray. This way you don't need a piping bag or tip. You can cut squares using a knife, or cut with biscuit cutters to fit whatever...

Check Out My Tasting & Buying Guide:

Wine Label Shopping