On July 1st this year, I fulfilled a 3 year long dream of moving to the beautiful town of Sonoma. Prior to this, if you’d have told me I’d be living in the country, I would have laughed. Hard. But becoming a personal chef in Sonoma is something I’d never thought would happen.
I grew up on a farm. My first job was at a Farmer’s Market when I was 10 years old.
But I moved to the biggest city in Canada at 17. I loved the city with every inch of my soul.
Montreal, Toronto, New York, San Francisco. Then I lived in Fresno for 3 years, knowing this was a temporary compromise before we could move to our next destination.
Little did I know it would be wine country, on a beautiful farm with a community garden, where goats, chickens, and dogs all co-exist on a beautiful ranch overlooking a Pinot vineyard.
You can say the cosmopolitan city girl I thought was in my bones has changed. That people can grow to want different things in their lives, and that this is okay.
I still love the hustle of the city. But the traffic, the cost of life, the busy-ness. It was a lot, and my body got ill as a result of the stress.
The Sonoma lifestyle is different. It’s slower, time passes differently.
Farm to table is a value, a way of life.
Here’s what I’ve been up to since moving to Sonoma.
I learned to milk goats and make cheese from fresh raw goat milk. Goat cheese and feta, to be exact.
Fresh goat milk isn’t goat-y. It’s more like cow’s milk, but as it ages it begins to get that strong goat flavor you’d associate it with.
I learned to tend to chickens – feeding them, putting them to bed so they don’t get eaten by predators, and collecting their eggs.
Have you ever had a fresh egg, that’s still warm?
I’ve also been touring farms, and making friends with butchers and ranches.
And of course, tasting awesome wine – mostly, right now, from the comfort of my backyard, which overlooks a Pinot vineyard and which I happily spend most of my time.
While Chef Collen continues to cook for clients in San Francisco, and I occasionally visit new and old clients for events and classes, being a personal chef in Sonoma is a dream.
It’s where a plate of food can truly be farm to table, whether it comes from our community garden, a neighboring farm or ranch.
It’s where that beautiful plate of food can be paired with wine grown just a few miles from where your food was grown.
It’s the definition of terroir.
Of reconnecting with your food, truly from the field to the plate.
It’s a beautiful process.
One that makes me grateful to be a chef.
Because being a personal chef in Sonoma? It’s a meant to be.
I look forward to cooking for you. With the freshest vegetables, meat from local ranches, olive oil from local olive groves, and perhaps even some of my homemade goat cheese. To find out more about our services, click here.