I was born into this world with a heart brimming with love for nature. There was no differentiating between the wild outside forests of South Lake Tahoe where I was raised and the cozy warmth inside of our little mountain cabin- they both felt like home. Growing-up so closely to the outside world developed my deep reverence for nature, which guides my cooking, creativity, and hunger to grow. The world captured my imagination and curiosity to explore and has lead me to live in Europe, the French Caribbean, Washington State, Atlanta, and finally settling in Napa. An ever-curious student of how humanity shapes our world, I hold a B.A in Geography and Anthropology from Western Washington University, am a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, and, with over 10 years in the hospitality industry, have worked in many Michelin and James Beard awarded kitchens. Living among different people and environments has greatly impacted my view of the world and inspired my palate with their diverse and ancient flavors.
During my travels, I spent time with home and professional chefs in their kitchens, learning techniques and recipes that had been handed down by their mentors and grandmothers. This hallowed tradition is the inspiration for my style of cooking. I strive to honor the most cherished traditional techniques of preparing food and developing flavors that have been passed through the hands of so many cooks since the beginning of our shared history around the culinary flame.
Just as bread wants butter, I too yearned for a partner to my culinary study and encountered it in a glass of wine. A 1997 Insignia roused my recognition that a truly great wine is a collective effort of craftsmanship. A dance between knowledge and skill that creates a living product whose life evolves and blossoms far beyond the tending touch of its makers. The realization that there are people in the world who dedicate relentless attention and collaboration to create something for the sheer beauty and pleasure of it was incredibly humbling and awakened my aspiration to join them through my own devotion to cooking and wine.
I created Mortar Pestle Cooking to bring the work of local food producers and artists together to create intangible beauty and pleasure at your dinner table. I work with your daydreams (and my own) to create menus and tablescapes that capture your imagination as a tableau in which you and your guests play the principle subject.