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Aspiring authors, sommeliers, and lovers of all things food, get to know our friend Sarah Thomas, one of our favorite ladies in the wine biz. Sarah was born in a small town in Western Pennsylvania, completing her BA at Mary Baldwin College in Virginia. She received her Masters in English Renaissance Literature at the University of Cambridge, moving to Pittsburgh afterwards to do a Post-Bacc for Medicine.
“It’s a long story, but I fell in love with the restaurant industry instead of focusing on OChem,” says Thomas. “I started as a bartender (I guess alchemical metaphors were still fresh in my brain), but was quickly seduced by the world of wine, and found it to be a nexus of all the things I loved.” She reveals that while on an unplanned trip to NYC, she met Aldo Sohm ‘by serendipitous accident’ at Le Bernardin, where he offered her a job. “I took it, and here we are, four years later.”
Thomas doesn’t currently have too much time on her hands. Recently she launched Kalamata’s Kitchen, a brand for children, families, and food connectivity. “We reached full funding on Kickstarter in just 5 days!” she exclaims. Discover more at www.KalamatasKitchen.com, where you can find books, professional chef’s gear for kids, recipes, and restaurant guides.
Get to know Sarah better through his interview, here!
Name/Company/Position: Sarah Thomas / Sommelier at Le Bernardin / Author and Chief Imaginator @KalamatasKitchen
Where are you from: The sticks, Western PA
What was a wine that changed your life?
The wines that “got me in to wine” were Marie Noelle Ledru Extra Brut and Occhipinti SP68 Bianco. That night was the first time I had tasted a Champagne with any character at all — and what a lovely character it had— and a wine with a real story behind it. Hooked.
Burgundy, because I’m spoiled now. But also Northern Rhone, Corsica, and the Loire Valley.
What was your first ever job?
When I was 15, I was a skiing instructor at Hidden Valley resort. Yes, there are skiable hills in Western PA.
Mexican food or Chinese food?
Tough-- but Chinese. I can’t imagine my world without tacos, but to be forever bereft of soup dumplings is just not a future I ever want to picture.
Do you have any pets?
I have no pets, but I do have an unhealthy obsession with other people’s dogs. Currently, my list of dog names (breed specific, of course) is at 35. #1 is a rescue greyhound named Oiseau, AKA, the Wonderful Wizard of Oiz.
Your go-to alcoholic beverage?
Something bitter. Cynar, Sibilla, etc.
What is a dream of yours that you've yet to accomplish?
I’d like to pass my MS. I’d also like to see Kalamata’s Kitchen as a fully realized company, as the brand that children and parents associate with food adventures. My dream is for the company to eventually have a social-outreach arm focusing on food education in public schools. We’re starting that now by partnering with Full Plates Full Potential (https://www.fullplates.org/), and I’d like to be able to scale it up as our business grows.
Would you rather give up listening to music or watching movies?
I could live without a screen. I haven’t had a TV for years, and could do without movie theaters. I could never give up music though— I used to drive my family nuts with different music playing in different parts of the house at all hours. Not much has changed, other than the size of the living space. (Downgrade.)
Where is somewhere that you'd like to live for a year?
In a perfect world, where do you see yourself in ten years?
Who knows how any of these ventures will play out? The one thing that I know for certain is that in 10 years, I will definitely be a dog mom, hopefully many times over.
If you’re “in” on food adventures with tiny humans, Please follow along on IG! @ess_thomas and @kalamataskitchen