Sarah Steffan, 2006, Executive Chef of The Dogwood at Blackberry Farm
Tell us about your Paul Smith’s experience. What was your favorite part?
I loved the culinary program at PSC. The labs were super interesting, the teachers were fun, and for me, learning from them was the most exciting part of school. The reason that I went to PSC instead of CIA or NECI was the study abroad program in France that was offered. That was my favorite part. The cultural immersion, studying at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and working like a maniac in Burgundy are experiences that I still draw inspiration from and connect with our guests because of those memories. If PSC hadn’t offered that experience, I would have chosen differently.
How has your time at Paul Smith’s shaped the person you are today and how you approach work/life?
I attended school full time and worked full time at The Point Resort. Being that close to a Relais & Chateau resort really helped jump start my career at an early stage. I still work for the organization, and probably will for a very long time. I think the culinary lab structure at PSC was brilliant. I was in class for most of the day, but actually learning while working in a kitchen. It wasn’t just kitchen or cooking theory – it was doing the actual trade I was in school to learn.
Photo credit Heather Ann Thomas of Beall & Thomas Photography