CHEF BRETT STEPHEN
Like many, my passion for food, and love of gardening, started with my grandparents. My grandmothers on both sides would spend hours each day preparing dinner for the family. One of them would even cook regularly for the entire congregation at her church! My father was often the cook at our house, and I would spend evenings learning by watching and helping him.
I worked in restaurants throughout high school and college, but never thought of it as a career. It was just a good way to earn a living while being able to schedule shifts around my classes. While in my last semester studying computer science in college, I realized that I hated it! I just couldn’t sit in front of a screen anymore. I loved food service, and I didn’t want to do anything else, so I dropped out and enrolled in culinary school. Since that day I haven’t looked back.
During and after culinary school in Santa Barbara, I worked at some of the area’s best restaurants, including: Square One, Zen Yai, Epiphany, and the La Cumbre Country Club. When I moved back to the Santa Ynez Valley, I spent time working under some of the best chefs in the valley at The Ballard Inn, Full of Life Flatbread, and Industrial Eats/New West Catering. In 2017, I built my own commercial kitchen and catering company.