As a chef, wine consultant and writer, Sarah Scott draws upon her decades of experience with the world’s most renowned food people to create food and wine experiences. Through her food consulting business, Scott also teaches and develops recipes.
• Earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism; School for American Chefs at Beringer Winery with Madeleine Kamman
• Owned Sarah Scott Catering in Napa Valley, executive chef at Robert Mondavi Winery and for the Great Chefs at Robert Mondavi Cooking Program
• Mentored by Robert and Margrit Biever Mondavi, Alice Waters, Jacques Pépin, Julia Child and Madeleine Kamman
• Co-author with Connie Green of “The Wild Table: Seasonal Foraged Food and Recipes” (Studio, 2010)
• Fitness routine involves swimming, walking and meditation.
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From the Gospel Came Food
Sarah Scott felt that first tug toward cooking at the Druid Hills Presbyterian Church where her father was the minister in the early ’60s.
From the basement kitchen, the cooks turned out Sunday lunches and Wednesday family night suppers every week for the large Atlanta congregation. All the food was made from scratch.
Scott would slip down the back stairs to the kitchen when the church service started. With her father in the pulpit and her mother in the choir loft, she easily snuck away.
As soon as she pushed through the swinging door, she was in heaven. The scent of clove-studded hams, turnip greens with sweet onions and slabs of pork fat and golden brown macaroni and cheese casseroles enticed her like nothing else in her young world.
The cooks had come to expect her, and before she knew it, Scott had an apron tied around her waist. She always made a beeline to Bobbie Lee Jackson, one of the main cooks. Jackson also cooked for Scott’s family a few times a week. She was accustomed to seeing Scott in the home kitchen, asking one cooking question after another.
With Scott’s help, Jackson made the biscuits for the Sunday lunches. Standing beside her on a short stool, she watched Jackson mix the dough, her hands moving quickly, working the cold butter into the flour with her fingers and stirring in some buttermilk. Chunks of butter stuck up from the shaggy dough as Jackson deftly rolled it into a thick rectangle. Then she’d hand Scott the biscuit cutter.
“One motion, Sarah Ann. Straight down like I showed you. Don’t twist the cutter. And be quick!”
As soon as Scott cut a biscuit, Jackson whisked it onto the baking sheet, forming neat rows nestled against each other. A brush of melted butter on top and off they went into the hot oven.
Scott didn’t mind that her face, hair and clothes were dusted with flour. She knew Jackson would give her one of those biscuits right out of the oven. And she couldn’t imagine a better reward than a hot biscuit split open with a fat pat of butter melting between those light-as-air layers.
On a recent trip to Atlanta, Scott visited the kitchen of her childhood. In her memory it was spacious and well lit, with pale green walls and shiny stainless steel surfaces. She was surprised to see its actual small size. The stainless steel tables and equipment were dull and well worn, the walls faded. Gone were the cooks in white aprons shelling black-eyed peas, peeling sweet potatoes, dicing celery and onions. It was empty and dark.
But the familiar feeling of her secret sanctuary where she first recognized her calling and her people was still there. And for a moment, she could hear the cooks who had taught her about the pleasure and hard work of feeding others.
Sarah Scott is also part of Simple Feast, an app the hosts an amazing community of Chefs and their delicious recipes. To view more recipes by Sarah and other incredible Chefs go to Simple Feast.
Vivid and warm, from the colors and smells to the spices and food
Fat, sweet scallops with fresh meyer lemon