bio

the snapshot

I am a chef and Certified Sommelier with a love for almost all things food and drink. I was classically trained in culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu and continued on to study culinary nutrition at Johnson & Wales University, which deeply broadened my knowledge of nutrition therapy. I've scraped up all sorts of trades and somehow turned them into a career - from marketing executive and brand manager to graphic designer, recipe and cookbook developer, author,  food and wine writer, chef consultant, owner/operator of a full-service catering and event company in Malibu, and private chef to celebrities in the Los Angeles area. Currently, I split my time between Los Angeles and California's beautiful Central Coast wine region, where I am the director of a multi-brand winery and vineyard as well as the editor-in-chief of a food magazine.

the other stuff

I like to treat food simply, but I'm very open-minded about new preparations and ingredients. I also try to avoid trends and just stick to what's good, not what's right now. I'm definitely a plant-based eater, having been vegan, then vegetarian, then vegan again, then full-blown meat, eyeball, and brain eater, and back to vegetarian. Although I still enjoy seafood from time to time - when my body seems to crave it - my diet is almost entirely plant-based, with an emphasis on local, seasonal, and organic produce. My excitement in the kitchen comes from the "nose to tail" concept applied to a plant-based diet - meaning, not wasting a thing. Why throw away the carrot tops if you can make a chimichurri out of them?

I also focus on pairing wines and beverages with vegetable-based dishes, mainly because I feel that many wine professionals and sommeliers fail to consider this category - or, they just don't take it as seriously as pairing an expensive Cab with a steak. 

While living in Colorado and New England, I was inspired to expand my knowledge of the industry and this ultimately led to the study of wine and its inherent relationship with food and culture. Since then, I have achieved the titles of Certified Sommelier and Certified Specialist of Wine, and will attempt higher certifications in the near future - life keeps getting in the way of this goal.

Maybe I'm also a professional nomad, but because I can never manage to stay put, I continue to travel as much as I possibly can, visiting wine regions, immersing myself in new cuisines, developing new recipes and ideas, and learning hands-on from farmers, winemakers, and artisans. There are millions of people who are growing or producing food and wine in different ways - everyone has something to teach and we all have something to learn. This sentiment, paired with an endless curiosity, is what drives me to continue to travel and find inspiration in an industry that has lost and saturated itself. I'm also just one of those people who needs to know everything. 

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If you'd like to reach out or say hello, please email eatplants@shaunaburke.com.

 
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