Tracey Shepos Cenami
Tracey Shepos Cenami grew up in a family that was always cooking. Her Italian Nana and mother put considerable thought into everyday meals, treating each as a special occasion. She held her first job as a dishwasher at a summer camp and was immediately hooked on the camaraderie, artistic expression, and satisfaction of the kitchen. She knew she had found her calling. Throughout high school, she continued to pursue jobs in the culinary industry before attending the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.
After years in the culinary world, Tracey was drawn to the wine industry, which she found to be a natural transition. She loved the prospect of living in wine country and having the opportunity to create food to pair with specific wines. Before joining the La Crema team, she worked for eight years as the executive chef for Stark Reality restaurants, a Sonoma County restaurant group. During her tenure there, she helped to open five different restaurants and create a catering department. She also worked under Chef Michael Romano at Union Square Café for two years.
Tracey played a pivotal role in developing the culinary program at La Crema Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard, including introducing a VIP wine and cheese pairing experience – a lesson in the fundamentals of wine and cheese pairing which expertly pairs local artisan cheeses with La Crema wines. When she’s not at La Crema she regularly competes on the Food Network against some of the country’s top chefs, including Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Christa Lutdke.
When Tracey is not creating perfect pairings, she enjoys spending time outside with her husband and son barbecuing in the backyard or eating oysters on the Sonoma Coast. She is a founding board member of the Sonoma County chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international organization dedicated to inspiring, advancing, and supporting women in food, beverage, and hospitality.
Her personal favorite pairing is La Crema Pinot Noir with bacon, almonds and Valley Ford Estero Gold cheese.