Tracey Shepos was possibly the only one in her third-grade class to have eaten – and enjoyed – foie gras and frog’s legs. By age 10, she already knew which kind of caviar she preferred. Shepos credits her mom and her Italian grandmother, who introduced her to uncommon culinary experiences at an early age. From the time she could walk, Shepos was a fixture in the family kitchen in southern California, stirring sauces and braiding dough for strouvoli cookies at the holidays. Her penchant for expressing herself through cooking often resulted in generous food deliveries of cream cheese chocolate brownies and other delicacies to the local charities.
After graduating from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Shepos worked her way up to lead line cook at Faultline Brewing Company in Sunnyvale, California. Heading to New York, she became lead line cook and helped open Helena’s. She moved on to Union Square Café, working under Chef Michael Romano as a tournant for two years. Returning to San Francisco, she served as lead line cook at 2223, then became opening consulting chef at Fly Bar and Restaurant. She ran her own catering business, Tracey Home Chef, followed by sous chef positions at Lulu Catering and Harvest Grill.
In 2002, Shepos participated in opening Willi’s Wine Bar in Santa Rosa as sous chef and was soon after promoted to chef de cuisine. Over the next six years Tracey assisted in the opening of three more restaurants for Stark Reality as the Executive Chef de Cuisine of the company, as well as the furthered expansion of Stark Reality Catering. In late 2009, she resigned from the company she considers her extended family to pursue chef consulting opportunities, as well as to become a certified Artisan Cheesemaker.
Tracey strives to combine local ingredients that are both new and unusual with classic cooking techniques to create updated comfort foods. Her specialties are Mediterranean, particularly Italian and Spanish, and she enjoys working with cheese. She is committed to supporting local Sonoma County farms and dairies. Currently, Tracey is in charge of the Wine & Cheese pairing program at Jackson Family Wines.