Executive Chef Tom Schmidt's fascination with food, flavors and cooking extends as far back in time as his early childhood when he used
to help his mother in the kitchen with preparing the meal for a family of eight.
After graduation from high school in Richmond, California, Tom enrolled at Contra Costa College, studying culinary arts under the tutelage of
Chef Kenneth Wolff. He completed his studies there in 1980, after which Tom worked as a sous chef for three years honing his skills in all
aspects of kitchen operations and prep work. As an executive chef in Woodside, California and later as owner of a catering company, Tom
learned that working with the freshest ingredients and letting their flavors speak for themselves is the most important aspect of cooking.
Tom's passion for fine cuisine led him to Europe in the late 1980s, where he opened his own highly-regarded restaurant, Topaz, in Bremen,
Germany, famous for its small plates of German, French, and Italian cuisines.
Appointed the new executive chef at John Ash & Co. in July of 2008, Tom brings a wealth of knowledge and creativity to Sonoma County's wine country.
"I am thrilled and excited that Don and Rhonda Carano have given me this opportunity to draw on my experience in multi-cultural cuisine,
in a perfect environment of abundance in the garden setting of Sonoma County," said Schmidt. "Cooking without borders for the exquisite
pleasure of soul-satisfying food... that's what I hope to do."
Although Tom is an expert in formal culinary methods, his skill is not driven by technique alone. Rather, it involves an intuitive understanding
of complementary flavors, textures and colors as well as knowledge of seasonal foods at their freshest. The location of John Ash & Co., in the
heart of Sonoma County, is one of the greatest accidental gifts any chef could desire.