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How It Started

Sarena Stern grew up in Vermont where from a small child she was drawn in by the lure of the kitchen. If you happened to be a poor soul who found yourself at her house, you may have been graced with one of her many kitchen experiments, such as the repairman who was fed a “muffin” that Sarena had whipped up that contained more food coloring than was probably safe for human consumption. He ate it. He was a good sport.

She is sorry. 

Things have gotten much better. Sarena was and is lucky enough to be constantly supported and encouraged by her family to continue experimenting in the kitchen and playing with food.


After graduating from college, Sarena decided to pursue her love of food and headed to NYC to study at The Natural Gourmet Institute. She then attended the Culinary Institute of America in Napa. 

Sarena has worked in kitchens across the country from The Herbfarm, outside of Seattle, to Primo in Rockland, Maine, and eventually back in California at the two-Michelin starred restaurant, Cyrus, in Sonoma.

When Cyrus closed, Sarena worked as a sous chef at multiple wineries in Sonoma County. She partnered with another chef and formed a pop-up restaurant called Harvey and Thistle. They created six-course tasting menus in and around the San Francisco Bay area, partnering with wineries to design and execute menus to be paired with their wines.

How It's Going

One of Sarena’s most memorable and impactful food experiences was traveling to Italy to cook and spend time with a chef in Lucca in 2018 and 2019. There, she learned the ins and outs of gelato as well as the incredibly temperamental and beautiful panettone under her very patient teacher, Chef Mirko Tognetti. Having this new curiosity and knowledge allowed Sarena a great opportunity to practice what she had learned from Mirko during the lockdown in 2020. 


Sarena took the opportunity to experiment, play, and learn all about panettone the first year of lockdown. It was an incredible opportunity where she started to understand the very complicated bread and was able to connect with other professionals doing the same thing. In 2020, Sarena was living in Sonoma County where she worked with a wonderful couple to plan and build a cooking school on a 26-acre farm. Unfortunately, with the global turn of events, there were unforeseen roadblocks with the project, and everyone decided it was best to put it on hold. The school did not end up coming to fruition, but all the hands-on panettone experiments helped direct Sarena to her next endeavor. She ended up moving to Idaho where she is rediscovering her love of shoveling snow. She began working as a private chef and continued baking panettone. She soft-launched her panettone business over the December 2021 Holiday season. Since then she has had the opportunity to learn from some of the leading panettone bakers in the world, work next to others passionate about panettone, and experiment with flavors and recipes.

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