Steve Sommers, a unique culinarian with extensive restaurant and catering experience mixed with an academic passion for English, history and philosophy, is the new executive chef and lead instructor at Fischer & Wieser’s Culinary Adventure Cooking School.
Located within historic Das Peach Haus in the German-founded town of Fredericksburg, the school will celebrate its second birthday this fall. It offers classes in the area’s iconic German cuisine, as well as in Italian, French, Spanish, Greek and New Orleans cooking. Custom classes are also created for groups.
“Steve’s resume is remarkable, as are his engaging personality and commitment to sharing the joys of cooking, eating and appreciating wine,” says Fischer & Wieser President/CEO Case D. Fischer. “We are so pleased to welcome him to the Fischer & Wieser team, and to have him assist us in our mission of Inspiring Your Culinary Adventure!”
Sommers will join John DeMers, who helped Fischer & Wieser launch the cooking school, in expanding its offerings in the face of increasing demand and the growth of tourism in Fredericksburg.
Considering the chef’s fascination with food-wine pairings, it should come as no surprise he excelled as chef for several wineries in the Texas Hill Country, now the nation’s second busiest wine tourism destination after Napa Valley. He has served as executive chef at Hilmy Cellars as well as at Stouts Trattoria at Grape Creek Vineyards and at Barons Creek Vineyards, with a focus on showcasing the house’s wines with perfect, not always expected, foods.
Before helping local wineries upgrade their food programs, Sommers did much the same in Fredericksburg for Hill Country Memorial Hospital. In addition to overseeing all foodservice at the medical facility, he gained notice with gourmet catering for doctors, executives and guests who included senators and congressmen. Sommers came to live in Fredericksburg in 2010, when his wife Helena McFarland accepted an ICU nursing position.
Sommers holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English, history and philosophy from Kent States and Hiram College, both in his native Ohio. His cooking incorporates restaurants, inns and catering companies there, as well as in the Northeast. Among his related commitments are local and seasonal produce sold in farmers markets and increasing the availability of affordable housing, particularly for employees of the food and wine service industries.
Sommers identifies his philosophy as: “One man with a passion can do more than a hundred men with an interest.”