On the Cakebread Cellars culinary team, Resident Chef Thomas Sixsmith is one of the creative forces behind the winery’s array of programs, including developing recipes and menu to pair with sophisticated wines. His mission is to help guests to understand – on an experiential level – the magic of how Cakebread Cellars wines can heighten the pleasurable experience of melding great wine and food.
Chef Sixsmith’s philosophy is that “a balanced wine is best enjoyed with a balanced dish.” He believes educating people to hone their palates to recognize this harmony of taste will eliminate the intimidation factor in choosing a wine.
Growing up around his mother’s cooking inspired Chef Sixsmith to pursue a career in the culinary arts. In fact, his mother now reminds him that he was always in the kitchen watching her cook. His mother’s good cooking also served as the inspiration that prompted one of his good friends to become a chef. But, it wasn’t until his second-year culinary internship at River Café in Brooklyn, New York under Chef David Burke that he discovered how food can become an art. He learned through Chef Burke’s relentless demand for perfection to set high standards for his own culinary skills and work habits.
Chef Sixsmith doesn’t have a favorite type of food to cook. Instead, he enjoys the creativity of constantly experimenting with new flavors and cuisines. “There are so many cuisines and influences from the world to explore and study. Cooking doesn’t have to be fancy to be enjoyed,” said Chef Sixsmith. “Nothing is as good to me as a well roasted chicken.”
Chef Sixsmith has more than 17 years of experience working in the food service and restaurant industry. Prior to joining the Cakebread Cellars culinary team, he served as a chef at several other wineries in the Napa Valley. He has also worked in the kitchens of some of the nation’s top restaurants, including Tribeca Grill and Montrachet in New York City.
Chef Sixsmith received an associate degree in culinary arts in 1990 from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, VT. Other interests include gardening and the outdoors.