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Barbara “Babs” Pitcher has been with Söntés since January 2012 and has worked as our wine steward and sommelier, helping guests to navigate Tessa’s award-winning wine list. Barbara can help guests find the perfect wine to complement their food, or vice versa: she can help guests choose the food that will complement the wine.

In Barbara’s own words: “Julia Child once put her arm around my shoulders tableand said, ‘Barb babe, there are no failures in cooking; there are only conversation pieces.’ I loved her for that and have tried to cook with all my heart–and have lived through serving many conversation pieces!”

In addition to being the sommelier at Söntés, Barbara operates Pairing to Perfection, offering her tremendous food, wine, beer, and cocktail knowledge and she conducts monthly classes at Söntés on these mouth-watering subjects. south deckFor this Thursday’s class on Deck Entertaining, Barbara has teamed up with our Bar Manager, Darrell, to showcase a trio of wines, a trio of cocktails, and even a trio of beers—all “flight size.”

Class starts at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 20, and costs $35/person. Reserve your place at the table through Barbara’s Facebook page: Pairing to Perfection, or call 952-358-1285, or email Barbara.

~Interview with Sommelier Barbara “Babs” Pitcher~ 

Where were you born? Decatur, Georgia

Childhood memories? Being the oldest of six children, the best memories all centered around food and family because we had a ton of cousins, plus friends and neighbors, so we were always cooking, laughing, and sharing fun times together. Most summer nights also included a game of Kick the Can.

wine grapesAwards? Most recently, I was certified as a sommelier by the International Sommelier Guild and have moved on into their diploma program.

Accomplishments? I played 1st chair cello for the Atlanta Youth Symphony for several years. I also had the opportunity to cook for Dr. Hughes Kennedy and Wendell Riggins in Mountain Brook, Alabama (they did some amazing catering in addition to their “day jobs” as a pediatrician and a CPA) and I got to meet Julia Child, Van Cliburn, Beverly Sills, James Levine, and Arthur Fiedler at events in their home.

wineHow did you get to Rochester? My husband, Kurt Pitcher, was named GM/COO of Somerby Golf Club in April 2011, and I joined him a few weeks later after the wrap-up of Detroit’s A Night for Sight charity wine auction (for which I was the coordinator for many years).

Unusual Experiences? Probably the most unusual was blowing up a gas station in my father’s brand new convertible the night I turned 15. Fortunately, he was with me at the time and no one was hurt, although the filling station and his new car were “a little worse for wear.” And he made me back across a one-lane bridge across the Chattahoochee River the next day in order to get back in the saddle.

Eclecticism? I had a wonderful half wolf/half newfoundland named “La Reine Bear Dog” (“Bear” for short) for 14 years. When Kurt and I were resident managers of the Hotel Lenado in Aspen, Bear was such an adept escape artist, she’d sneak out of the manager’s apartment and sit under the kitchen window howling for bacon scraps. She’d so “trained” (or conned) the staff that the first kitchen training manual even directed employees to give “Bear the resident dog” bacon scraps out the kitchen window but to not let her into the breakfast room.

What else do very few people know about you? Until our daughter was born, I’d only driven convertibles. That changed quickly!

For more information about blogger Jody Brown, see our Who We Are page.


Join Us for Thursdays on 1st Every Thursday on the Street!
June 20: Wine Class with Sommelier Barbara Pitcher 6:30 p.m.
(reserve through Barbara ph. 952.358.1285)

See the Söntés Happenings page for more information
& watch for future Söntés blog posts
Söntés phone 507.292.1628