Who We Are

Do you know where your food came from today? We do!

Söntés is a locally owned, locally grown restaurant in Rochester, Minnesota. We have seasonally spontaneous food and an extensive array of wines and beers for the tasting. Our dedicated culinary staff creates unique and innovative dishes using green and sustainable methods. We support local farmers and artisans, ensuring that we serve the freshest produce, meats and cheeses possible.

About the blog

Here is where you’ll find information on what we’ve been up to lately. You’ll find food tips and explanations, wine musings, event summaries, conversations with featured artists and musicians, explorations of local farms and some of our vendors, and much more!

Please feel free to join in the conversation by posting your own observations or questions in the “comments” section of the blog. We’d love to hear from you!

Have a question? Call us at 507-292-1628, or visit our main website’s contact page here to email us or to make a reservation.

About the people

Tessa Leung
Tessa is the founder, proprietor, manager, and certified sommelier for Söntés. She’s Minnesota-born (hailing from Stewartville), but her love of food and wine has taken her all over the world. She brings her globetrotting adventures back home in the way she creatively pairs food, wine, and cheese, adding an international flair to Söntés’ locally sourced ingredients. Her favorite thing about working in the restaurant business is that no two days are ever the same, always giving her the chance to meet new people and learn about food, wine, and culture through another person’s eyes.

Alex Sjoberg
Head Chef Alex Sjoberg attended the International Culinary School at the Art Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, where he also worked as the breakfast chef at the Apache Wells Country Club in Mesa, and he staged at the Culinary Dropout restaurant in Phoenix.

In 2010, he worked at Söntés under Chef Justin Schoville and also under Chef Bryce Lamb. In 2011, he traveled to Boston to work for a year at the Red Lantern. He then moved to Minneapolis where he worked for the Dakota Jazz Club before helping to open and becoming the Sous Chef for Harriet Brasserie in Lyndon Hills. In 2013, he returned to Rochester and became the Sous Chef at Söntés under Chef Trevor Garrett, and the Head Chef in 2014.

Originally from Rochester, Chef Alex had been a dough maker at Pizza Man, a cook at the Rochester Golf & Country Club for four years, and he even worked in a lab at the Mayo Clinic, all before attending culinary school.

Alex has been cooking since he was 14 years old. “Cooking is where my passion is. I’m happy to be doing what I love.”

Barbara Pitcher
Sommelier Barbara Pitcher comes to Rochester via Georgia, Alabama, Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, Texas, and Michigan. Atlanta is her hometown. Barbara’s first career was travel. She worked for Eastern Airlines, then opened and managed several travel agencies before opening her own to specialize in adventure film crew travel and independent trips. Traveling extensively over the years opened a world of wonderful cuisines to delight her palate. Her second career was non-profit consulting, primarily in event planning, including 11+ years planning the Alliance for Vision Research’s A Night for Sight charity wine auction and scribing their catalog. This work led her to establish Pairing to Perfection and write wine tasting and pairing notes for clients. Barbara became the Söntés Wine Steward in January 2012, and she earned the right to be called our Sommelier that same year. Barbara continues to impress guests with her extensive wine knowledge, and she’s won our hearts with her welcoming and easy style.

Jody Brown
Jody Brown is a published author, avid blogger, fiction writer, and server at Söntés. She’s written and waited tables in five states, and has built her life around the things she loves: restaurants, family, meeting people from near and far, and traveling. Originally from Pittsburgh, she published her first novel in 2012, and launched it from our Söntés Gallery. The novel, Upside Down Kingdom, an inside perspective on waiting tables in Washington, D.C., can be found for sale at Söntés, at Barnes & Noble at Apache Mall, and on Amazon. Jody’s own personal blog, the “blog of a well-traveled waitress,” can be found at JodyBrown.com. In the spring of 2013, Jody was named the official writer for the Söntés blog.


81 thoughts on “Who We Are”

  1. Pingback: High Time | Sontes

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