Chef Tom Schmidt Chef Tom Schmidt brings a wealth of knowledge and creativity to Sonoma County’s wine country. Although Tom is an expert in formal culinary methods, his skill is not driven by technique alone. Rather, it involves an intuitive understanding of complementary flavors, textures and colors combined with the knowledge of using seasonal foods at their freshest. The location of John Ash & Co., in the heart of Sonoma County, is one of the greatest gifts any chef could desire. Tom’s fascination with food, flavors and cooking extends as far back as his early childhood when he used to help his mother in the kitchen preparing the meal for a family of eight. Tom attended Contra Costa College, studying culinary arts under the instruction of Chef Kenneth Wolff and working as a sous chef for three years, honing his skills in all aspects of kitchen operations and prep work. As an executive chef in Woodside, California and later as owner of a catering company, he learned that working with the freshest ingredients and letting their flavors speak for themselves is the most important aspect of cooking. Tom’s passion for fine cuisine took him to Europe, where he opened the highly-regarded restaurant, Topaz, in Bremen, Germany, famous for its small plates of German, French, and Italian cuisines. Years of experience and endeavors have led him to our team here in Sonoma County.