Don’t let her love of the New Orleans Saints fool you, Sheana Davis is a true Sonoma local. Born and raised in Sonoma, it’s clear as we walk through the Plaza downtown, stopping to greet fellow locals and point out her favorite restaurants, that this place is home.
“I think it’s important to be an ambassador of our town and it’s up to us to be hospitable,” says Sheana enthusiastically as she sips on a glass of Cartlidge & Browne Pinot Noir. Hospitable she is; from pointing out her favorite bar to sending us home with local gourmet cheeses (yay!), you instantly feel like you’re getting the insider scoop when Sheana is your host.
Starting with a big dream at a young age, Sheana always knew that she wanted to share her love of food, trademarking the name “The Epicurean Connection” while she was still in high school. After graduating from culinary school, Sheana was on her way to New Orleans to work on the line at Commander’s Palace restaurant, heavily influencing her first catering company she opened in 1989.
In 2005, Sheana opened The Epicurean Connection, a cheese shop and café just off the Sonoma Plaza. “I had this romantic idea of opening up a cheese shop, then we started offering lunch, and soon the shop took on a life of it’s own,” says Sheana, of the evolution of the shop over the last 10 years. With a stellar line up of gourmet cheeses, including her very own award-winning Delice de la Vallee and a handpicked list of local wines and craft beers, it’s clear why this became a go-to spot on the square for locals, chefs and visitors alike.
Today, having recently sold The Epicurean Connection, Sheana is focusing her efforts on her catering and culinary education business, partnering with local wineries to create innovative food and wine education experiences. So what advice does an award-winning cheesemaker and chef have for a fromage novice? “Don’t be afraid to taste everything and ask the guy behind the counter at your locally owned grocery store. Those guys are your best allies.”
Sheana’s Top 3 Picks on the Sonoma Square
- Depot Hotel “Hands down this is my go to. It’s where I go when my daughter or friends come to town, or I can go in there by myself and ask the staff to let Chef Tony know that I’m here and I have no eating restrictions!”
- Oso “My husband and I like this place because it’s open midday 3-6PM, which is great for a few light bites and a glass of wine before a late dinner reservation.”
- La Salette “We love just going in and sitting at the bar at La Salette.”