We were thrilled when Chef Lauren Kershner agreed to help us celebrate our 100th podcast. Chef Lauren, founder and culinary director of Goodness Gracious Private Chef & Catering in Sonoma, had been searching for the right facilities for some time to serve her team’s expanded catering needs. Additionally, she’d been wanting to offer her own venue for private events and parties.
These dual goals neatly intertwined and became available in one space within Glen Ellen’s Jack London Village. Built in 1839 (with the sawmill General Vallejo constructed at the confluence of the Asbury and Sonoma Creeks to process locally harvested redwoods), the property was converted into a gristmill nearly two decades later, then a winery and distillery. It was replaced in the 1940’s with the current building. Here, Lauren could envision a home for her growing team of chefs and catering managers, as well as building out the space as a private events venue. Songbird Parlour was born!
In their new space (that just opened) guests can experience a glimpse into a bygone era, when the social elite would gather in salons to tell stories and discuss art and culture. Designed to evoke your senses with modern and global food, art and music, and inspiration from around the world, this modern Victorian event parlour and dining experience has been reimagined for the twenty-first century.
But we’re getting ahead of our story! What were some of the hosts’ favorite shows in the past 100 podcasts? Hint: you’ll have to tune in to hear what made the biggest impressions on them. What were common threads they heard from multiple guests over the last three years? Endless curiosity was a recurrent theme, according to co-host Misty Roudebush Cain. And there were several other memories recounted about past guests…
To celebrate the occasion, the hosts popped the cork on a bottle of Perrier Jouet Blason Rosé Champagne, a sparkling wine that came highly recommended by guest and sommelier Simone F.M. Spinner. Chef Lauren, who was trained in classical French technique at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy in Portland, Oregon, prepared two delightful bites that paired perfectly with the bubbly wine. One featured a cheese slice topped with nuts, fruit and a sweet topping. The other was a slightly sweet but oh-so-light dessert olive oil cake.
While tasting away, enjoying the plush, deep velvet chairs and divan in a corner of the parlour, Lauren filled us in on her background. Originally from Mendocino, she became hooked on travel while studying at the culinary academy. She incorporates dishes she’s enjoyed during her travels into her repertoire and is the go-to chef for true, internationally-inspired Wine Country cuisine. She specializes in Mediterranean and French fare and is currently fascinated with Middle Eastern cuisine. Her Persian mezah, kookoo, and dill salmon dinner are a must-try!
Songbird Parlour began as a dream during the pandemic when the restaurant and food industry had been brought to their knees. Yet, Lauren’s catering business acumen helped the company thrive during the downturn in traditional dining.
As we wound up part one of our show with her, she divulged some of her secrets: She felt the need was there for alternative venues. Winemakers and wineries without tasting rooms could rent her space for winemaker dinners and release parties. Visitors to wine country who may be celebrating milestone events, such as birthdays and anniversaries, can hold intimate dinner parties where they can indulge and enjoy life to its fullest. Let food and wine be the center of memories and let conversation guide the night. And tune in to part two next week!
To join the celebration, or learn more about Songbird Parlour, playback the 100th show (with a celebratory glass in hand).
Show date: December 3, 2021
Photo credits: Lisa Adams Walter & Misty Roudebush Cain