Gourmet Walks, LLC
Our founder, Andrea Nadel, has been drawn to food from a young age. She grew up in Maine, planning elaborate dinners as her mother followed her around the kitchen doing the dishes. At Williams College she wrote restaurant reviews, taught a cooking class and studied wine tasting. But like many a foodie, it was her time abroad in southern France that opened her eyes to the pleasures of fine food and of course, gourmet chocolate.
After college, Andrea worked for many years in marketing and advertising in New York City. She moved to San Francisco with her husband in 2000, where she pursued a Masters degree at Berkeley while exploring San Francisco's diverse food scene. She always dreamed of running her own business connected to food, and after moving to Mill Valley in 2005, that dream became a reality as Gourmet Walks was born.
Today Andrea is a very busy mother of three young children, but she always has time for chocolate. She regularly serves as a judge or panelist for Taste TV Chocolate events, including the popular San Francisco Chocolate Salon. She writes about chocolate on her blog and has presented on chocolate at Macy's Cellar and various local hotels. Andrea is a licensed tour guide in San Francisco.
Meet Nicole (Tour Guide)
Nicole has always chosen to center her life around food, from a 15 year career at Haagen-Dazs to her work as a food stylist for Food Network shows and commercials. Nicole began baking at age 8 and enjoys catering desserts for friends and family. You may find some of her brownie and cookie recipes at cafes around town. She is considered the go-to person in her circle of friends for where and what to eat in San Francisco. Nicole’s current favorite chocolate is Poco Dolce’s olive oil and sea salt bar and anything by William Werner. Her favorite restaurants are the Slanted Door and Spruce.
Meet Beth (Tour Guide)
Beth Graubart has lived in many places, but San Francisco is by far her favorite. A former educator, she has spent the last several years working as a tour guide, showing off the Bay area to visitors from all around the world. When not leading tours, Beth is often traveling herself and can usually be found sampling the local desserts. She is also at work on a mystery novel. Her favorite chocolate is Poco Dolce's Peanut Butter bar. Her favorite restaurants are Limon and Burma Superstar.
Meet Swan (Tour Guide)
Swan Day lives in Napa and worked in the wine industry for many years, after a career in health care education and training. She enjoys taking friends on wine tasting trips and exploring the many fabulous restaurants in downtown Napa and the Valley. She plans to start teaching her twin granddaughters to cook very soon! Swan plays the flute in three different classical and contemporary groups in Napa and is also a bridge nut. Her favorite Napa Valley restaurants are Barbers Q and Bistro Jeanty.
Meet Maria (Tour Guide)
Since moving to Napa, Maria Cartwright has made it her mission to try every restaurant and food venue in the surrounding areas. Farmer markets and bakeries are her specialty. She likes to blog about her experiences as a “traveler for life." Maria has been all over the world eating and making friends but her heart is always at home in the kitchen! Her favorite foodie event in the Bay Area is the Fancy Food Show, a showcase of specialty food trends around the world. Maria's favorite Napa restaurants include Norman Rose Tavern for upscale American cuisine that is family friendly and affordable and Auberge du Soleil for a truly memorable dining experience.
Meet Mary (Tour Guide)
Born and raised in New York City, Mary Hudson has spent the past 30 years living in the Bay Area. A graduate of UC Berkeley, she has always loved sharing her passion for food and wine with others. After moving to Napa in 2005 she became a U.C. Master Gardener and is a huge fan of the local, sustainable food movement. She has a garden water conservation consultation business that combines her expertise in gardening with sustainability and conservation in Napa’s Mediterranean climate. Mary has a vineyard in Napa and loves to cook from the bounty of her garden for friends and family. Her favorite local restaurants include Angele’s and Celedon.
Meet Ahmet (Tour Guide)
Ahmet, a twelve-year transplant to the Bay Area, has lived in the UK, Turkey and China, and has traveled throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Food has been a passion ever since spending a summer by his grandmother's side in the kitchen in Istanbul at the age of 11. Living and traveling throughout China for three years, he was inspired by Asian ingredients and cooking techniques. San Francisco's ethnic neighborhoods, farmer's markets and abundance of great restaurants never cease to delight him. His love of food and his lifelong career in filmmaking and photography led him to Gourmet Walks where he has an opportunity to share his experiences with others. Ahmet's favorite restaurants include Fleur de Lys, A La Turca and, of course, The French Laundry. As for chocolate, he is quite partial to Recchiuti Spring Jasmine Tea Pralines and Schoggi Chocolate Fondue Coins.
Meet Shane (Tour Guide)
Born and raised in San Francisco, Shane is a big foodie and avid food photographer. Having just returned from an around the world trip visiting 17 countries, she is ecstatic to be back in her hometown. Shane also spent some time living in Switzerland, which piqued her interest in fine chocolates. In her spare time she can be found riding her bicycle around the city, working in her vegetable garden, or writing her food blog SF Eats in SF. She also works at Bi-Rite on Divisadero. Shane's favorite American chocolate is Patric, especially the PB&J OMG bar! When people from out of town visit SF, she likes to take them to Gracias Madre (all organic and vegan Mexican food) or Wise Sons Delicatessen for the chocolate babka.
Meet Melissa (Tour Guide)
Melissa grew up in the Bay Area and spends her weekends exploring San Francisco's ever exciting food scene from her Dogpatch home base. A graduate of UC Berkeley, Melissa works midweek as a digital marketing manager for a restaurant company. She spent 4 months in Florence studying cooking, pastry & wine and enjoys exposing kids to the fun of cooking through her work at the Sprouts Cooking Club. Melissa's favorite chocolate is Neo Cocoa's salted caramel with black lava sea salt. For restaurants she enjoys Foreign Cinema and Sunflower for Vietnamese.
Meet Donna (Tour Guide)
Donna is an International Tour Management Institute graduate who has traveled extensively, enjoying epicurean adventures all over the world. Donna is also a landscape architect who has planned and designed public parks and places for people to connect to nature for over 20 years. She has lived in San Francisco for 12 years, relishing the farm-to-table eating movement and witnessing the chocolate revolution. Donna’s favorite two restaurants at the moment are Bistro Aix and Cotogna. Anytime of day is suitable for tasting her endlessly changing favorite chocolate, but she is currently enjoying Ethereal Confections Vanilla Sea Salt Meltaways.
Meet Rita (Tour Guide)
Rita’s journey on the chocolate road began in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where she grew up with a serious sweet tooth. For 12 years now, Rita has been a chocolate connoisseur based in Santa Rosa. After a variety of careers as a graphic designer and teacher, she now produces chocolate shows and attends chocolate tasting events throughout the country. Rita loves to hike, with a piece of chocolate in hand, and her hobbies include playing the xylophone, tennis, dancing and painting. Rita raised 3 children and now has 2 grandchildren and an Abyssinian kitty. Rita’s favorite Healdsburg restaurants are Barndiva and the Shed. Her favorite chocolate comes from Recchiuti and Le Belge.
Meet John (Tour Guide)
John's love of chocolate and everything epicurean probably stems from his childhood proximity to the Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York — where he grew up. John is passionate about cooking, and his Italian heritage predisposes him to a great love of food and entertaining. When John is not leading tours, he's traveling California and Europe and experiencing the sights, smells and tastes of the SF Bay Area and beyond. John's favorite chocolate is Recchiuti Confection's Peppermint Thins. His favorite restaurant is Le Colonial in Union Square.
Meet Jesica (Vendor Liaison and Designer)
Jesica worked for 3 years as a Gourmet Walks tour guide in San Francisco before moving to Portland, Maine with her husband and daughter, Emma. Her favorite food experiences in Portland include Fore Street, cooking her own lobster, and Maine Foodie Tours (where she is also a tour guide). She loves that she still gets to work with Gourmet Walks, even if it's only "virtually."