Gourmet Walks | Our Team
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Our Team

Meet Andrea

Founder and CEO

Andrea

Dana Spaeth Photography

Gourmet Walks founder Andrea Nadel has had a passion for food since childhood. A Maine native, she planned elaborate dinners while her mother did the dishes–not a bad arrangement! As a student at Williams College, she wrote restaurant reviews, taught a cooking class, and learned the art of wine tasting. While in Southern France, Andrea realized that her appreciation of fine food was much more than a hobby; she spent her time abroad relishing in carefully crafted meals, savoring gourmet chocolate, and defining her culinary ideology.

After college, Andrea worked in marketing but knew her true passion lay in working with food. She and her husband left New York for the Bay Area in 2000, and Andrea learned the ins and outs of San Francisco’s restaurant scene while pursuing her Master’s degree. In 2005, she realized her longtime dream: Andrea founded Gourmet Walks, a tour company highlighting the best food and wine in San Francisco and Wine Country. (Andrea is a licensed tour guide in San Francisco.)

Currently, Andrea and her family reside in Tiburon. When she’s not practicing yoga or taking a spin class, she loves seeing plays–she’s an avid supporter of local theater. A talented cook, Andrea often prepares dinner for her husband (a dairy-free pescetarian) and three children, only one of whom she currently considers a foodie–no easy task, but one she handles with aplomb! Of course, she makes time to try restaurants in the area and revisit her standbys; her favorite San Francisco eateries are State Bird Provisions and Rich Table. Andrea’s love of chocolate remains strong; she regularly serves as a panelist for Taste TV chocolate events, and highly recommends you try the Ginger Elizabeth Salty Cocoa Nib Brittle Dessert Bar-the name doesn’t do it justice!

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Our Team

Nicole

Meet Nicole

Tour Guide

Nicole’s culinary career began when she was eight–as a child, she loved baking for her family. She continued honing her baking skills and loves catering desserts for friends and family. In fact, her brownie and cookie recipes can be found at various cafes all over town!

Nicole has spent much of her professional life working with food. Prior to joining Gourmet Walks, she had a 15-year career with Haagen-Dazs and also worked as a food stylist for various Food Network programs and commercials.

A chocolate expert, Nicole will help you learn to maximize your chocolate-tasting experience and will shed light on the intricacies of the industry. She’s no stranger to San Francisco restaurants, either: Her current picks are the Slanted Door and Ragazza, though she can make recommendations for any palate.

Ahmet

Meet Ahmet

Tour Experience Manager

San Francisco is the perfect home base for Ahmet, whose culinary adventures have taken him around the world. He has lived in the U.K., Turkey, and China, among other places, but has called the Bay Area home for the past 15 years. Inspired by his grandmother and mother, Ahmet began cooking at the tender age of 11 and he hasn’t stopped since. He loves San Francisco’s farmers markets and will gladly recommend the best produce stand.

Ahmet’s deep love of food and lifelong interest in photography led him to Gourmet Walks. He recently received his MA in teaching English to speakers of other languages, and he manages to take freelance photography jobs in his precious free time. We’re perpetually in awe of his energy.

Citing the difficulty in making such a choice, Ahmet lists his favorite area restaurants as Bar Agricole, Perbacco, A La Turca, and The French Laundry. For dessert, Ahmet heads to Recchiuti for Spring Jasmine Tea Pralines, or to Chocolate Covered, where he inevitably picks Francois Pralus single origin bars from Venezuela.

Mary

Meet Mary

Tour Guide

Born and raised in New York City, Mary has spent the last 30 years living in the Bay Area. She became a UC Master Gardener in 2005 and is deeply involved in the promotion of local, sustainable agriculture. In addition, she has a vineyard in Napa, where she maintains a garden and hosts dinner parties for family members and friends.

Further drawing on her gardening expertise, Mary owns a garden-water conservation business, through which she helps Napa-area gardeners take advantage of the Mediterranean climate to sustainably increase their gardens’ yield.

In her free time, Mary loves to play games (Candy Crush included). She’s no golf pro, but she loves the sport and concedes that her game “could make Tiger Woods crack a smile!” A natural at bringing people together, Mary also leads history tours through downtown Napa–you’ll recognize her radiant smile and unmistakable 1920s getup. Her favorite area restaurants include Oenotri, ZuZu’s, and Atlas Social.

MariaAntonia

Meet Maria Antonia

Tour Guide

Maria Antonia has lived in San Francisco for nearly 9 years.  Of Peruvian descent, she enjoys cooking her native Peruvian food and anything from the Mediterranean diet.  After spending her childhood in Washington DC, Maria Antonia traveled extensively and has lived in Spain, Turkey, South Africa and Peru!  Like many San Francisco residents, Maria Antonia cycles just about everywhere and enjoys spending time in her Pacific Heights garden.  When not leading tours, she loves practicing acro yoga, dancing salsa and playing the cajon, a Peruvian percussion instrument.  Maria Antonia’s favorite restaurants at the moment are Cotogna for Italian food and Ichi Sushi for omakase.

Stephanie

Meet Stephanie

Tour Guide

Originally from Minnesota, Stephanie has called San Francisco home since 2004 and adores exploring the neighborhoods, running the hills, and driving her scooter around town. After working several years as an editor in the online music industry, she now stays busy as a freelance writer and editor, holistic nutritionist, and yoga teacher-in-training. When she’s not tapping at a keyboard or balancing on a yoga mat, she is traveling to (or dreaming about) an exotic locale. She also runs a travel blog with her husband at Big & Small Travel.

Some of her SF food faves include: The Mill’s Adventure Bread, Slanted Door’s pho, Darwin Café’s kale salad, and Dandelion Chocolate’s 100% cacao bar. She could also spend several days in Rainbow Grocery’s bulk section. Most importantly, she believes eating dark chocolate daily is an essential part of a happy, healthy, and well-balanced life!

Tour Guide Shane

Meet Shane

Tour Guide

One of several Bay Area natives on staff, Shane has visited 25 countries but admits there’s no place like home. (That said, she wouldn’t pass up the chance to return to Switzerland, where she sampled some of the best chocolates she’s ever tasted.) A graduate of UC San Diego’s biology program, Shane considers food from a molecular standpoint as well as from a culturally focused perspective.

Shane loves photography almost as much as she loves food, and she documents her culinary adventures on her blog SF Eats in SF. When she has a spare moment, she loves biking to local goat farms. Perhaps Shane’s favorite avocation is spending time in her own garden, where she reads, relaxes, and mulls over what to prepare for dinner.

In the mood for a meal out? Shane recommends The Blue Plate and La Ciccia, both in San Francisco. To sate her cravings for sweets, Shane enjoys Patric’s PB&J OMG bar.

Valerie

Meet Valerie

Tour Guide

Valerie’s two loves are food and travel. She has traveled and volunteered throughout Asia, Europe and Australia, even working as a guide “down under” for an equestrian tour company. She studied Nutrition at Bauman College and applies this knowledge toward cooking vegetarian whole foods at home in South San Francisco. She has worked in the spice and tea industry for two years, and will gladly recommend the perfect tea to match your mood.

When not at work, Valerie writes, dances, makes cheese and fosters baby kittens (awh!). Valerie’s favorite restaurant in SF is Millenium, known for its amazing vegan food. She also enjoys Bittersweet Café’s spicy hot chocolate.

Doris

Meet Doris

Tour Guide

Doris’s dream came true when she settled in the heart of Napa Valley, in St Helena, over a year ago.  She came from Seattle, where she enjoyed a successful career as a marketing executive as well as a college instructor.  Doris is a practicing artist and dedicates a chunk of her time each day to creating paintings in her studio.  A lover of all things food and wine, Doris is enjoying exploring her new home and on weekends you will find her at tastings and winery tours all over the valley.

Doris’s favorite Wine Country restaurants are Market in St. Helena and Mini Mango Thai Bistro in downtown Napa.

Swan

Meet Swan

Tour Guide

CA wine-industry veteran, Swan lives in Napa and loves sharing the area’s culinary bounty with guests. One of her favorite pastimes is leading wine-tasting excursions with friends (and we have to say, we’re envious of her friends!). She also loves a relaxing meal out; you can often find her at Barbers Q or Bistro Jeanty, two of her favorite Napa Valley restaurants.

When she’s not espousing the region’s dining establishments and wineries, Swan plays flute in three different Napa-area ensembles, and she also plays a mean game of bridge. She plans to teach her twin granddaughters the art of cooking in the near future.

Marie

Meet Marie

Tour Guide

Marie draws on her experience in theatre and comedy to keep tour guests entertained for hours. Having grown up in Detroit, Marie has lived in many of the country’s major cities, including New York City, Los Angeles and now San Francisco. When not leading food tours or movie tours in SF, she can be found performing in local theatres and comedy clubs. Her dynamic voice has contributed to voiceovers for commercials and animated films. Marie makes her home in Cow Hollow and loves the Neopolitan pizza at nearby A16. For sushi, she is a regular at Kiss Seafood in Japantown and her favorite chocolate of the moment is Poco Dolce’s Peanut Butter Bar.

SarahLynn

Meet Sarah

Tour Guide

Detect a Southern drawl?  Sarah hails from the Deep South (Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee) and is now proud to call downtown Napa her home.  Sarah and her husband retired in Napa after spending many years living in Reno and visiting wine country on the weekends.  Sarah dedicated her professional life to nursing and anesthesia, and she traveled extensively with the Peace Corps and Operation Smile.  She has visited over 20 countries in Africa, has lived in Australia, and traveled throughout Europe, Mexico, Central America and Peru.  Sarah and her husband belong to numerous wine clubs in Napa Valley and have an impressive wine collection.  She loves cooking and entertaining, and collects new recipes wherever she travels.  When it comes to dining in downtown Napa, she is overwhelmed by all the wonderful choices but TORC is currently her top pick.

John

 Meet John

Tour Guide

Like many of our guides, John developed his palate early–a trait stemming from his childhood proximity to the Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York. John is just as passionate about cooking as he is about chocolate, though be careful not to come between him and his Recchiuti peppermint thins! (Don’t worry: After tasting them, you’ll definitely want to buy your own.)

When not leading tours, John spends time producing short films and collecting restaurant china. On weekends, you can find him wandering through San Francisco’s Chinatown, enjoying the sights and wandering through the well-stocked markets. At the end of a long day, he enjoys a meal at Le Colonial near Union Square.

Jesica

Meet Jesica

Designer

Jesica spent three years as a Gourmet Walks tour guide before relocating to Portland, Maine with her husband and beautiful daughter. Though she misses San Francisco, she loves eating out at The Salt Exchange and cooking her own lobster- a luxury we Bay Area residents envy.

Though she no longer leads guests through Hayes Valley, she does lead tours for Maine Foodie Tours. In addition, she has her own e-learning business and also teaches swimming classes at her local YMCA. She loves that she still works with Gourmet Walks, albeit virtually.

See Yourself Leading Tours? Become a Gourmet Walks Guide!