Born and raised on a farm in the mountains of West Virginia, Sterling Smith was aware at an early age of the
essential value of freshness and sustainability.
“With the nearest grocery store more than 70 miles
away, we had to grow what we ate,” he says.“We knew freshness and quality with everything on our table.”
When very young, he was self-taught with a natural
bent toward how ingredients should be combined, cooking
for his family without being asked.
He moved to Ohio to attend high school and,
while others in his home economics class were making
cupcakes, he was creating such recipes
as sausage soup and bagels from scratch.
His earliest teacher via public television was Jacques Pepin.
His defining moment, when he knew he wanted to cook and cook well, was when he watched a television interview with Alain Ducasse who proclaimed that he would have three Michelin stars within three years.“I thought, why can’t I have aspirations like that?” he said.
He bought the Cordon Bleu cookbook and started cooking from
it faithfully. At 17, he won a cooking contest sponsored by Old Bay Seasoning; his recipe was Golden Wine Snapper.
After a four-year stint with the Navy, he attended and graduated in 1993 from The Culinary Institute
of America. In seeking his first professional culinary job he searched websites for opportunities that would
be nearby and selected the famous Inn at
Little Washington in Virginia, one of the top Relais & Chateau-awarded hotel/restaurants in the world.
After his experience there, he went to New York and embarked on a tour of duty in some of its best restaurant kitchens, both rarefied, such as Aureole and
Lespinasse, and upscale, mainstream operations with the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, including the Park Avenue Café, Maloney & Porcelli and One CPS.
Most recently, Chef Sterling received critical acclaim for his namesake restaurant, The Sterling Inn. Voted Best New Restaurant in Westchester, Favorite Restaurant, and Best Brunch, in addition to being awarded the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence and hosting a sold-out dinner at the famous James Beard House, Chef Sterling has demonstrated his passion and skill to win over the Westchester community.
Currently, Chef Sterling is working on his cookbook, Dishes from the Café, while pursuing a certification as a Wine Specialist. With a two year old by his side, Chef Sterling has been focusing his attention on specialty custom cakes for all occasions. Please feel free to contact Chef Sterling with any questions at Ask the Chef.