Nick and Marissa met in 2013 while working at Lincoln Center’s celebrated Lincoln Ristorante in New York City. There, under Executive Chef Jonathan Benno, the pair contributed to a team that would earn a Michelin star for their seasonal contemporary Italian cuisine. They trained, honed their culinary craft, and fell in love.
The couple has since traveled the world together, and that adventure-seeking led them to San Francisco in 2015. Here, they've added to their accomplished resumes cooking at some of San Francisco’s best-loved fine dining concepts. Nick and Marissa began cooking private dinners in San Francisco as a side job, but quickly grew to love the creative process and personalized experiences they could provide their clients. Free from the restraints of a single cuisine or menu, something clicked. The pair realized they could combine their classical training, professional experiences and inspiration gained from travel to create a full-time business fueled by passion. Sweet and Sowers was born.
The community of farmers in the Bay Area has inspired Nick and Marissa since arriving to San Francisco. What started as weekly visits to local farmers markets with bike baskets to haul produce back to their home prep kitchen has grown into close working relationships with Bay Area farmers, a commercial kitchen space, and yes—an upgrade from bike baskets to a van! The chefs are driven by the opportunity to explore new cuisines weekly, highlighting local, hyper-seasonal produce with each menu and providing their clients a chance to experience fine dining at home.
Marissa Bertram is from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. She enrolled in her high school’s culinary arts program on a whim, where she quickly and semi-accidentally moved into advanced classes. Without even intending it, she knew she’d found her calling.
At age 16, Bertram found her first mentor—Chef Jonna Froelich. She worked for a few years under Jonna, gaining a classical training in pastry. One night, during a particularly hectic dinner rush, Bertram watched as Jonna fearlessly jumped from plating desserts to cooking behind the hot line to help the kitchen execute service. She decided then that she wanted a formal training in savory cooking to be able to do the same, and never turned back.
After culinary school at Madison College in North Wisconsin, Marissa built her career at award-winning restaurants regarded for their missions of supporting local farms, including L’Etoile in Madison, Wisconsin and The Perennial here in San Francisco. Focusing on sustainability, highlighting local produce and supporting other small businesses are core values she’s carried with her into Sweet and Sowers.
Known as the “sweet” of the Sweet and Sowers duo, Marissa enjoys getting out into nature with Nick, crafting the more-than-occasional pun, tap dancing and drawing. She gains inspiration from her travels—her fondest food memory being a day at the Tokyo Fish Market where she and Nick strolled around sampling some of the best seafood in the world (the highlight was a skewer of wagyu beef with uni).
Nick Sowers is from Annapolis, Maryland. He was drawn to cooking from a young age, relishing the gratification in seeing a handful of simple ingredients come together to make something delicious. He got his first job at age 14 at IHOP, and went on to study culinary arts at Johnson and Whales University of Providence, Rhode Island.
He’s since cooked at acclaimed restaurants including Salt Tavern and Thames Street Oyster House, both in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as Cotogna here in San Francisco. He’s worked with celebrated chefs along the way such as Eric Houseknecht, Jarett Appell and Jonathan Benno, gaining mentors and good friends with a shared love of simple and seasonally-driven cuisine.
After 18 years in restaurants, Nick began cooking private dinners for clients in the Bay Area. He shares Marissa's passion for all things local and sustainable, and seeks to embody that spirit with every menu he creates. He's focused on lifting up other small businesses as Sweet & Sowers grows.
Nick has had an entrepreneurial spirit since he was young. Sweet & Sowers is his second successful venture, the first being an independent landscaping company dubbed “The Little Clippers” founded at age 10. He loves traveling with his fiancé and business partner Marissa (the two will be married in June of 2022), cycling and enjoying the majestic outdoors of San Francisco.