Creator & Chief-Everything-Officer @ Smeeny Made Wild
Private Chef | Owner @ Wilderbean Provisions
Meet Chereen Leong Schwarz, the dynamic force behind Smeeny Made Wild and the culinary genius at Wilderbean Provisions. A California native turned Colorado mountain maven, Chereen's journey is a delicious fusion of flavors, passion for local ingredients, and a love for comforting global cuisines.Growing up in San Francisco with a family passionate about cooking, Chereen's palate danced with flavors from her Cantonese grandma's kitchen – from tripe to sea cucumber. Her college years at the University of California, Davis, led her to explore Food Science, specializing in fermentation and product development. However, her culinary calling beckoned, leading her to The Culinary Institute of America, Greystone.
Culinary school in Napa Valley was a dream realized, exposing her to local farms and international cuisines. Working with culinary giants like Thomas Keller and Rick Bayless fueled her love for farm-to-table cooking. Chereen's culinary adventures took her to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where her love for local ingredients and rustic dishes flourished.
After a decade in restaurant kitchens and even cooking at the James Beard House in New York, she followed her heart to a small farm in 2018. Getting her hands in the dirt, she witnessed the food world from a different perspective and developed agritourism programs.
In 2020, she transitioned to full-time private chef and knitting entrepreneur, emphasizing local eating, simplicity, and global grandma-inspired delights. Chereen's creativity extends beyond the kitchen to knitting needles. Starting Smeeny Beanie Knits in 2017 as a side hustle, she transformed it into Smeeny Made Wild – a haven for makers, adventurers, and eco-conscious individuals. Her knitwear, made from ethically sourced wool, reflects her love for the outdoors.
Beyond fashion, Smeeny Made Wild is a platform for environmental advocacy. Chereen donates a portion of sales to organizations like Protect Our Winters and the National Park Foundation, weaving sustainability into every stitch.
As a full-time maker since 2021, Chereen has mastered the balancing act between her private chef and knitting businesses. Her journey, marked by grief, health challenges, and pivots, underscores the importance of time and intentional choices. Smeeny Made Wild is not just about keeping warm; it's a movement to celebrate handmade, embrace the outdoors, and create positive change.
Chereen Leong Schwarz has woven a tapestry of flavors, yarn, and values. Her legacy is one of culinary delights, sustainable creations, and an unwavering commitment to preserving the wild. Whether in the kitchen or with knitting needles, Chereen inspires us to savor every flavor and knit stories that last a lifetime.
Social Media Handles:
LinkedIn: Chereen Leong Schwarz