Meet the Taste of Home Test Kitchen Team

Our Test Kitchen team includes professional chefs, pastry specialists, registered dietitians and other culinary experts who help bring your favorite recipes to life.

Taste of Home recipes may begin with home cooks, but our team of culinary experts tests and perfects every single one before publication to make sure they can be called Test Kitchen Approved.

From food editors who review thousands of recipe submissions each year, to prep cooks and recipe testers who make every recipe at least twice, to the food stylists who make sure everything looks as good as it tastes, our culinary team works hard behind the scenes.

Here’s a look at the people who make Taste of Home recipes come alive.

Our Test Kitchen Team

Sarah Farmer, Taste of Home Executive Culinary DirectorTaste of Home

Sarah Farmer

Executive Culinary Director

Sarah Farmer is the heart of the Taste of Home Test Kitchen. On top of leading the culinary team, she develops and tests recipes, styles food, balances budgets, connects with vendors and oversees our product testing process for pantry items and cooking gear. You might spot her in our videos on social media and TV, talking about food or gadgets. She also speaks at culinary events and leads baking classes across the country.

Sarah began her career at Taste of Home in 2004 as a food stylist and is still head over heels in love with working with food (and with people who love food) every day. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her husband, Dave; daughter, Olivia; and dog, Xava.

Areas of Expertise: Cake and cookie decorating, air fryers, small appliances and cooking gadgets, food and cooking trends

Favorite Recipe: The Best Ever Chili. “My beloved, low-tech, three-ring binder holds more than 17 years’ worth of my favorite Taste of Home recipes. It’s stained, wrinkled and worn, but deeply cherished,” Sarah says. 


James Schend, Deputy Culinary DirectorTaste of Home

James Schend

Deputy Culinary Editor

James Schend oversees our food editor team, recipe contests and Bakeable, Taste of Home‘s baking community. He also manages food content for other brands under our parent company, Trusted Media Brands. Prior to this position, James worked in the kitchen of Williams-Sonoma and for Southern Living. An honors graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he has traveled the world searching for great food in all corners of life.

Areas of Expertise: Grilling and smoking, dairy-free cooking, southern cuisine, cocktails, food and cooking trends

Favorite Recipe: Bacon-Wrapped Avocado Wedges


Peggy Woodward, Senior Food Editor at Taste of HomeTaste of Home

Peggy Woodward, RDN

Senior Food Editor

Peggy Woodward curates and develops recipes, writes articles, and is our in-house nutrition expert. She studied dietetics at the University of Illinois and completed post-graduate studies at the Medical University of South Carolina to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. Peggy has more than 20 years of experience in the industry. She’s a mom and a foodie, and enjoys being active in her rural Wisconsin community.

Areas of Expertise: Healthy cooking, canning, food and cooking trends

Favorite Recipe: Sandy’s Chocolate Cake


Rashanda Cobbins, Taste of Home Food EditorTaste of Home

Rashanda Cobbins

Food Editor

Rashanda Cobbins spends her workdays perfecting Taste of Home’s recipes, curating digital content and tracking the latest culinary trends. While studying for her bachelor’s degree in culinary arts, Rashanda interned in Southern Living’s test kitchen and later spent nearly a decade developing recipes and food content at ConAgra Brands. In her spare time, she loves scoping out local farmers markets and having picnics in the park.

Areas of Expertise: Southern cuisine, food and cooking trends

Favorite Recipe: Mexican Street Corn Chowder


Alicia Rooker, Taste of Home Recipe Editor and Tester.Taste of Home

Alicia Rooker, RDN

Recipe Editor and Tester

Alicia Rooker manages our recipe database and ensures that recipe directions are sound, clear and easy to follow. Armed with a dietetics degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a food science background, Alicia also tests readers’ recipes and writes some of her own. When she’s not in the Taste of Home Test Kitchen, she enjoys planting native flowers and raising monarch butterflies with her son.

Areas of Expertise: Healthy cooking, air fryers, Instant Pots, slow cookers, canning

Favorite Recipe: Makeover Cheddar Biscuits


Catherine Ward, Taste of Home Prep Kitchen ManagerTaste of Home

Catherine Ward

Prep Kitchen Manager

A lifelong foodie, Catherine Ward heads up the Taste of Home prep kitchen. She also lends her expertise for articles about cooking and baking techniques, as well as kitchen tools. Catherine has worked in the hospitality industry for most of her career, catering and teaching cooking classes. She is happiest when she’s cooking for a table full of friends and family.

Areas of Expertise: Grilling and smoking, bread baking, pie pastry, canning

Favorite Recipe: That Good Salad


Sarah Fischer, Taste of Home Culinary AssistantTaste of Home

Sarah Fischer

Culinary Assistant

Sarah Fischer works both behind the scenes preparing recipes and in front of the camera making cooking videos. With two culinary degrees from Milwaukee Area Technical College, Sarah has worked in fine dining and at the Walt Disney World Company. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her family and tasting new cuisines.

Areas of Expertise: Cake and cookie decorating

Favorite Recipe: Cheese-Stuffed Shells. “I discovered these right when I started working for Taste of Home and they instantly became a family favorite. I make a few pans of these every year at Christmas and everyone always goes up for seconds or thirds,” Sarah says. 


Margaret Knoebel, Taste of Home Culinary AssistantTaste of Home

Maggie Knoebel

Culinary Assistant

Maggie Knoebel prepares recipes for the Taste of Home photo studio and creates cooking videos. She’s an alumna of the Culinary Institute of America, where she earned two degrees in baking and pastry arts. When she’s not making new recipes, you can find Maggie reading or hanging out with her goldendoodle, Annie.

Areas of Expertise: Bread baking, cake and cookie decorating

Favorite Recipe: Best Vanilla Buttercream


Mark Neufang, Taste of Home Culinary AssistantTaste of Home

Mark Neufang

Culinary Assistant

Mark Neufang spends his days baking and cooking in the Taste of Home prep kitchen. A lifelong baker, he has tested recipes for Baked, Food52 and the Vanilla Bean Blog. He also runs his own baking business, Neufangled Desserts. Outside of the kitchen, Mark enjoys reading, eating chocolate, watching classic films, traveling, and directing and acting in local stage productions.

Areas of Expertise: Cake and cookie decorating

Favorite Recipe: Lemon Lover’s Pound Cake


Shannon Norris, senior food stylist at Taste of HomeTaste of Home

Shannon Norris

Senior Food Stylist 

Shannon Norris cooks up beautiful food for photo shoots, and develops and tests recipes in the Test Kitchen. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City (now the International Culinary Center), Shannon got her start in restaurants but has worked at Taste of Home since 2007. When she’s off the clock, you can find her trying new restaurants with her husband and friends, canning a new recipe or playing with her two dogs, Emma and Abby.

Areas of Expertise: Grilling and smoking, bread baking, pie pastry, Instant Pots, canning, turkey cookery and styling

Favorite recipe: Caramelized Ham & Swiss Buns


Josh Rink, Taste of Home food stylistTaste of Home

Josh Rink

Food Stylist

Josh Rink spends his workdays in our Test Kitchen tasting and styling recipes and starring in cooking videos. While pursuing an education in fine arts, he worked as a barista, baker and caterer. When he’s not in the kitchen at work, Josh is in the kitchen at home, cooking (and eating!) with friends and family.

Areas of Expertise: Bread baking, pie pastry, cake and cookie decorating, turkey cookery and styling, cocktails

Favorite Recipe: The Best Pizza Dough


Audrey Rompon, associate culinary producer at Taste of HomeTaste of Home

Audrey Rompon

Associate Culinary Producer

Audrey Rompon tests, styles and photographs recipes for Taste of Home’s print and digital platforms. She has degrees from the University of Michigan and the French Pastry School in Chicago. Audrey spends her downtime visiting friends and family, bingeing the latest Netflix shows and working on elaborate baking projects.

Areas of Expertise: Vegan and vegetarian cooking, cake and cookie decorating

Favorite Recipe: S’more Bars. “They are such a simple recipe but so addictive,” Audrey says. 


Sarah Tramonte, associate culinary producer at Taste of HomeTaste of Home

Sarah Tramonte

Associate Culinary Producer

Sarah Tramonte tests, styles and photographs recipes for Taste of Home’s digital platforms. She has an art and design degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and is the author of The Moody Foodie, the cookbook that was the catalyst for her culinary career. In 2020, Sarah started the Milwaukee Community Fridge, a volunteer-run outdoor refrigerator and pantry that provides free food to anyone who needs it.

Areas of Expertise: Vegan and vegetarian cooking, cake and cookie decorating

Favorite Recipe: Salty Dog Sangria


Suzanne Williamstaste of home

Suzanne Williams

Dishwasher

When asked how she’s doing that day, Suzanne always answers: “Fabulous.” She’s been working with Taste of Home for more than seven years through the Milwaukee Center for Independence, which offers programs and services for adults with disabilities and special needs. Suzanne does so much more for the Test Kitchen team than keep dishes clean and organized—she makes everyone smile!


Turan Harmon04 21 22 2b C3a2272taste of home

Turan Harmon

Dishwasher

Turan Harmon is one of our indispensable dishwashers. Like Suzanne, Turan got connected to Taste of Home through the Milwaukee Center for Independence. He and Suzanne loop around our onsite kitchens and studios throughout the day, collecting dirty dishes to clean at their washing station to help keep the Test Kitchen running smoothly.

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