Leah was born and raised in Los Angeles and grew up watching Julia Child, How to Boil Water and Yan Can Cook. She has worked in many aspects of the food industry since her first job scooping ice cream at the age of 15.
Leah attended The California Culinary Academy in San Francisco in 1999, while simultaneously working in garde manger/pastry at Jeramiah Tower’s acclaimed restaurant, Stars Bar and Dining. She completed her pastry internship at Caneel Bay Resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands and upon her return to California, landed a job as part of the opening team in the pastry department of the new Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay. There, she worked extremely hard in all aspects of the pastry department where she was Department Trainer. Leah later transferred to open The Ritz Carlton Boston and was the pastry lead of the fine dining room called “The Dining Room”. Thereafter, she worked in Beverly Hills at The L’ermitage Hotel before being recruited to be the Assistant Pastry Chef/Acting Pastry Chef of the Regent Beverly Wilshire. During that time she was also sent to open another hotel, The Four Seasons Palo Alto. After this satisfying career, Leah left her pastry career to backpack solo around the globe for a year, sampling each country’s culinary differences and gaining innumerable life experiences.
Upon return from her travels, Leah yearned to find an independent shop similar to that she had experienced in so many places around the world. She found The Cheese Store of Silverlake, where she cheesemongered and managed for 6 years. During this time, she worked under Chris Pollan (previously of The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills), attended the American Cheese Society Convention, and worked with fellow Cheesemongers and Artisan producers to learn the trade to the best of her ability.
Milkfarm is a collaboration of Leah’s heart, soul, work and life experiences. This is her first business and she can’t wait to share her love for cheese and artisan food with the local community. Leah is especially grateful to be in such a diverse and family-friendly neighborhood of Eagle Rock, where she also resides. She is happy to say that she has achieved her dream job of being a business owner in the culinary field.
Leah knew she wanted to be in the food business at a very early age, as her favorite toys as a child were a cash register, fake food and mini kitchenette. Her and her childhood friend “opened” a restaurant called Jose and Leah’s Famouse Foods (yes, spelled incorrectly), where they forced terrible concoctions onto their parents. “My mom thought it was weird that her (Asian) kid could love cheese so much. She used to say, ‘You know you’d be 10 pounds lighter if you didn’t eat so much cheese!’ I guess those early years of sticking a Kraft Single in the rice cooker has finally paid off…my own cheese store!”