Rising Star Pastry Chef Rachel Sundet of State Park - Biography

Cambridge, MA

September 2015

Sometimes a chef knows from day one that she’s destined to cook. Sometimes, it takes a little external prodding. For Rachel Sundet, the journey to food began with a (sweet) parental shove.

A Columbia University graduate with a degree in anthropology and some professional ambivalence, the Boston native decided to decamp to the United Kingdom in 2003, living with her grandmother in London for some soul-searching. Encouraged by parents who saw her potential, Sundet found herself looking to culinary school. Eager to test the professional waters before diving in, she started as an unpaid intern at Upstairs on the Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and fell in love with the kitchen.

After a year abroad at Leith’s School of Food and Wine, Sundet returned to Upstairs for two years before her career began moving her around, both geographically and in the kitchen. Seattle found her working the line at Brasa under chef Tamara Murphy, and (simultaneously) the morning pastry gig at Macrina Bakery, eventually transitioning to lead line cook at Brasa. Broadly skilled, and with then boyfriend, Tyler, Sundet spent eight months learning to make cheese on a Maine goat dairy, and followed the experience into working as cheesemonger at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge. Sundet couldn’t manage to stay away from the kitchen, though, so When Tyler started cooking at Hungry Mother and an opening for a part time pastry position became available, she jumped at the opportunity., After almost a year, Sundet took the helm of the Southern-inflected pastry menu. In late 2013, the pair, married in 2011, helped open State Park, a stylized dive and, cocktail den with elevated Americana cuisine, and amusements game room in Cambridge. In 2015, Sundet earned a StarChefs Rising Star Pastry Chef Award for her work.