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 our food editor who reviews 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
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.
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
Alicia Rooker, RDN
Senior 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
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
Associate Recipe Editor/Test Cook
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
Ellie Crowley is a Culinary Assistant at Taste of Home, where she preps food for recipe testing, photography, video and product testing. With more than 11 years’ experience as a high school Culinary Arts instructor, Ellie brings her expertise in cooking, recipe development and organization to her fellow foodies in our bustling prep kitchen. When she’s not cooking new recipes, you can find you can find Ellie hiking with her dog, Hank, or exploring vintage stores and new restaurants with her husband, Blake.
Areas of Expertise: Knife skills, soups and stocks, savory breads and yeast doughs
Favorite Recipes: Slow-Cooker Carnitas washed down with Fresh Lime Margaritas
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
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 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
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
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 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.