Firsts & Lasts with... Sandia Chang, Sommelier at Bubbledogs and Kitchen Table

First & Lasts

It is said that the two most important moments in a restaurant are the moment you walk in the door – the hello – and the moment you leave, the last bite you take, the last person you speak to – the end/goodbye. But so much of our life is shaped by first and lasts, so here we profile amazing women of the industry, talking about some of their first and last moments…

Trained at the internationally recognised Culinary Institute of America in New York, Sandia Chang has since held positions in respected restaurants such as Roganic, where she was the Assistant Manager and Wine Buyer, and at Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, where she held the position of Assistant Manager. Originally from California, she has also worked at Noma, named the ‘World’s Best Restaurant’, and Per Se (where is where she met husband James Knappett). Sandia is Sommelier at both Bubbledogs and Michelin-starred Kitchen Table, and is a regular wine presenter on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen. Her accolades include: Imbibe’s ‘Wine List of the Year’ for Bubbledogs in 2013; a one-star award from World of Fine Wines for Bubbledogs in 2016 and a two-star award for Kitchen Table in 2017; ‘Best Front of House’ at the 2018 Food and Drink Awards; Michelin’s ‘Welcome and Service Award’, shared with James, in 2018.

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First kiss: Jimmy Chang, Junior year of high school, 1997. 

First cocktail ordered on a night out: Long Island Ice Tea (sure way to get drunk quick). 

First food poisoning: On our honeymoon in Croatia 2008. Still not sure what it was. We were on a cruise.

First job in hospitality: Cashier/Host at Coco’s Bakery and Restaurant in Los Angeles, 1998. 

First thing you do to unwind after work: A glass of sherry and Netflix - anything with zombies in it.

First thing you do in the middle of a hellish service/day at work to stay level headed: Take my dog Paxo for a walk if it’s not in service. In service, I go out for a breath of fresh air and punch something so the pain distracts me.

First thing you do when you wake up: Check messages, emails and social on my phone.

First thing you do when you plan a holiday: Restaurant reservations. 

Last thing you bought at an off license: Batteries for my daughter’s Ewan the sheep, a white noise machine to help her sleep. 

Last three favourite places you ate in:

  1. Casamia

  2. The Quality Chop House

  3. Smoking Goat

Last song you listened to: 5 little monkeys.  

Last podcast you listened to and what did you take away from it: I listened to the BYO episode of Women in Wine. I learned that I still don’t like listening to myself back. 

Last glass of wine you really enjoyed & where: Clandestin Les Semblables Blanc de Noirs. It was a very generous welcome drink at Casamia. 

Last time you had a proper day off and what did you do with it: Last weekend we went to Bristol with the whole family to celebrate James’ birthday. We ate at Casamia, Pacos Tapas and Pony and Trap.

Last time you exercised (body or mind): Pregnancy yoga whilst I was pregnant. 

Last review you read and agreed with: I don’t really read reviews. 



Natalia Ribbe