Born to a large Italian-American family in Kansas City, MO, Shannan gravitated to the culinary arts as a very young child when she would cook alongside her grandmother. During grade-school, Shannan’s family relocated to Valdosta, GA, a small town just north of the Florida border. It was there that Shannan first became exposed to an appreciation for food that inspired her to pursue a career as a chef. Growing up in the South allowed her to cultivate an appreciation for the strong food traditions and rich ingredients that the region has to offer, which informs her approach to cooking to this day.
After high school, Shannan moved to Athens, GA and obtained a Bachelors of Science in Community Health and Wellness. This degree allowed her to study nutrition and the effects food has on our bodies. Athens’ progressive culinary scene enabled Shannan to gain important experience in a variety of kitchens while pursuing her undergraduate degree.
After graduation, Shannan moved to Colorado to attend the Culinary Arts School at the Art Institute of Colorado. Shannan focused her course of study on the theory and technical execution of classic and modern French techniques. While in school, Shannan worked at a number of restaurants, ranging from fine dining to fast casual. Upon completing her culinary degree, Shannan settled in as a Sous Chef at Aix, a fine dining French restaurant in Denver, CO. In a few short months, Shannan was promoted to Chef de Cuisine.
In 2009, Shannan joined the up and coming Matchbox Food Group to help open the Capitol Hill location. During her tenure there, she helped the restaurant group expand to a Washington, DC culinary powerhouse, including the conception of Ted’s Bulletin, a successful upscale American diner concept. In January 2014, Shannan left Matchbox Food Group to pursue her goal of owning her own restaurant. With partners Tony Tomelden and John Solomon, Shannan opened Brookland’s Finest Bar and Kitchen, a chef-driven neighborhood restaurant offering Shannan’s take on classic American cuisine. Since its opening in 2014, Brookland’s Finest has garnered a loyal neighborhood following and critical acclaim for its thoughtful approach to American comfort food with Italian and Southern influences. She has infused the menu with family recipes, and hosts weekly dinners highlighting local brewers, distillers and wineries. Shannan lives in the River Terrace NE neighborhood and enjoys spending time with her family as well as trying the new restaurants in DC’s burgeoning culinary scene.