Growing up on her grandmother’s dairy farm in the rural Lehigh Valley, Vanessa Beahn’s roots in food run deep. Her childhood was spent with her hands in the earth, cultivating, growing, running through the fields and actively involved with her family’s bustling small-town diner. Vanessa attended a local college studying Communications Design but set her sights beyond her hometown.
Vanessa moved to Philadelphia to attend the University of the Arts for a Bachelors in Graphic Design. She began her career in Philadelphia at the most renowned Greek restaurant in the city, Estia, tapping into the familiar skills she learned in her youth to continue working in the food industry. Ever savvy and creative, Vanessa also worked at the university’s graphics & printing department to further her knowledge in the design world. After graduation, Vanessa landed a job in IT but felt the urge to explore, just as she had done on her family’s farm many years before. She made the bold move to leave her job and spent the next six months living in Spain and Portugal. Vanessa explored, ate, traveled, lived, and soaked up the cultures of these countries.
Upon her return to Philadelphia, Vanessa heard the buzz about a new restaurant opening, Sbraga. She went from working front-of-house to becoming Executive Assistant to the acclaimed Chef Kevin Sbraga. Vanessa’s strong photography skills were recognized by Chef Sbraga and were used for social media and marketing opportunities. Vanessa lead the team creatively by planning chef collaboration dinners, food demonstrations, chef appearances, and even branded Chef Sbraga’s second restaurant venture, The Fat Ham, in Philadelphia’s University City neighborhood. Her food photography even reached national audiences when her shot of Chef Sbraga’s famous hot chicken went viral.
Vanessa soon faced an exciting opportunity with a Philadelphia food scene staple, Brauhaus Schmitz, where she was named the Director of Events & Marketing. Vanessa handled banquet contracts for private events, social media accounts, and was the in-house graphic designer and photographer for all marketing needs. Touted as the most authentic German Oktoberfest experience on the East Coast, one of Vanessa’s biggest achievements was successfully coordinating festivals from the ground up with attendance reaching 10,000 people. Vanessa found another invaluable opportunity as the Proposal Manager with the hugely successful Starr Catering Group. Learning off-premise catering and event production skills, Vanessa furthered her knowledge in the industry and created customized guest experiences for expanding partnered sites.
The combination of hands-on design and organizational skills, paired with multiple opportunities seized working with respectable establishments, have fed Vanessa’s innate hunger to create unique branding and remarkable culinary experiences. Vanessa has returned to her roots, working again with Chef Sbraga, to branch out to new sites in her new role as the Creative Director of Sonny & Sons.