Our intent is to bring people in, put them in a comfortable setting, make them feel comfortable with us, so that they feel comfortable with our skill level of cooking.
Fueled by sheer perseverance and armed with unbelievable talent, Sarah Heard’s remarkable climb from banquet server to now co-chef and -owner of Austin favorite Foreign & Domestic is both inspirational and impressive. Growing up in Conroe, Texas — just outside of Houston — Sarah’s initial introduction to the culinary arts focused far less on the finesse of finishing a plate and concentrated solely on the importance of utilizing every component of a recipe wisely. Watching her mother and grandmother craft meals from scratch out of necessity helped instill in Sarah the value of hard work and respect for ingredients.
To pay for her first car in high school, Sarah leveraged her knowledge from the home kitchen to earn a position at a local restaurant. From that point, there was no turning back. She would build her culinary career just as she worked in the kitchen — from scratch.
As a hostess early on, Sarah encountered ignorant comments like, “Girls can’t handle the kitchen.” And, if there’s anything that gets Sarah fired up, it’s when you tell her she’s incapable of doing something. She refused to allow anything or anyone to discourage her and instead transformed an ill-intended remark into the spark that would drive her forward into a successful culinary future.
In 2006, she started as a banquet server at The Mansion at Judges Hill and moved quickly up the ranks, eventually being promoted to Executive Sous Chef. Having established a strong mentorship with Owner Lisa Weidemann that remains today, Sarah flourished until it was time to take a leap of faith and join the Winfield Inn as Executive Chef.
Sarah continued to add to her repertoire, leading kitchens and developing her own style until it was time to branch out on her own. Together with fellow cook and business partner, Nathan Lemley, he and Sarah purchased Foreign & Domestic restaurant in Austin, Texas from its original owner, Ned Elliot, in September 2017.
The same values learned from the matriarchs of her family live on through her work as a chef today. She has become known for her care and respect for ingredients. She aims to help educate and introduce others to the beauty and value of working from scratch, especially through her focus of utilizing every part of the animal. As a result, since taking over Foreign & Domestic as co-chef and -owner, Sarah has been nominated for Eater Young Guns, among other accolades, and continues to blaze her own path of culinary success.