Birth of a Williams-Sonoma Recipe: Herb-Crusted Leg of Lamb

Behind the Scenes, Holidays, Meet

Before a recipe makes it into the Williams-Sonoma catalog, it first has to make it through our Test Kitchen.


That’s where Sandra Wu and Melissa Stewart come in. As Test Kitchen chefs, it’s their job to dream up delicious dishes and figure out the perfect techniques, cooking times and balance of flavors to make the recipes sing.


Sandra and Melissa are the chefs behind the main course in our Easter Menu, an Herb-Crusted Leg of Lamb. I sat down with them to learn what it takes to create a holiday-worthy Williams-Sonoma recipe.

The people who plan the Williams-Sonoma catalog provide most of the direction for recipe development. They come to the Test Kitchen with a broad recipe in mind, and Sandra and Melissa make it a reality.


“Normally everyone in the Test Kitchen meets to discuss all the catalog ideas,” says Melissa. “We might suss out a couple of ideas, like, ‘Mustard’s really nice with lamb. Why don’t we put mustard on the leg of lamb and use that to pat the bread crumbs on?'”


Then it’s time to start cooking. As a starting point, the chefs review past Williams-Sonoma recipes, then the rest is up to them. Both cooks have the most fun in the kitchen when they can be creative.


Melissa adds, “One thing I always try to keep in mind is how easy it would be for a customer, and does it make sense? With a roast, it was a pretty simple technique, so it was just about making sure the flavors were coming through.”


And apparently they were, because this recipe got an enthusiastic thumbs-up from tasters. We’d love to hear what you think about the recipe.  Add your comments below and if you have photos you’d like to share, send them to


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