How did you get into the business?
I came to the world of wine via a winding road, beginning in a tiny Boston restaurant that suddenly decided to quadruple its Wine List. It was through the staff education that accompanied this initiative that my passion was born. I liked bringing a whole experience together through one bottle, finding something that would link roasted chicken and steak au poivre and rigatoni alfredo so that no one dish was seriously out of step with the wine, or vice versa. I moved to New York in 2008, and shamelessly used the connections I had forged in Boston to get myself a job at Union Square Cafe, where I continued my wine education amongst some of the greatest talents in the industry.
What brought you to North End Grill?
When word came out in the fall of 2010 that North End Grill was in the works, I requested a transfer. I wanted to have a hand in forging the bones of something new and exciting. When I got here, I fell in love. In love with the restaurant, in love with my team, in love with the whole creative, collaborative process of opening.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to since you started at NEG.
Since I took over the wine list in the fall of 2012, we’ve grown from 145 selections to over 300. I passed the Certified Sommelier Exam for the Court of Master Sommeliers in August of 2012, and will be sitting for the Advanced Exam in 2014. Additionally, I’ve been teaching my team about wine and service; not just the academic stuff, like red Burgundy is always Pinot Noir (unless it’s Beaujolais), but how to talk about wine at tables, and how to take what a guest says they want and translate that into a wine that will really make them happy. Teaching is one of my favorite parts of the job!