The Tasting Panel magazine

February 2014

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100 / the tasting panel / february 2014 A LONE STAR LIFE "I keep a tape measure on me at all times because sometimes you have to measure shit." That handy life lesson comes from June Rodil, Sommelier and Director of Operations for Qui, among the hottest dining destinations to open last year in Austin. "When you're opening restaurants there's always a place you need to measure to put an extra shelf in, readjust where I put equipment. What if I need to buy another wine rack? What if I have to move a sink?" Sitting under soft glowing globes of a Bourgeois Bohème chandelier in her "ofice" at Qui, Rodil tells me how the irst seven or so months after opening can still feel exhilarating. She tells me she absolutely loves the rush, the evolution and the logic of running restaurants, and all the while she's clearly keeping pace with those around us who are busily preparing for the evening. "When I moved into the Director of Operations role for this company I discovered, quickly, that I was pretty much in charge of everything, including East Side Qui, our casual concept, the development of new spaces, hiring, labor, food purchasing . . . Look at all these binders on my desk. It's great to see those black and white numbers that owners see everyday. It's a way to access creativity." Rodil combs through spread- sheets like she's reading the Matrix to follow how various components of the company are working together. It's a skill set that she's built quickly and deliberately over the last few years, which included working with James Beard Award–win- ning chef Tyson Cole and winning the title of Texas' Best Sommelier at the annual TexSom conference in 2009. She assisted in launching Cole's restaurant Uchiko and then further broadened her focus when she opened Congress Austin as Beverage Director. There, she dealt with the purchas- ing, costs and other administra- tive concerns behind building a craft cocktail concept that has earned a national reputation for its quality and creativity. It's been meteoric for Rodil, who now oversees a beverage program for Qui's Executive Chef and owner (and former Top Chef winner) Paul Qui, whom Rodil worked with at Uchiko and who has a propensity for elegant yet adventurous dishes. And all the while she must steer the rest of Qui's operations. But Rodil seems adept at working at such high velocity. An Advanced Sommelier, she keeps her wine lists small and versatile enough to match the quickly evolving subtleties of Qui's Asian-fusion cuisine. "My heart and my passion is still in writing wine lists. I don't think they should be egomania- cal, but a supporting aspect of the cuisine," Rodil explains. "Unfortunately, because of my other duties I'm no longer a loor sommelier. And I miss that experience. But now it's my job to manage the people who do that. There's real enjoyment in the teaching aspect of this job because I get to see the big picture like never before." Real Somm Stories JUNE RODIL KEEPS HER EYE ON MORE THAN JUST THE BEVERAGE PROGRAM AT QUI IN AUSTIN by Anthony Head / photo by Kirk Weddle If it happens at Qui, June Rodil sees it.

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