The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 58 of 132

58  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2018 eight-person table and enough serviceware to handle 16 courses. That's how I find my catharsis. I will say, though, that I certainly don't miss the constant cuts, burns, scrapes, and heat! What advice would you give young sommeliers who are just now begin- ning to carve out a career for themselves in the industry? I could write a book on this! First, show integrity, honesty, courtesy, and respect to everyone and treat your distributors and suppliers as partners. Sales reps have very difficult jobs and work hard for little compensation. Be honest about your expectations, needs, and wants and hold them accountable, but don't be rude. Likewise, don't talk down to your staff—find ways to inspire them to want to learn. Next, don't try to be a teacher. It's really exciting to know all sorts of interesting and obscure wine facts, but it's important to remember most people could care less. Sommeliers are emissaries of hospitality, so respect your guest's preferences. If they love a wine you don't, let them enjoy it; if points/scores matter to them, don't dismiss them as irrelevant. Explore your guests' tastes before making suggestions. One of the most frustrating and common questions I get is, "What do you recom- mend?" What they actually mean is, "Help me find something that I would like based on my preferences." Ask a few exploratory questions and make informed decisions based on their answers. If you start talk- ing about a Georgian orange wine or bone-dry Riesling when they like oaky, full-malo Chardonnay, you'll not only be doing them no favors but also possibly wasting a bottle, taking longer to serve them, making their experience awkward or uncomfortable, and preventing yourself from helping other guests or staff in need. Finally, remember the difference between service and hospitality. Do the latter well and you'll automatically execute the former perfectly. You have one glass of wine and ten minutes. Who are you with, what are you drinking, and what are you listening to? If I wasn't limited to ten minutes, it would be my girlfriend and we'd be drinking old Riesling and listening to Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, or Pink Martini. Otherwise, I'm with Anthony Bourdain—the world and our industry truly lost a treasure. The wine is 1800s Madeira, and I'm listen- ing to him with his favorite rock band playing in the background! The Tasting Panel and The SOMM Journal are proud to serve as the media sponsors of SommCon San Diego (November 14–16). For schedule and registration details, visit Erik Segelbaum E rik Segelbaum is an Advanced Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and has nearly 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He currently serves as the Corporate Wine/Beverage Director for Starr Restaurants, Stephen Starr's acclaimed East Coast restaurant empire, where he has worked for nearly five years. Segelbaum also presented at SommCon Washington, D.C. in late July. You began your early career as a chef. Is there anything you miss about being in the kitchen? I absolutely miss the kitchen! The ability to express limitless creativity and work with seasonal, fresh ingredients while also nourishing people is a true gift. I loved being challenged and developing my skills. I make up for missing it by having elaborate dinner parties as often as I can—we have an ADVANCED SOMMELIER AND STARR RESTAURANTS CORPORATE WINE DIRECTOR by Michelle Metter

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - August 2018