The Tasting Panel magazine

Nov 09

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 63 of 92

november 2009 / the tasting panel /  63 recognition from Food & Wine, Santé, Wine & Spirits, Wine Spectator, Forbes. com and Esquire. Jesse was chosen "Best Sommelier, Reader's Choice Best of 2008" in Ranch & Coast, San Diego's luxury lifestyle magazine. As the opening Head Sommelier at Addison, the resort's signature restau- rant, his 3,300-label wine list received the prestigious Wine Spectator Grand Award in 2009. During his tenure at The Grand Del Mar, Jesse has helped assemble the resort's 35,000-bottle wine inventory. Before joining the team at The Grand Del Mar, Jesse was part of the talented group at Napa Valley's Michelin three- star French Laundry. He is a certified advanced sommelier by the American Chapter of the Court of Master Som- meliers and is credentialed as a Certified Wine Educator by the Society of Wine Educators. Bartender: Mike Yen Nine-Ten Having previously worked at the presti- gious Lodge at Tor- rey Pines, where he learned "the classics," Mike Yen is now fulfilling his fifth year as Mixologist at Nine-Ten restaurant and bar in La Jolla, California, where "the doors are open to creativity and the ceiling is as high as you decide to set it." The Santa Monica native's multicultural background—his mother is from Hawaii and his father was raised in Rome—has given him a willingness to "browse through other cultures" to find new techniques and flavors profiles. Recently, he has been "playing more with varying formats instead of flavors," finding that although customers may not be willing to jump into a new taste that's foreign to them, they are always excited to experiment with a new application. While playing soccer for U.C. San Diego, Mike suffered four concussions and started bartending, hoping for some sort of "memory aerobics." He already knew he liked people, but found the outlet for creativity alluring. He's been in the business ever since. "As our cuisine keeps pace with the avant- garde, so must the cocktails. My craft has blossomed here as I try to reinvent myself every day." San Francisco Wine Director: Mark Bright Saison Born in Chicago, Mark Bright has been passionate about wine since he went to Europe at the age of 15. At 17, he began working at Aqua in the Bellagio, Las Vegas, while attend- ing the University of Nevada, where he studied food and beverage manage- ment; he joined the Bellagio sommelier team on his 21st birthday. In 2004, Rajat Parr, Wine Director for Michael Mina's restaurants, invited Mark to be the open- ing sommelier for San Francisco's highly anticipated Restaurant Michael Mina. Mark has consulted for many restau- rants and chefs throughout the Bay Area, including, Dosa, Circa, Cosmo- politan, Lingba, Oola, Pampas in Palo Alto, Sushi Groove, Home Restaurant and 111 Minna. In 2007, Mark opened his first restaurant, as co-owner—the revolutionary Local Kitchen and Wine Merchant in San Francisco, combining a wine merchant, wine bar and restauran t. He was also a sommelier with the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay. Mark continues his exploration of wine; his studies have taken him throughout the wine regions of South America, Australia, South Africa, Europe, United States and China, and the saké breweries of Japan. Bartender: Erik Adkins Heaven's Dog Erik Adkins has been bartending in San Francisco since 1993. He is responsible for elevating the bar program at Charles Phan's celebrated Slanted Door restau- rant and for designing, opening and managing the bar at the Phan group's new establishment, Heaven's Dog. He has also designed the bar program at Flora in Oakland. His cocktails have appeared in several national magazines and newspapers. Erik's bars draw on the eye for detail and execution that defines New York cocktail culture and the respect for ingredients and responsible agriculture that is the San Francisco Bay Area. He likes to showcase spirits and cocktails that demonstrate a link to agriculture and to a specific place and time in his- tory. He is grateful to be bartending at a time when there are so many passion- ate and talented people involved in the resurgence of the American cocktail. Las Vegas Wine Director: Jeff Eichelberger RM Seafood Jeff Eichelberger has always had an enthusi- asm for food, wine and people. While work- ing at Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bistro in Las Vegas, Jeff met Wine Director Michael Anthony, who would mentor his development as a sommelier. After completing the Advanced Certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers, Jeff was promoted to join the team at Michelin three-star Per Se in New York, where he was named one of Wine & Spirits magazine's Best New Sommeliers in America for 2005. Brought back to Las Vegas, Jeff had the incredible opportunity to work for legendary Michelin three-star chef Guy Savoy and his son, Franck, at their only restaurant in the United States, giving him the opportunity to focus on French wines. Simultaneously, Jeff worked with the wine program for the Las Vegas outpost of Italian classic Rao's. Jeff is currently Beverage Director of Chef Rick Moonen's RM Seafood at Man- dalay Bay. In a restaurant known for its work with sustainable products, Jeff has developed one of the preeminent wine lists in the country to focus completely on sustainable producers, garnering national attention, including awards from Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. Bartender: Alex Velez Crescent Gaming and Bartending School Known in the in- dustry as "Mr. Mixx," Alex Velez is originally from Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he got his first job at the historic Amanda's Café and designed his first drink menu at the

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - Nov 09