The SOMM Journal

June / July 2018

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114 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } JUNE/JULY 2018 Two Cents from an Industry Veteran On working back-of-house: "The greatest things I've learned in the BOH are discipline, organization, and a re- spect for the best ingredients. I also was a chef that enjoyed walking out to the dining room and talking to the guests. I believe that is important for building relationships." On the evolution of the industry: "When I started in the hospitality industry, it was simply referred to the restau- rant business. My heroes were the chefs I worked with and some who even had cookbooks. There were no 'movie star' chefs, no Food Network. Sommeliers were very few and far between, practically nonexistent. I remember when I was an apprenticing chef, people would ask me what I did for a living. I would say, 'I'm a chef,' and the response would be, 'Oh . . . that's nice,' in an unimpressed tone. So, for anyone interested in becoming a chef or a beverage director, I would say this: If you want to be in this business, you must genuinely love what you do! If you just like it or think it's cool, look for another profession. If you love it, you will have a lifetime of happiness and personal satisfaction." IN 1991, TEDDY PANOS earned his culinary arts degree from Kendall College in Chicago. From there, he worked his way up through some of the most renowned kitchens in the Windy City, including La Fontaine, Everest Restaurant, and The Ritz- Carlton; by 2004, he was running his own restaurant, Country Kitchen, and catering business, Theodore James Catering. In 2008, Panos made two big moves: from Chicago to San Diego and from the back of the house to the front, working as a sommelier and Wine Director at Cucina Urbana and La Valencia Hotel. Seven years later, the new Certified Sommelier and Certified Specialist in Wine joined the Blue Ridge Hospitality group as the Wine Director and Assistant General Manager of Stake Chophouse + Bar in Coronado, California. Stake offers a fresh take on the old- school steakhouse concept. It's also the only restaurant in San Diego to serve A5 Japanese wagyu beef. Says Panos,"We source a myriad of dry-aged steaks from around the globe and also have daily selections of fresh shellfish and seafood. In addition to displaying our meat selection to each table, we offer a collection of steak knives from Germany, France, Italy, and Japan that the guest can choose for their entrée. We also offer a Stake Experience, which is a customized five-course menu that I personally pair with wines. We want the guest to feel that every part of the evening was well worth the visit. " The SOMM Journal asked Panos if his background in French and Italian fare influenced his approach to wine. "I love the cuisine of France and Italy and equally the wines," he explains. "The Chef at Stake uses French and Italian influences on our menu," which in turn "is my impetus for the selections on our wine list." Back to Front PHOTO COURTESY OF BLUE RIDGE HOSPITALITY by Jessie Birschbach CHEF-TURNED-SOMM TEDDY PANOS IS NOW BEVERAGE DIRECTOR AT STAKE CHOPHOUSE & BAR IN CORONADO, CA

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