Jesse Rodriguez, Advanced Sommelier
Over the last 10 years there has been a real increase with Sommeliers/ Wine Directors and Beverage Managers that now have a specialized job. I have been fortunate enough to hold all three of these positions. Over the last three years I have noticed how many people slide into the positions with no real experience or guidance. They pass an exam or two, were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time, yet lack the experience and floor time to know how to really access and excel at the job. Without someone who has mentored them at an established restaurant or wine program, they enter the job looking to build a list on what’s new and hip versus perhaps sticking to the classics and adding a small peppering of hip wines.
It got me thinking,
Are people going into these positions because they are in love with the idea of being a Sommelier or do they really like all that it encapsulates?”
For example, I know some beverage managers who feel that their job is to taste wine, meet with vendors, go to meetings and go on trips. Nothing more or less. To push them to work the floor and conduct service is like pulling teeth and you can see it on their face when they are conducting that service and dealing with guests. On the flipside, I know many beverage managers/wine directors who refuse to give up working the floor. They know that this keeps them in touch with their customer, with the standards of service, and the final response to their product.
I champion these people.
These types of real thorough FOH and BOH people are still out there and I love it when I come across them. They are more involved in the restaurant’s program versus trying to make their voice heard and see if and what will garner them attention.
But this is one man’s opinion. I’d love to hear yours.