David Flaherty has more than 20 years experience in the hospitality industry and is the marketing director for the Washington State Wine Commission. This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of Nation’s Restaurant News.
[Restaurant Hospitality] What if we could go back to the start of our careers, when we formed the roots of our professional paths, knowing the lessons we now know? What would we tell ourselves?
“The main thing is get dirty, literally and metaphorically,” said Juliette Pope, former wine director at Gramercy Tavern in New York City and now portfolio manager for David Bowler Wine. “Get your hands in it; do all the things related to the industry — if you are a cook, go to staff wine tastings in your restaurant and trade tastings outside the walls. If you are a waiter, go to whatever beverage stuff pops up, and also go trail in the kitchen and in the cellar. Whatever you do, get behind the bar, get into the coffee station and go visit the roaster when there is an outing, or create that outing yourself for others.”
Finding mentors at any point in your career is a strong move, said Jill Zimorski, former wine director of the Alinea Group in Chicago, and now a Champagne specialist for Moët Hennessy.