Special Price Ends
March 15, 2024
May 21, 2024
June 20, 2024
Paul Solomon is a dedicated people person who embraces a hands-on, servant leadership approach. He has a profound passion for food and beverage, and his goal is to share his knowledge and experiences with both staff and diners to enhance the overall dining experience. Having lived in Europe for five years and traveled extensively, he possesses valuable insights into food, beverages, and various cultures. His daily mission is to ensure that guests feel genuinely cared for and leave with a memorable sense of hospitality. Paul provided responses to the interview questions that followed.
Image: Vistro Prime
I work as the Director of Operations for award-winning Chef, Paul Virant, overseeing both of his suburban Chicago restaurants.
I was fortunate in my 20s to travel and live in Europe. While doing so, I became fascinated with wine.
Would you like to try a sample?
Personable, Attentive to Detail, Knowledgeable, Fun.
I would taste through the by-the-glass pours with them to make sure they could speak to the style of the wine.
Let guests try a sample, and try to offer alternatives when guests are set in their ways on a particular wine.
Staff training, having staff utilize our sommeliers.
Books, Magazines, Wine Events.
Sharing special wines with guests or making a celebration special for a guest
Learn their names, write them a note, bring them an extra pour or dish, and send a complimentary item.
My "ah ha" wine was a bottle of Paolo Scavino Barolo from 1998 paired with a duck breast in plum sauce. It blew my mind! I had the pleasure of meeting, Elisa, the winemaker a few years later and told her that her family wine was the one that picked my interest and started me on my wine journey I was invited to dinner later that evening with her as her guest!
I do believe guests should drink what they enjoy but often times they drink a wine that may be too bold for the dish or cuisine.
One of my all-time favorite pairings is Port and Blue Cheese. I also love Brunello with Florentine-style steak!
My favorite current read is "Unreasonable Hospitality".
I thoroughly enjoy the work I do of leading and overseeing restaurants. Maybe overseeing my own operation or consulting in the future would be fun!
Image: Paul Solomon (Source - Facebook)
Being fortunate to travel.
A featured BTG pour.
A solid wine program has a range of selections at an array of prices with a mix of respected producers as well as some eclectic or unique options.
Setting my team up for success, taking care of guests, being organized, and working with integrity.
Is it a balanced and complex wine? Is this something I like or more importantly the guests will like? Is it a value wine (quality for price)? Is there a unique story behind it?
I believe that a good sommelier views their role as one who is first and foremost a servant and is at the disposal of whatever will make service effective. If the sommelier is needed to bus tables, they will jump in. If they are needed to help polish glassware, they will assist. When a guest has questions about wine, they will work to have an authentic encounter with that guest to help them find something they will enjoy.
What do you look for when you have to evaluate the effectiveness of the wine program?
I think an effective program is able to have a range of options from classics but also something special that guests may have never tried before.