And the finalists for your favorite MIXOLOGIST/SOMMELIER are David Keck, Jeb Stuart, Sean Beck and Ryan Levy - all dedicated to their craft and skilled at pairing drinks that work perfectly with each meal! Read about each nominee and CAST YOUR VOTE for your favorite.
From retail sales, to distribution, to running the beverage programs for the Uchi restaurant group, Keck most recently created The Camerata at Paulie’s wine bar which rose to national and international acclaim. One of Food and Wine magazine’s Sommeliers of the Year in 2016 and one of only 149 Master Sommeliers in the country, he is currently working on several new projects to open in 2017 and 2018.
Jeb Stuart came to Houston from New York, where he worked as a classically trained sous chef in Manhattan, working at spots like the Plaza Hotel's Edwardian Room and Rusty Staub's restaurant on Fifth Avenue. The award-winning wine list at Staub’s piqued Jeb's interest. Moving back to Houston, he became executive chef at Claire Smith's Daily Review Cafe, and had full reign over the wine program. Recently, he served as the wine guy at Plonk Wine Bar before taking charge of Coltivare's cellar.
Born in Rochester, New York, Beck first developed an interest in wine while at University of Houston’s Honors College, where started working as a waiter at Backstreet Café 19 years ago. He helped turn the neighborhood restaurant into a celebrated spot for wine and spirits. Now days he runs the competition, which benefits Periwinkle Foundation a Houston Charity working with children. Part of his title is Beverage Director for Backstreet Café as well as sister restaurants Hugo’s, Hugo’s Cocina, Caracol and the soon to be opening Xochi.
Winemaker, Chef and Certified Sommelier Ryan Levy trained in France at Le Cordon Bleu, in California with Master Sommeliers and star winemakers in Napa, and began creating his first wines in 2007 under his label, NICE. A native Houstonian, Ryan graduated with honors from Rice University and earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law. Since leaving the practice of law he co-owned the restaurant "Republic" in Dallas with Le Cordon Bleu classmate and fellow winemaker Ian Eastveld and now makes wine and teaches wine classes and culinary classes at The NICE Winery's Houston headquarters.