We are so thrilled to have our friend Steve Olson, join us for our inaugural Taste and Savor culinary weekend ! In the weeks leading up to Taste and Savor we will be featuring a fun questionnaire from of our guests as well as a short biography of their lives.
The Taste and Savor Questionnaire – Beverage Experts
Describe your beverage philosophy in one sentence:
If you like it drink it: make your own decisions, as there is no right or wrong to this.
What is your earliest beverage memory?
I was already working as a soda jerk at the age of 12, so my memories go waaaay back, but regarding wine, it was a sip of Mateus with my tea-totalling Iowa-farm-raised parents when they finally had a glass of wine with a special dinner. It was terrible, but I was hooked.
Who is or was your biggest influence?
Far too many to name here, as I have been very lucky to have many great mentors over the years, but the first that really influenced me in the restaurant service and hospitality world, that I have lived in and worked my entire grown life, taught me that it was not about me, or my wine list or my cocktails or even about our incredible service—-it is all about the food.
What is your favorite beverage that most would consider to be a guilty pleasure?
In my role, I am not allowed to have favorites, but if I have to choose only one liquid to consume for the rest of my life, it would definitely be Mezcal.
After a long day, do you prefer wine, beer or a cocktail?
Depends upon who I am with, where I am, what day it is—how long that day really has been—-and what I am eating—-I love them all! That said, I love wine, I love cocktails, and I teach about and consume more than my share of each, but I am a beer drinker at heart.
Money is no option – what is your drink of choice?
see above—-Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal Tobala.
Domaine de la Romanee-Conti La Tache, since you are buying!
Steven Olson is dedicated to the education and consultation of degustation for appreciation and celebration. He teaches, lectures, and writes all over the world about wine, beer, spirits, sake, and virtually any other beverage under the sun, discussing their integral cause-and-effect relationship with food as he preaches the gospel of his mission: making tasting fun by removing the intimidation factor and the pretense.
Olson’s company, aka wine geek, based upon his standing as one of America’s foremost experts and most sought-after lecturers in the business, and his 30+ years of experience in the restaurant business, specializes in beverage and service consulting, and has focused on the professional presentation of beverage education for the trade, consumers, press and the media since 1992, always striving to empower both members of the trade and consumers to make their own decisions, and to trust their own palates.
Over the years, Steve has hosted a few of his own TV series’ and been a guest on many others, and has served as host of several trade education and product information videos, including being the voice of Virtual Bartender kiosks in retail stores nationwide. He was also selected as Santé Magazine’s Spirits Professional of the Year for 2003, awarded CHEERS Magazine’s Beverage Innovator of the Year, a lifetime achievement award in 2005, chosen to judge at the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Diageo Reserve World Class Finals, and honored as Best Bar Mentor at the Spirited Awards at the 2012 Tales of the Cocktail.
Olson may be best known to many, however, for his restaurant and bar consulting, having designed the innovative beverage programs and service systems for several nationally acclaimed operations, including the Relais Chateau, Mobil Five Star award-winning Mayflower Inn in Connecticut, New York City's #1 Zagat-rated restaurant, Gramercy Tavern, the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, and the Adam Tihany-designed Summit at the Mobil Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond BROADMOOR in Colorado Springs. Olson designed the beverage programs for OTG Management, which exclusively operates dozens of restaurants and wine bars in airports, and designed the beverage programs for Aqua in Cancun, Mexico, the prize jewel of Grupo Posadas, which opened in 2008. His most recent ventures are Isola and Hudson Common, both in Manhattan, where Olson and team acted as beverage consultant to the Morgan Hotel Group in NYC.