1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your background and your current role?
I grew up in the hospitality industry, my parents owned a Dairy Queen back home in Western Canada.
I went through a Hotel and Restaurant Administration Program in College and during that program I began working with Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. I worked across Canada, from New Brunswick on the East Coast to Mt. Trembant, Quebec to Whistler in the West.
During my time with Fairmont, I worked throughout the hotel but fell in love with wine!
I became a sommelier during my time as a Restaurant General Manager in Whistler. I then set my sights on Las Vegas, moving down to be the F&B Manager at The Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas.
After 1 year there I moved to the Strip as the Assistant General Manager/Sommelier at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, about a year later I took over as the Director of Wine (Chef Sommelier) of both L’Atelier and the only 3 Michelin Star Restaurant in Las Vegas, Joel Robuchon.
5 years later I moved to Mandalay Bay as the property Director of Wine, overseeing all bars and restaurants.
I am now an On-Premise District Manager with Johnson Brothers, selling wine, spirits & beer to some of the top bars, restaurants and hotels in Las Vegas/Henderson.
2. Why did you choose this industry and what do you love about it?
Growing up around this industry made me fall in love with it, I love helping people create memorable experiences.
3. What challenges have you experienced in your profession in 2020?
I have learned a new side of wine, stocking shelves at grocery stores and helping the retail team gave me a greater understanding of the world of wine.
4. What are some of your favorite and comforting wine/wine region/pairing?
Champagne is and will always be #1 for me!
A great glass of Champagne and a bag of potato chips will do it every time!!
I also love Burgundy (White or red), those wines paired with food from the region are so delicious.
5. Any advice for aspiring industry candidates?
Listen, be open minded and never be above getting your hands dirty.
6. Please share an anecdotal moment that you will never forget!
I remember one of many late nights working at Joel Robuchon when he and his team were in town. We were in the kitchen, “tasting” the cheese cart with some great wines. Mr. Robuchon asked me to get some more wine, I picked a couple of different ones (a Chateauneuf-du-Pape and a Bordeaux) that I thought would go well with the cheeses and that I hoped all there would enjoy… They loved them and I felt as though I had gained his and his teams trust from there on, which I did.
7. Is there anything else you would like to share or mention?
The world of wine is immense and always changing. Never say never and always think about how a wine enhances someone else’s experience with it, not just if you like it or not!
I have so many more stories from my years in Las Vegas that I can share as well!
Harley: "I love helping people create memorable experiences."