1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your background and your current role?
My name is Zach Zamec. I am the regional manager of Sabatino Truffles Las Vegas. We provide restaurants, hotels, distributors, and retail outlets with fresh and preserved truffle products. I started with the company in 2018 at their Los Angeles location. I was new to the food industry but very eager to learn. Learning the ins and outs of the food industry in L.A helped me on my next journey of opening up a Sabatino location in Miami. I immediately hit the ground running and quickly established Sabatino Truffles as the premier source for truffle products. Only one year later, I found myself on the west coast again, but this time in the hospitality capital of the world: Las Vegas.
2. Why did you choose this industry and what do you love about it?
This industry found me! In 2018, after getting out of the Marine Corps, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I landed in Los Angeles with only one goal in mind; I was determined to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Just before I left for the hike, I submitted my resume for a sales position for a truffle company that I was entirely under qualified for. Low and behold, after two days and forty miles later I received a phone call from the vice president of sales with an additional follow up call 500 miles later. I needed to get back to L.A immediately to have an in-person interview. It was all hands-on deck and at this point I had a scruffy beard, I was un-showered for days and needed a ride. I called a good friend, he picked me up from Mount Whitney and I was on a flight at 6am the next day. The rest is history.
I love everything about this job. If I had to choose one reason why, it would be the fact that I have really come to understand the beat of the community. In other words, I love the fast-paced energy and the comradely that comes with it. If you’re looking for the best food, it’ll be where the best people are. The local food has also come to be some of the best places to eat. It’s friendly, there’s usually alcohol involved, and really it’s about simple dishes done right. Knowing where to find those pulses in the community is why I love this job. Other than that, I will finish that hike one day! Maybe this time I’ll take some truffles along.
3. What challenges have you experienced in your profession in 2020?
Not surprisingly, the pandemic completely shattered our Las Vegas business strategy. To see the strip as desolate as it was, so shockingly, was definitely a sight that none of us anticipated on seeing. Once the middle of March 2020 rolled around, all that we could do was keep our heads up and persevere.
As hard as it was, I am thankful for the pandemic for allowing us to reconnect with the community.
We were also able to find alternative streams of income outside of Las Vegas and grow our retail outreach. As I write this today it has been a year since we shut down and it feels like things are [finally] coming back to life and stronger than they were in 2020.
4. What are some of your favorite and comforting wine/wine region/pairing?
As much as I absolutely love eating out, I am certainly someone who enjoys eating at home.
Admittedly, nothing beats pizza with a nice cold beer!
On a colder day, it always brings me back to a time when my grandmother would make me her traditional German goulash. That has to be one of my favorite past times and remains to be one of my favorite foods. Even a potato dumpling with cranberry sauce will do the trick...
5. Any advice for aspiring industry candidates?
Be honest, on time, and definitely be nice to everyone. You never know who is going to be a potential client or boss.
6. Please share an anecdotal moment that you will never forget!
It was white truffle season, and I was ecstatic because they were gorgeous. I was going to a new restaurant that I had never serviced before, so I was unsure the situation I was going to be walking into.
Inevitably, I met with the chef, we talked for a few minutes and I went ahead with my usual routine of laying the truffles out for him to choose, weight and hopefully purchase. The chef scanned the options and picked up one of the whites (decent size like an apple) and decided to take a huge bite right out of it…
I have experienced all types of practices during my time in this industry but with certainty, I can say I have never seen anything like that! I will definitely remember that moment!
Ultimately, he ended up buying that truffle!
7. Is there anything else you would like to share or mention?
To the Las Vegas Wine Academy and Solenne, I would just like to offer my immense gratitude and thanks for this opportunity. You have been such an amazing person to work with and a pleasure to get to know.
Zach: "I have really come to understand the beat of the community. I love the fast-paced energy and the comradely that comes with it. If you’re looking for the best food, it’ll be where the best people are."