I got my start in the world of food and wine after moving to New York City from my home state of North Carolina. Though I grew up in the small town of Tarboro, and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1998 with a degree in journalism and mass communications, my dream was to pursue a career in cooking. I chose New York’s Institute of Culinary Education to get me started. There, I began to learn about wine, which inspired me to take a job at Best Cellars, the groundbreaking, mid-priced wine store on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
My wine career took a huge leap forward when I became an Assistant Cellar Master at the renowned World Trade Center restaurant Windows on the World. In a very short time, I was promoted to Beverage Director, putting me in the position as wine buyer for the largest grossing restaurant in North America. It was here where I met my now-husband, Stephen.
The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 impacted us both personally and professionally. Having lost friends, colleagues and our jobs in the bombing, I had to face my future. I chose to throw myself into my work and took the position of Beverage Director for Blue Fin Restaurant in the W Hotel-Times Square. At Blue Fin, I created a 500-label wine list, including more than 50 wines by the glass, and developed a cocktail list that received rave reviews from New York magazine.
Having conquered New York, my next move was to return to my hometown with my fiancé. Together we decided to open our own restaurant, wine bar and retail store called On the Square.
Inspired by Best Cellars, we created a user-friendly, non-intimidating wine list, which was well received by people and press in the eastern North Carolina region. Stephen and I oversee every aspect of our restaurant while raising our 2 children, Cynthia and Stephen.