waterfront seafood grill’s kristen young named ‘sommelier of the year’ in 2011 washington wine restaurant awards
SEATTLE, Wash.—(April 4, 2011)— “Outstanding wine knowledge and unbridled professionalism.” These are the apt words used by the Washington Wine Commission to describe Kristen Young, Director of Wine at Waterfront Seafood Grill, whom the organization named Sommelier of the Year on March 25 — the first female winner of the prestigious honor.
“Kristen's genuine love of wine and tremendous knowledge is exhibited by her passion for making sure each guest's experience at Waterfront Seafood Grill is enhanced by a perfect pairing or by encouraging them to try something new,” says Sivi Mennen, Waterfront’s general manager.
Fittingly, the award was presented by Chris Sparkman, of Sparkman Cellars. Sparkman served as general manager of Waterfront Seafood Grill from 2003 until 2010: He gained sommelier status in 2004, and over the years, he has led dozens of staff members of his Waterfront team to sommelier certification. Sparkman currently holds a special position as Wine Syndicate Director to Mackay Restaurants.
Kristen Young moved to Seattle from Ohio in 2001. After honing her passion for fine food and wine at such prominent dining destinations as Campagne and Nell’s, she opened Tilth with James Beard award-winning chef Maria Hines, overseeing the innovative restaurant’s wine program and front-of-house operations.
Kristen joined the expert staff at Waterfront Seafood Grill in 2006 and holds oenophilic accreditations from the Court of Master Sommeliers and International Sommelier Guild, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from The University of Toledo. Kristen will serve as a judge in the 2011 Seattle Wine Awards in mid-April and the International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville, Ore., this summer.
Passionate about educating palates and nurturing emerging wine lovers, Young conducts a range of “Wine Boot Camp” classes at the restaurant, such as the popular “Sparkling Wine 101,” most recently held shortly before Valentine’s Day and promoted on FOX affiliate Q13.
Kristen was not the only big Pier 70 winner in this year’s awards: Waterfront Seafood Grill itself was given a Washington Wine Grand Award, an honor commending outstanding restaurants that devote space on their menus to Washington wines. Restaurants are evaluated on criteria including the wine list, staffing and service, special promotions and overall wine philosophy.
Upcoming spring events led by Kristen Young at Waterfront Seafood Grill include:
April 21, Thursday: Vineyard Dinner with Jerry Bookwalter of Stillwater Creek, $95 per person. Five courses with paired wines, including Sparkman Cellars’ ‘Lumiere’ Chardonnay (2009) and Baer ‘Ursa’ (2008).
May 29, Sunday: “Beer vs. Wine,” with Charles Finkel of Pike Brewing and Waterfront Sommelier Kristen Young, $95 per person. Five courses created by Chef Peter Levine, each paired with beers chosen by Charles and wines chosen by Kristen. Which is the better pairing? You decide!