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 (and entertainment) 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, who is also the Wine and Spirits Consultant for Bon Appétit Magazine, has hosted a couple 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, and in 2005, he was chosen as CHEERS Magazine Beverage Innovator of the Year, a lifetime achievement award. In 2009, Olson was inducted into the Keepers of the Quaich, and just this year (2011), Olson was nominated at Tales of the Cocktail for the award of the World’s Best Bar Mentor.
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. In 2010, Olson opened TWO Steak and Sushi Den in New Hyde Park, NY. The next project, a Mezcaleria / Taqueria, is scheduled to open in October of 2011, in the Rivington Hotel on the Lower East Side of New York. (see attached bio for other restaurant consulting credits)
aka wine geek, LLC is more than Steve Olson. It is a network of employees and contracted consultants, including several speakers and sommeliers, bartenders and servers throughout the US, that collaborate to make his vision happen. Steven Olson, Melissa Rosete, and Andy Seymour are the company officers. Other full-time employees include Special Projects Director Sarah Tirone, Office Manager Kate Burgess, coordinator and bartender Leo DeGroff, Special Events Coordinator Sean Kenyon, Eastern Regional Events Manager Misty Kalkofen, and regularly scheduled and contributing contractors that include Craig Colton, Michael Flannery, and John Lermayer based in Florida; Willy Shine, Aisha Sharpe, Philip Ward, and Don Lee, all based in NYC; Bob Borchardt, Charles Joly and Matty Eggleston, based in Chicago; Anthony Alba and Patricia Richard, based in Las Vegas; Eric Alperin, Chris Bostick, Joseph Brooke, and Marcos Tello, based in los Angeles; Jacques Bezuidenhout, Jon Santer and Carlos Yturria, based in San Francisco; Jeff Grdinich, Cedric Adams, Josh Childs, and Scott Marshall from Boston; Ricky Gomez from Portland; Derek Brown and Chantal Tseng in Washington, DC, and many others.
aka wine geek acts as a liaison between all strata of the industry, serving in an educational and advisory capacity between producer, importer, distributor, sales force, restaurateur, retailer, management, servers, and all others involved in the presentation and sales of beverages, creating the opportunity for successful interface with the consumer. The company has now been in operation for 20 years, under the guidance of Olson, the design of Melissa Rosete for the past 14 years, and with partner and 17-year veteran Andy Seymour managing and coordinating all educational activities and all events.
aka wine geek is also well-regarded within industry circles as the masterminds, planners, coordinators and hosts of some of the most memorable parties on record (or NOT on record, as the case might be!) including the Bar Room Brawl at Tales of the Cocktail, which evolved to its current state from the original “unsanctioned party” at Tales; the Vail Mixology Summit; the annual POST Aspen Classic Cocktail Pool Party (1999-2009); the original Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala at the New York Public Library; Telluride Wine Festival; Gourmet Latino; and many more infamous nights and weekends to remember…or not.
In March 2006 in New York City, Olson, along with four partners, Dale DeGroff, Doug Frost, MS, MW, Paul Pacult, and Dr. David Wondrich, started Beverage Alcohol Resource, LLC (BAR). Andy Seymour was added as a partner in 2008. BAR is an independent organization whose mission is to educate, guide, and propagate the healthy, enlightened, and responsible use of beverage alcohol products. The school is in a unique position to create and teach a series of courses that will not just train, but actually educate those who take them, be they service industry professionals, members of the media, or curious consumers. BAR, as a partnership, was chosen as CHEERS Magazine Beverage Innovator of the Year 2007.