“I would not let them carry huge stacks of dishes to the dish bin because I saw that within myself to say one, I'm a server's assistant. Two, I am not going to let mama-san or keiko-san, meiko-san carry those dishes all the way back to the dish bin. I can take care of that. That's my nature, right? I'm looking out for the people that are there.”
Nelson is the James Beard Award-winning Wine & Spirits Director of Canlis Restaurant here in Seattle. A Hawaii native, Nelson left Honolulu to join Canlis in 2002, and was the most-rapidly promoted employee in their 70-year history, taking over his current role after just 4 years on the team. He’s responsible for contributing to Canlis winning the Grand Award from Wine Spectator for 24 consecutive years, and also for winning a James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Program in 2017.
The full episode drops on Thursday, but get a glimpse into our conversation here, as Nelson talks building a legacy career at a legacy restaurant, being the keeper of culture, sugar craves and gummy bears, and the honor of carrying the load for mama-san. Welcome to #Sommlight, our convo series that sits down with top wine pros from around the country and gets to know what makes them feel most alive.
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