- Monica has worked with sake throughout her career.
- She wrote a sake column for Serious Eats.
- Monica was names one of Wine Enthusiast's 40 under 40.
Monica Samuels has worked with sake throughout her career; it was relatively easy for her to get her first jobs in Japanese restaurants in LA (where she grew up) and NYC (where she lives now) because she grew up speaking Japanese and could communicate easily with the chef. One restaurant group where she worked for several years boasted a list of 100+ sakes, which inspired her to take the category more seriously and obtain certifications.
While working at Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits as their sake ambassador (2008-2013), Monica started writing a sake column for Serious Eats. At the end of 2013, she left Southern to join Vine Connections, an importer of sake from family owned breweries throughout Japan, and is their vice president of sake and spirits.
Monica is a Wine and Spirits Education Trust Level 3 sake educator, an International Wine Challenge panel chair, a TEXSOM judge, and certified Advanced Sake Professional. She was named one of Wine Enthusiast's 40 under 40 in 2014, a Sake Samurai in 2017, and one of the International Wine & Spirit Competition's Future 50 in 2019.
What's your desert island food?
Beef jerky. I love salt and spice. I also travel a lot in non-pandemic times, and it doesn't melt, get smashed, or need refrigeration. I probably eat it every single day.
What's your favorite condiment?
Yuzu kosho. It's my secret ingredient for everything! Soups, salad dressing, burgers. Also, mixed with kewpie mayo it fixes even the saddest, driest chicken sandwich.
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