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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

10/11 - Breast Caner Awareness Event, Mandarin Oriental's MO Bar, San Francisco

The San Francisco Mandarin Oriental is supporting the American Cancer Society for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with a fundraiser in it's famous MO Bar.  In the line up are singer songwriter, Franki Love, Creations from in-house Mixologist, Priscilla Young and female winemakers, including our guest Julie Johnson.

Our first guest is the the brilliant lady who brought it all together, Mandarin Oriental's...

Nicole Kosta,
Director of  Food and Beverage, Wine Director

Nicole was born in Adelaide, Australia, not too far from well known wine regions Barossa Valley and Mclaren Vale to name a few. Becoming passionate about wine there in the home of wineries, such as Penfolds and Henschke, her training and interest grew while working in fine dining and premier client events at the Adelaide Casino.        

She graduated from University of Adelaide, with a degree in organic chemistry, but she was way too energetic to work as a scientist in a laboratory, so she found herself interviewing to get back into the hospitality industry.

It was in Omaha, Nebraska that she landed her first restaurant management position where she was promoted to General Manager within one year and awarded “General Manager of the Year” that year. Life changes led Nicole to Cleveland, Ohio where again her focus became wine. She became aware of the opportunity to work under Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon in Detroit, where studied and obtained her Sommelier Certification.

NIcole and Priscilla with drinks being served at the event
 After two years with Madeline she was recruited to work for an amazing company, “Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar”, in Livonia as their Wine Director. Her outstanding dedication to the 100 wines by the glass program, accolades and awards, wine education, and inspiration of not only her staff but a regular following of wine advocates got her noticed.

She was immediately sought after and recommended to come to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the fine city of San Francisco. As Food & Beverage Director and Wine Director of award winning Silks Restaurant and MoBar, as well as the other outlets in the hotel, she plans to continue to inspire and evolve this already fantastic wine program, and expand on what this great property already has to offer.

Franki Love 
Award Winning Singer/Songwriter

"My soul needs music all day, every day," singer/songwriter Franki Love explains. "Music is how I express myself and my mission in life is to spread inspiration to others through my songs."

Love, a native New Yorker and classically trained pianist since age four, followed her passion to Los Angeles and made her name playing in coffee houses. She attracted the attention of other performers and producers, and composed music for American History X director Tony Kaye on various projects. The opening and closing credits of Media. Vision’s video game, Wild Arms 4, are sung by Love.

Quickly earning a reputation as a songstress with her independently released debut album Franki Love in 2007, Love was named Female Singer/Songwriter of the Year by the Los Angeles Music Awards. The accolades didn't end there and the acclaim from critics continued to roll in for her debut album's tracks. "Love Like it's Never Gonna Hurt" was featured as a Best Song of the Month on "Shadow" won Adult Contemporary Song of the Year at the L.A. Music Awards, was named one of the Billboard World Song Contest's Top 100 Songs, and (with "Bloom") was awarded Best Song by The music video for "Shadow" was listed on the Grammy Awards ballot in 2011 and was a nominee for "Best Music Video" at the Hollywood Film Festival.

Despite her rising star, Love's also found time to give back by donating her time and effort to Soldiers' Angels, a nonprofit organization providing aid and comfort to the family members of American servicemen and women.

Her second album, entitled NOW IS THE TIME, was partly funded by her fans through and contributions exceeded expectations.

NOW IS THE TIME will features two tracks produced by Warren Huart, whose previous credits include songs by James Blunt, The Fray and Matisyahu. Franki is now touring the US: NY, L.A., and SAN FRANCISCO promoting her music. She is also collaborating with producers for new releases, soon to come.

  • Shadow named "hit" song - BILLBOARD WORLD SONG CONTEST
  • Shadow music video - nominated as Best Music Video at The Hollywood Film Festival
  • Adult Contemporary Single of the Year for Shadow - L.A. Music Awards
  • Female singer/songwriter of the year - L.A. Music Awards
  • “Popular Songwriter Award”, ASCAP
  • Song of the month, Love Like Its Never Gonna Hurt,

Julie Johnson  
Tres Sabores

Julie Johnson, ‘Wine-grower’ of Tres Sabores, moved to her 35 acre ranch on the western benchland of Rutherford in 1987.  Zinfandel grapes were already planted on the property and were soon harvested for Frog’s Leap Winery, which she had founded in 1981 with John Williams and Larry Turley.  Born in Palo Alto, California, educated in Maine and New York, Julie returned to the state in 1980 as a public health nurse, visiting clients up and down the Napa Valley even as she was directing the sales and marketing programming for Frog’s Leap. The arrival of the first of her three children brought an end to the nursing career but Julie found many other ways to pursue her interests in family and women’s health, working on the Napa County Advisory Board for Alcohol treatment programs, volunteering at school, serving on Queen of the Valley Hospital’s Board of Trustees.

 A strong advocate for the enjoyment of wine in moderation as part of a healthy woman’s lifestyle in 1990 she founded Women for WineSenseRodeno,( then CEO of St Supery). The national organization celebrates its 21st anniversary this spring. She has worked closely with the national and international marketing programs of the Napa Valley Vintner’s Association. In 1998 she tasted her way through the delicious role of Culinary Chair for the Napa Valley Wine Auction.  From 1999 through 2001 she was a Fellow in the California Agricultural Leadership Program.  

Meanwhile, back at her Rutherford Ranch…..the old barn had been converted into a small winery, Cabernet had been planted, and the vineyard had received certification as a California Certified Organic (CCOF) Farm.  Living the “organic” life meant giving even more personal energy to the land, expanding the diversity and health of plantings (pomegranates, olives, and Meyer lemons).  Once the opportunity was presented, Julie decided to change gears and develop her own label, using the distinctive estate fruit so close at hand:  the Tres Sabores “Three tastes” project was born.

Julie and Priscilla enjoy an off-mike toast of Tres Sabores wines
 In 2004, Julie released her first estate Cabernet Sauvignon: “Rutherford Perspective”, which joined her estate Zinfandel, Tres Sabores, Rutherford and her quaffing red blend: ¿Por qué No? in the marketplace.  In the spring of 2006, the first Tres Sabores white wine: Farina Vineyard Sauvignon blanc, was brought to market.  Her wines are distributed direct to consumers as well as through wholesale channels nationally.  The brand is receiving outstanding recognition in the New York Times, the Wine Enthusiast, The San Francisco Chronicle, Decanter, The Sommelier Journal,  Gerald Asher in Fine Wine, and others.

Currently, she’s taking great delight celebrating a renewed family life with husband Jon Engelskirger, consulting winemaker (and combined, their six children!).  Ongoing, she is pursuing winemaking as a vocation, as well as advocating for her passions as a Dame d’Escoffier, Past President of Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP), and as a member of the Rutherford Dust Society, the Napa Valley Vintners, and Napa Zinfandel Trail. Julie has been a guest lecturer at Bowdoin College, Cornell University and City College of San Francisco. She was a featured winemaker for the Morton’s “Women of Spirit” program and the “Go Organic” program in Northern California.  A regular participant in ‘Wine, Women, & Shoes” events around the country, she has helped raise significant funding for women and children’s charities.  She was filmed for the syndicated TV program “In Wine Country”.  Her product: Fire-roasted Zinfandel and Pomegranate Marinade & Grilling Glaze has been featured on ‘Emeril Live’ and in Food & Wine.  Tres Sabores’ farm-raised Guinea Hens now grace the tables of many prominent restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her motto? ¿Por qué. No?

Priscilla Young

Mixologist / Bar Manager/ Sommelier

Priscilla Young thoroughly enjoys being on the frontlines of a restaurant & bar interacting with guests. She has a natural talent for creating a memorable dining experience for every guest that walks through her doors; she was born with a personality and determination perfect for the hospitality industry.  And with 10 years in the restaurant business, 5 of them in the leading luxury hotel, Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco, she has had the experience and training to run such an establishment with success priding herself in instilling superior service standards and creativity.

She made her move to San Francisco to pursue her degree in Cultural Anthropology at San Francisco State University while juggling full time serving and bartending shifts at Cheesecake Factory, a roof-top restaurant that grossed the highest revenue in the country. In a short time, she was enlisted into their “fast track to management” program where she learned to expedite a bustling kitchen to produce dishes for 600+ covers a day ensuring standards and quality. Within a year, Priscilla realized she belonged in a higher arena.

 Her introduction to fine dining and luxury hotels began in 2006 with the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco when she was hired as a server. After two years, Priscilla Young’s hard work and potential to excel in this industry was recognized by then Food and Beverage Director Milan Drager, who promoted her to Food and Beverage Supervisor. She soon out grew that role and current Food and Beverage Director/Wine Director Nicole Kosta promoted her to her current position as bar manager and sommelier.  Under Nicole’s mentorship, Priscilla Young honed in her skills as a leader responsible for managing the MO Bar, Silks Fine Dining Restaurant, and the hotel’s wine program. Her other responsibilities include planning wine and spirits events and continual beverage education for hotel colleagues.

Priscilla in her element

It is undeniable Priscilla found her calling and passion. She clearly enjoys providing exceptional service, sharing quality wine, spirits, and cocktails. She has always been a creative soul ever since her first finger painted doodle on her parents’ wall as a child.  She views winemaking and mixology as an art form; the expression of the soul, nature, and community. As a sommelier, she is a curator of wine and as a mixologist, she expresses her inner artist.

Her inspiration comes from what is available seasonally and locally. Her Chinese heritage and innate urge to stay ahead of the trends also influence her cocktails. She brings regionally opposite ingredients and flavor profiles together with techniques, both tradition and modern, to create her concoctions. She strives to create an experience with each of her cocktails just like a dish can arouse nostalgia. Spices, aromatics, herbs, and fruits used in Eastern cultures for their medicinal properties are used to infuse in her series of “Medicinal Cocktails”.

Priscilla Young is an active member of the Master Guild of Sommelier and United States Bartender’s Guild San Francisco Chapter. She has most recently won Best Gin Cocktail 2011 for BLOOM gin San Francisco Bartender Competition with an original cocktail recipe “Heirloom Of The Dog”.  
-Favorites –
Gin, “Aviation”, “Ward 8”, Champagne, Pinot Noir, Painting, Traveling

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