Matt L. | Manager, Sommelier
Years of Industry Service: 17
Sometimes you learn from your past. Sometimes you don't. One of Matt's first jobs in the service industry was a concession supervisor at a movie theater. "I got to work with all my friends," he said. "It was like a party every day." But he got fired because he was dating a co-worker and like many youthful relationships, they broke up. They also went to school together. Awkward, right? He hasn't learned not to date co-workers, but he has learned that you can't let your relationships affect your work. Matt says he's somewhat shy; at work, relationships tend to form a lot easier, it's where he spends most of his time anyways. "It's more intimate, more intense. You're working together under high stress." He thinks relationships should be easy even though he knows they are not. "Ten years ago, I would say we wouldn't be friends (after a break up). In this industry, at this level of service, you just can't bring that stuff to work."
Matt has come a long way from movie theater popcorn and soda though. These days, he's working with what he loves, wine. The bottle that opened his eyes to the wine world was J. Lohr Chardonnay. Since he got hooked, Matt says it's taken a while to gain the knowledge to share his passion, including years of tasting, talking about the subject with his peers and training and educating others. "I love everything about wine, all styles, the history, how it's made, it's awesome," he says. His favorite wine is one that smells so incredible that you don't want to drink it.
Matt says he tends to be an workaholic. He even passed up a free trip to California to work. A recent trip took him to Columbia, Missouri where he met his friend and co-worker's Timothy's parents. Aside from not traveling, he likes to unwind at dive bars, drinking cocktails, playing pool and Megatouch and visiting industry friends, like Van at bluestem for brunch.
The service industry has changed for Matt. He says that people are more appreciative of servers now than they used to be. "We are providing a service and not slaves to them. We make people see that by giving the best service day in and day out."
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