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Lydia Kurkoski

Sommelier & Assistant General Manager

Lydia grew up in upstate New York. Her small town was established by Eastern-European immigrants leaving the coal mines of Pennsylvania in search of work and stability. Coming from humble roots, she learned early on that a gathering needed only two things to be successful: good people and good food. Her favorite memories from her childhood are holiday celebrations. Platters of food, all made fresh by Nanny herself, would cover every flat surface available. While these gatherings were modest, the passion and care for family and togetherness was always tangible. This simple and genuine approach to hospitality has become a major source of inspiration for her career in the food and beverage industry. In fact, it was during a family vacation to Acadia national park celebrating her high school graduation that, while the entirety of her family was downstairs playing a board game, she and her father were huddled upstairs in a room watching the Netflix documentary Som. It was subtle at the time, but this documentary about pursuits of others in the world of wine planted a bug that would not easily be shaken. 

At eighteen years old, Lydia left the comfort of her family and small town to move 2,000 miles away to attend Tulane University School of Business. Lydia was initially allured by the bold and exciting lifestyle NOLA offered. It did not take her long to become deeply enamored with the rich history and amazing resilience of her new home. There were so many parallels between the NOLA family and her own roots that she felt instantly at home. Even during her pursuit of degrees in Chinese and Finance, she found that she still could not shake the hospitality bug. During school, she began working as a part time hostess for John Besh’s Domenica. She eventually worked her way through nearly every position in the front of the house. After school, she decided to stay on board and intently study food and wine, while also saving money to apply for her sommelier examination. Only 10 days after her 21st birthday she passed her first examination with the Court of Master Sommeliers. Lydia has come a long way from that rented house on the Maine coast. She is excited to implement an approachable and diverse beverage program which she hopes will stand out as a bright spot in our great city.