Sommelier Jack Mason ’08, Incredible Resources at Your Fingertips

CIA Alumni Bio

What is your favorite dish to create?
One of my favorite ways to cook is to go to the market or grocery store with an open mind, see what is available and fresh and then work to create a dish around those ingredients.

Master Sommelier Jack Mason ’08 at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

Describe a day in your life at your job/business.
Just like many of the positions in a restaurant, my day-to-day schedule changes drastically but in general I arrive to the restaurant and begin my day in front of a computer checking sales, depleting wines that were sold, and checking email. After spending some time getting caught up, I then balance my time tasting wines, meeting with my Sommelier team and preparing the wine list for service. Once service begins, my favorite part the day, I am able spend my time helping people navigate their way through the wine list and finding ways to elevate the dining and wine drinking experience. As the shift comes to a close, I order a little food and have a glass of Champagne while I button-up my emails for the evening.

Tell us about a few highlights of your career.
Spending over two years working as a sommelier at the award-winning Pappas Brothers Steakhouse in Houston, while simultaneously studying for and passing the Advanced Exam of the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Moving to New York City in 2013 and honing my knowledge and love of Italian wine as a sommelier at several of Michael White’s Italian restaurants, including Ai Fiori and Marea.

In 2014, joining the opening team of Marta as Wine Director.

Passing the final exam and being inducted into the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2015. In the same year, I was featured in Forbes’s annual 30-Under-30 list of outstanding young professionals nationwide, Zagat’s 30-Under-30 New York City as well as Wine & Spirits Best New Sommelier 2015.

Do you have any advice for future or current CIA students?
Soak up as much as you can while you are at the CIA! There are so many incredible resources at your finger tips and it can be easy to get distracted. Take advantage of all the opportunities that are made available to you!

What’s your best memory at the CIA?
Spending time on the weekends cooking with friends and breaking bread with people who love the hospitality industry as me!

Master Sommelier Jack Mason majored in culinary arts at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. He splits his time between Houston’s two Pappas Bros. Steakhouses.