Penfold's Varietal Mixing Class, Barossa Valley, Australia

Penfold's Varietal Mixing Class, Barossa Valley, Australia


As a bartender and restaurant consultant, Cassandra Ericson brings her attention to detail to every cocktail and menu crafted. Working her way up from hostess at her family's restaurant, to pizza maker, server, bartender, and Jazz Club Manager, she's now a self-proclaimed “Booze enthusiast”. Cassandra became obsessed with learning about her favorite wine and spirits while cocktail waitressing her way through college in San Francisco. At the time, Chef Sho Kamio introduced Cassandra to a world of fine Japanese cuisine, the intricacies of saké, and the depth of the whiskey world.

Cassandra grew up on the central coast of California, and moved to San Francisco in 2006. While working for One Industry Group, Hard Rock Café, and Yoshi's Jazz Club, Cassandra found herself asking questions about everything she put to her lips. Adventuring throughout California's Santa Ynez and Napa/Sonoma wine regions it sparked the idea that the only place to learn more than there would be France.

Cassandra spent 3 years living in Toulouse and Paris, using France as a base to travel to far-off destinations like Australia, Spain, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Ibiza, The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. “Tasting, learning, and cooking with locals was my top priority. I found jobs teaching English to support my Bourdeaux habit”. Cooking and eating with her hosts, the Bouin Family in Toulouse, France was a once in a lifetime experience. 

Cassandra's philosophy is "Eat & Learn, Drink & Learn". Behind every label is a story, and Cassandra believes that the more people learn about where their food and drinks comes from, the better the food ecosystem will be. Even at the age of 7, in her Grandma Anna's Omelets & More restaurant, Cassandra has been interacting with guests, Front
of House, and Back of House crews, trying to make a memorable, friendly, and interactive atmosphere between people and their food.

Returning to the USA in 2015, Cassandra founded her blog , focusing on education and she hopes to encourage more people to look into the products they buy. Her posts help steer people in the right direction when it comes to eating, drinking, and food-traveling. Now, Cassandra works with new and existing businesses to build and grow their beverage programs, develop training materials, hire staff, and develop social media marketing platforms and strategies.   


L'ecole du Vin in Bordeaux, France

L'ecole du Vin in Bordeaux, France

Imagine. It's a double sold out night in the middle of summer. Lines of people waiting around the block waiting to get in the club, cocktails are flying out of the service window and business is booming! I have a green room full of Funk-Rockers smoking Northern California's finest herb then uh oh... The fire alarm! I run to the kitchen to make sure it is NOT on fire, then radio the security team. "Grab every industrial fan in the house and clear out the green room!" The San Francisco Fire Department is on their way, and we run the risk of shutting down on a huge night. Airing out the not-technically-legal haze just in time for the Fire Marshall to issue us a $800 ticket for not evacuating the building immediately. Luckily we are not over capacity and we are compliant with all the other fire codes for the building.  Phew. Just another night in the industry.


Now, There are two things I have learned about the service industry:

1. create a memorable EXPERIENCE  

2. be prepared for the unexpected


Rewind. It's 5am. We are the only breakfast spot in a small town on the beautiful Central Coast of California. Working at my Grandparent's restaurant most weekends and summers meant waking up early. We always had 2 rushes, first the farmers came in with their muddy boots around 5:30am, ordering their usual black coffee and biscuits and gravy. We would have to sweep, mop, and reset the counter area before the civilians would start trickling in around 9am. I will never forget all the people I met, some became lifelong friends. My G-ma Anna would always say to treat everybody that walks through the door like family, and she welcomed everybody with open arms.

Kindness. It spreads like wildfire. All the hard work and effort in creating a great product will have been in vain if not served with a smile. A genuine one. Keeping your crew happy and well trained will show through to your guests, and with all my years of experience that is what I want to help you do.


Customers are more likely to remember bad service

than a great meal.


Read my interview with joshua caine media here