[PROFILE] Spotlight: Anani Lawson (Wine)
Having grown up in a family of restaurateurs, Anani first discovered his passion for the hospitality industry at an early age in his native Togo, West Africa. After earning a degree from the Univerité du Benin, he moved to the U.S. where he worked a number of jobs before landing a position as a tennis pro in the San Francisco Bay Area. During this time Anani began to learn more about Northern California’s booming wine industry and decided to pursue a number of part-time restaurant jobs to help further his firsthand experience with wines and winemaking.
As his passion and knowledge for wine deepened, Anani was approached by a number of his restaurant and tennis clients to help curate private wine tastings and pairing menus for special events throughout the Bay Area. In 2003, Anani enrolled in the first-level course from The Court of Master Sommeliers to help further develop his palate and service skills, and later that year he earned his first sommelier position at Chef Thomas Keller’s acclaimed restaurant, The French Laundry in Yountville, CA.
For the next seven years, Anani worked closely with The French Laundry’s wine director at the time, Bobby Stuckey, and played an influential role. His years at The French Laundry were probably the most spectacular that anyone could ever hope for: during this time the restaurant accumulated awards upon awards unlike any other: Anani was part of the effort to pursue, attain and sustain these recognitions:
• World’s Best Restaurant Award: San Pellegrino’s Restaurant Magazine
• Four stars review from The San Francisco Chronicle
• Zagat Reviews highest restaurant rating for the Bay area.
• The prestigious Grand Award from the Wine Spectator Magazine
• Five Diamond designation by Forbes Magazine (previously AAA Mobil)
• Guide Michelin three star award, since 2006
Anani has the fortune to work with a talented group of chefs and sommeliers from whom he garnered a strong work ethic, personal service, wine service at the highest level and dedication.
In October 2010, Anani was hired and was Sommelier for Per Se in NYC where he lived fulltime for two and a half years. During his time with the Per Se team, the restaurant has received the best review from Zagat, James Beard Award for Outstanding service and The New York Times in his review deemed Per Se “The best restaurant in New York City”.
Time permitting Anani conducts wine country tours in California, sharing his vast network of wineries and relationships.
Related Event: The Fall Wine Event & Marketplace