Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group announced the recent promotion of Jessica Norris to director of wine education for all three brands: Del Frisco’s Grille, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, and Sullivan’s Steakhouse. Known for her engaging and playful approach to wine, Norris will uphold Del Frisco’s award-winning reputation for wine to further enrich the guest experience.
In this newly created role, Norris will focus on sharing her knowledge of wine with the various Del Frisco’s teams by crafting educational materials and leading on-site training sessions, curating new content to enhance already existing lists and stewarding the company’s relationship with the Court of Master Sommeliers to increase the number of front-of-house staff who are wine certified. Named as one of Wine Enthusiast’s 2015 Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers in America, Norris will continue to display her impressive talent and taste for wine by determining content for the wine lists at new and existing Del Frisco’s Grille locations. In addition, her focuses will continue keeping staff education a top-priority as Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group reimburses the wine certifications for all staff interested in further enhancing wine knowledge to ultimately provide for better guest interaction.
“Jessica Norris brought an unparalleled enthusiasm to our wine program from the minute she became a sommelier,” says Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group CEO Mark S. Mednansky. “I know that with her energetic, fun and passionate leadership style and extensive knowledge in the industry, she will continue to push this company’s wine culture to new heights.”
Norris’ career thus far is indicative of her development into this role. Hailing from Seattle, Norris moved to New York to pursue a Masters in Opera Performance and began working part-time as a server at the Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House New York. She soon discovered a passion for wine and quickly rose through the ranks to become one of four female sommeliers at Del Frisco’s New York and later the leader of the restaurant’s $8 million wine program. In her role as wine director, she curated a list of over 2,300 selections and quickly became known for her out-of-the-box wine pairings and extensive knowledge of lesser-known varietals and regions. She also launched a series of weekly classes to educate her staff on the extensive wine list and the importance of wine from a server’s perspective to further enhance the guest experience.
“I am thrilled to be embarking on this journey with a company that values wine education,” Norris says. “Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group’s thriving wine program has fed my passion from the beginning and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with the front-of-house staff at all three concepts.”