Yannick Benjamin comes from a family active in the restaurant business. A visit to Chateau Giscours winery at age 13 inspired Yannick to get involved with wine.
Beginning as a waiter at Bryant Park Grill when he was 16 years old Yannick then moved onto being a waiter at Le Cirque 2000, Oceana, Jean Georges, and Atlas. In February 2003, Yannick became Sommelier at Felidia while also serving as Assistant Sommelier at Atelier at the Ritz Carlton. Yannick’s wine training includes coursework at American Sommelier and Court of Master Sommelier’s advanced class.
In October 2003, a car accident left Yannick paralyzed below the waist, so he quickly adapted, outfitting his wheelchair with a table that allows him to continue to perform the tasks of a sommelier. Yannick emphasizes that remaining humble and being able to fully read the customers’ needs are key.
A competitor in several New York Marathons, Yannick has also participated in sommelier competitions throughout the world. A competitor in the 2007 and 2009 Best Sommelier in America competitions, Yannick is looking forward to this year’s event.