Continuing to build upon his innate passion for wine, Beteta’s knowledge and understanding of wine has only continued to lead him deeper into the worlds of service, culture, and history.
Master Sommelier, Fernando Beteta, is quite humble about what he has achieved in a relatively short period of time. A native of Guatemala, Beteta spent a good chunk of his childhood living in the United States as both his parents worked for international hotel groups. They moved back when he as a teenager, to run their own Restaurants, La Fonda de la Calle Real in Antigua. Eventually deciding to follow a similar path, Beteta set off to study hotel management in both Florence and the prestigious Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne; apprenticing in some of the top hotels and restaurants in Europe and Thailand. With a gift for languages (he speaks four) and degrees in hand, he began building his career.
It wasn’t until Beteta was working as a restaurant manager for the Grand Award winning The Dining Room Ritz Carton (Four Seasons Hotel) in Chicago that he caught the wine bug. When the sommelier position at NoMI opened up, he took the job and made the decision to change his career direction and go for his masters. From the first level test in 2003 to the final exam, Beteta achieved his Master Sommelier degree in six years. .
As Wine Director of NoMI at the Park Hyatt Chicago, he oversaw the wine cellar that contains over 10,000 bottles of wine. He has been named Best Young Sommelier Midwest by l’Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and took First Runner Up for The Best Sommelier in America Competition, ASA in 2009. Master Beteta received the Rising Star Sommelier for Chicago from Star Chefs in 2006 and was named one of America’s Best New Sommeliers in 2007 by Wine & Spirits magazine. He was a frequent contributor to the “Don and Roma Morning Show” on Chicago’s WLS radio station, Wine Spectator’s “Wine Talk,” and the Sommelier Journal. He was on Crain’s Chicago Business’s list of “40 under 40,” and was named Guatemala’s Person of the Year in 2009 within the hospitality and restaurant industry.
Beteta continues to believe that being a sommelier is more of a lifestyle than a job, and is a frequent traveler and observer of the world. He currently is working with Ken Fredrickson, MS in a new Wine & Spirits Distribution company in Chicago. He hopes that his next project will bring him closer to his hometown in Guatemala, where he may look into the possibilities of producing rum with his wife, Ann and their dog, Bella.