As someone who considers himself a world traveler, it would be natural to think Pechanga Resort Casino’s new sommelier, Mark Amodeo, would have picked up a lot of his oenophile knowledge while on the road.
He started out as a stiltwalker, skydiver and Infantry paratrooper. Amodeo is the first person to ever fill this role for the west coast’s largest resort-casino. A native of Wales, Amodeo’s first foray into wine began with him tending bar as an 18-year old in in his hometown of Cardiff stating “There you only had three choices – white (sweet or dry) and red,” he recounts.
He first came to the U.S. during a third-year college internship with Walt Disney World in Florida. He graduated from the Disney University and returned to Britain to finish his fourth year at University of Huddersfield in North England. Commencing with honors and a business degree in hospitality, he quickly became a manager within a popular restaurant chain. It was not long before he packed his bags and set course for Chicago.
Hired at ¡Salpicon!, a fine-dining Mexican restaurant, Amodeo gleaned reams of food and wine smarts from the establishment’s owners. He later moved over to Bin 36, a popular restaurant, wine bar and shopping concept that eventually opened three locations in Chicago. Afterwards, Amodeo moved to Ohio where he helped open a Chicago-style fine dining restaurant, lending his Certified Sommelier and restaurant management expertise to the project. He also enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard as an Infantry paratrooper.
After a decade in Ohio, the sunny skies and vineyards of Southern California beckoned Amodeo and his wife. He jumped in and landed the newly initiated sommelier job at Pechanga for which he says, “I am so grateful and appreciative. It’s my goal to work in concert with the robust food and beverage team, and bring real value to them and to the myriad of guests looking to increase their familiarity with wines.”
For more information, call 877.711.2946 or visit Pechanga.com