Premier Crew 2013

                     From left to right- Romano Castillo, Mini Ellis, Jaime Lauder, Samantha Rahn, Ike Seaman
                                                                     Illustrations: John Burgoyne


At 19, Miki Ellis turned to the study of sake and fell in love. As sake specialist at both Minami and Miku (and the world’s youngest certified sake pro), she loves the liquor’s depth and versatility, but not in all forms: “Hot sake shots are poison!”

Since his first industry gig at Market at the Shangri-La, Romano Castillo has perfected his style-disarming yet professional-at Gastown’s neighbourly L’Abattoir. Under the tutelage of owner Paul Grunberg, Castillo has quickly become one of the city’s best maître d’s.

From humble beginnings in the hospitality business (peeling potatoes in his parents’ Summerville, Nova Scotia, fish ‘n’ chips stand), Ike Seaman of Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn has worked tirelessly, rising since 1996 from server to food and beverage director.

“I treat people how I like to be treated,” says CinCin server and assistant wine director Jamie Lauder. “And I can’t do anything more than that.” His passion for food and wine follows him home, where he and his wife are always cooking.

Samantha Rahn, our Sommelier of the Year, arrived at Whistler’s Araxi in 2007. When it comes to working the room, hers is a wholesome philosophy: “Listening to your guests and getting them exactly what they want, rather than a wine you just want to sell, is most important.”