Best Sommelier winner of Vancouver Magazine's 26th Annual Restaurant Awards
Bryant Mao’s wine odyssey began when he arrived on the West Coast from Taiwan in his teens. Funding sommelier studies working as a bar-back at Brix and George, he did what all passionate wine geeks eventually do and headed for Europe. Landing at London’s renowned Chez Bruce in 2008, he honed his craft under another Vancouver legend, head sommelier Terry Threlfall, immersing himself in every facet of pairing a great cellar with Michelin-starred cuisine. At Hawksworth, Mao’s approach to wine service is caring, personal, and calm; he’ll consider your menu choices for a moment, then suggest the perfect bottle or two, his eyes flashing with the pleasure he finds in all he does. Your wine will appear minutes later, presented in an exquisite glass and at an impeccable temperature. Mao curates an ever-evolving list of close to 800 labels; long-established icons, esoteric rarities, and new discoveries from the Cowichan, Okanagan, and Similkameen Valley are served with an equal sense of delight. And when the workday is done, he’ll head out with his wine friends for late-night dumplings or noodles before doing it all again the next day.