Chef, Sommelier, Restaurateur, Entrepreneur, Winemaker—each of these titles represent the various milestones throughout Stephen Asprinio’s 20-year career in the hospitality industry. Stephen began his culinary training at the age of 14. He then went on to work with some of the top restaurateurs and chefs in the country, including Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto at Nobu in New York City, Drew Nieporent at Lucca in the Boca Resort & Club, and Chef Michael Mina at NobHill in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino as Wine Director. He also oversaw two wine programs at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas when he was 22 years old. At the age of 26, Stephen opened his first restaurant, Forté di Asprinio, a fine dining, contemporary Italian restaurant that received numerous awards and accolades, consequently being named, “One of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants in the United States” by The Gayot Restaurant Guide.
In 2009, Stephen partnered with the premium coffee pioneer, Nestlé Nespresso, and completed the Coffee Sommelier program at the company’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, becoming the first representative and brand ambassador for Nespresso USA. In 2012, he collaborated with Cantina Grotto de Sole in Campania, Italy, and made ‘Finezza di Asprinio’, a non-vintage, extra brut-style sparkling wine from the grape varietal that bears his namesake (Asprinio).
Stephen earned two degrees: one from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, and the other from the Culinary Institute of America, where he continues to serve as a benefactor through his involvement on the Alumni Council and as a member of the Society of Fellows, in addition to delivering the commencement address to the graduating class of May 2013. And in 2014, he was appointed a board member of Cornell University’s Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship. Stephen also holds sommelier certifications from both the Court of Master Sommeliers (certificate level) and the United States Sommelier Association, as well as an apprenticeship at Hermann J. Wiemer Winery in the Finger Lakes.
As an ambassador to the food and wine world, Stephen has appeared on Bravo! Network’s Emmy Award-winning series “Top Chef”, ABC’s “The View” and NBC’s “The Today Show”, and featured in numerous national publications related to food, wine, lifestyle and travel, in addition to various literary contributions. His first book, entitled “Eat & Drink Until You Die: A Man’s Essential Guide to Food, Booze & Entertaining”, is slated for 2016. Stephen currently resides in New York City where his firm, SA Hospitality Enterprises (est. 2007) is based.