In 2007, Cassandra began her serious pursuit of a formal wine education and career in hospitality. She has earned immense restaurant management and wine buying experience, as well as multiple industry credentials to date.
Cassandra holds the Certified Sommelier from the Court of Master Sommeliers, Certified Specialist of Wine from the Society of Wine Educators, California Wine Appellation Specialist (with honors) from the San Francisco Wine School, Certified Sake Professional from the Sake Education Council and the WSET II Certificate (with Merit) from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust of London, and she is currently pursuing the Advanced Certificate. She also graduated first in her class from the San Francisco School of Bartending.
She has lent her time and talent as an event Sommelier to Full Circle Wine Solutions and SF Chef Food & Wine and as a consulting wine instructor to SF Mixology.
Cassandra is most recently known for her nearly 5 year tenure with Hakkasan Group where she began as a Sommelier at Hakkasan San Francisco in 2013. She ascended through the ranks, next as the Divisional Beverage Manager for their newly acquired 'Fabric of Social Dining' restaurant concepts to then becoming the Director of Wine for Hakkasan Restaurants (US), overseeing the wine programs for all Hakkasan US restaurant concepts, with her last position being Assistant Director of Corporate Beverage (US).
Prior to Hakkasan, she had the distinct pleasure of managing the wine and beverage programs of some premier San Francisco Bay Area establishments, including serving as Wine & Beverage Director for Michelin Star Chef Roland Passot's 'Left Bank Restaurant Group' and as Beverage Manager/Sommelier at 'Los Altos Golf & Country Club'.
Her restaurant operations savvy led her to the helm of both Michelin Star Chef Daniel Patterson's 'Plum' and Jay Foster's 'Farmer Brown' as General Manager. She was able to offer her special touch for hospitality and wine education in the intimate setting of Chateau Montelena's San Francisco's tasting room at the Westin St. Francis, was wine buyer and Sommelier at 'Barrique Wine Bar' in Jackson Square and was on the opening team of 'ENO Wine Bar' in Union Square.
She has proudly worked with 5 different Michelin Star Chefs at different stages of their careers and has served on the advisory board of the Academy of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts for the San Francisco Unified School District. She has also been featured in numerous industry blog articles and publications, including The Tasting Panel and The SOMM Journal magazines.
In her not so spare time, she consults under the guise of the "The Chocolate Grape", where she offers her Sommelier expertise and wine education to the hospitality industry and the private sector, and she is also a recent inductee of La Chaîne des Rotisseurs. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi, and she has judged wine competitions professionally since 2008.