Fernando Beteta
At the Park Hyatt Hotel
800 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 239-4030

Biography »

Antoinette Bruno: What is your oldest wine memory?
Fernando Beteta: One of my oldest memories was in Italy when I was 18 years old at a lunch for the best friend of my father. I tried a 1992 Tignallo (a Super Tuscan). It beats every other wine I’ve ever had.

AB: How did you develop an interest in wine?
FB: Through my parents. My father is a chef. He and my mother own restaurants in Guatemala. My grandfather is a wine maker and has a wine shop. I love geography and culture.

AB: Where have you worked previously?
FB: At the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton with Sarah Stegner. In Thailand at the Royal Meridian Resort, and in Rome at the Hotel Eden.

AB: What is your philosophy on wine and food?
FB: I like simple, fun pairings. I believe in the marriage of food and wine. With seafood, I’ll choose a wine with high acid as a compliment, as you usually like lemon with fish.

AB: Do you favor Old World or New World wines?
FB: Old World – for their elegance and greater complexity. I tend to stick to classics and believe in terroir, a representation of the place where they are made.

AB: What are your ultimate career goals?
FB: To become a Master Sommelier, running my own restaurant or working in an award-winning restaurant.


Fernando Beteta
NOMI | Chicago

A native of Guatemala, Fernando Beteta has a long history of experience in the travel and hospitality industry, having learned from his father, a chef and restaurant owner in Antigua. He is also the great grandson of Italian winemakers. After attending the L’Ecole Hotelier de Lausanne in Switzerland, Fernando worked in Rome, Florence, Sardinia and Thailand. Prior to his current position at NoMi, Beteta served as a sommelier at The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago. At the age of 29 he is already an Advanced Sommelier, having passed the exam on the first try, and he is currently studying for the Court of Master Sommeliers. A devotee of the elegance and complexity of Old World wines, Fernando looks for the perfect marriage of food and wine.


Fernando Beteta's Musings on Food and Wine

I’ve been in love with food and wine since I can remember. My mom would make me help her in the kitchen in our family run restaurant in Guatemala and my dad would put in with the dishwashers when it got busy.

I learned hospitality through them and their passion to delight guests that walked through the door. Good service, better food and a warm ambiance was the their recipe for success. Our wine list, the largest in town, was only 25 labels. Antigua, Guatemala didn’t have much of a choice when I was growing up. South America and Spanish wines were about it on most lists.

My grandparents were Italian so there was always something nice at their table when we came over. I remember a bottle of 1978 Châteauneuf-du-Pape my uncle served with lunch when I was 14 that got me excited about wine.

Years later I was sent to Italy to study restaurant management and follow in my father’s footsteps. I became fluent in Italian, French, Spanish and basic German while spending over 6 years abroad. My first formal wine training was in Lausanne, Switzerland. That’s when I knew I could make this part of my career.

I’ve been in Chicago for only 4 years and working with award-winning wine lists. I had no clue about California wine when I first came here, besides the 2 most famous ones you could find in Europe.

I guess I’m a New-Old-World kind of guy, with my heart in Europe and my desire to explore the New World, too. My wine pairing tips usually go in that same direction. I want my guests to be challenged and introduced to wines they’ve never tried before.

The reward is when you find a pairing or a wine you love; it will change your life forever.


   Published: November 2005