Rising Star Wine Director Thomas Pastuszak of The NoMad - Biography

New York, NY

April 2013

New Yorker Thomas Pastuszak got his first taste of the restaurant world in his early teens while helping out at Peconic Lodge, his godfather’s Shelter Island bed and breakfast. Years later, while studying neurobiology and classical piano at Cornell University, Pastuszak worked as a bartender to pay off student loans at Stella’s in Ithaca, New York.

At Stella’s, he loved interacting with guests and helping shape the restaurant’s atmosphere. Pastuszak became so drawn to food and wine that he decided to pursue a career in hospitality instead of medicine. From bartender to bar manager to general manager of both Stella’s and sister restaurant Olivia, by 2009, Pastuszak was made director of operations of the expanding restaurant group. During his time with the company, Pastuszak focused intently on the development of the wine program by building strong relationships with local winemakers in the Finger Lakes and showing his guests the great potential of the region’s wines.

Pastuszak passed the Certified Sommelier exam through the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2010. A few months later, inspired by the work of Chef Tom Colicchio and the team at Colicchio & Sons, Pastuszak applied for a job there and was hired as the restaurant’s wine director. Pastuszak is currently working toward a Master Sommelier certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers, and is committed to sharing his love of great food and wine with everyone he meets. In 2011, Pastuszak became wine director at The NoMad restaurant in New York City. In 2013, Pastuszak was named 2013 StarChefs.com Rising Star Sommelier.