Zoltan Szabo: Raising the Glass in
780 Eglington Ave. West, Suite 508
Toronto ON M5N 1E9
By Jim Clarke
Zoltan Szabo can’t keep wine to himself.
After working his way up through restaurant life in his adopted
home of Toronto, Zoltan now works together with Chef Tonia Wilson
running their company Savour, which gives him the freedom to work
the floor at their own events as well as consulting and teaching
about wine in a variety of other contexts.
Zoltan came to Canada ten years ago, bringing with him a love
of wine rooted in his experiences growing up in the Carpathian
Mountains, where his parents made wine. He continued his study
of wine while working in restaurants, eventually earning a certification
from the International Sommeliers Guild and accolades from several
Canadian newspapers and Wine Spectator. The wine list he created
and oversees for Il Mulino has been singled out repeatedly for
its variety; while it centers on Italian wines to match the restaurant’s
fare, it also includes a large, varied, and well-chosen selection
of Canadian wines, and other picks from New and Old World alike.
Some selections from Hungary touch on his roots and early taste
Savour, Zoltan’s newest project, gives him great latitude
in his work. Its focus is on catering small events – two
to 20 people – with wine selection, consultation, and even
tastings as part of the package. In-home cooking classes and wine
tutorials are also part of their portfolio, as are corporate events.
Within the restaurant industry they also help develop menus and
winelists; staff training, cellar management, and controlling
costs – the behind-the-scenes aspect of sommeliering –
are not left out. And when Zoltan wants to get away for a bit,
he leads wine tours through Eastern Europe, the Niagara region,
and the U.S.
Zoltan hasn’t stopped developing his skills and knowledge.
In November he was a finalist in the Best in Ontario Sommelier
Championship, and he has set 2005 as the year to begin the Independent
Wine Education Guild’s Diploma Program. His eye is fixed
on eventually adding the prestigious initials “MS”
after his name. As if he weren’t busy enough already.