Rising Star Sommelier Brian Kane of Zahav - Biography

Philadelphia, PA

February 2013

Brian Kane has Italy to thank for his career. But it wasn’t a transcendent bottle of Barolo or vineyard visits in the hills of Tuscany that inspired him—it was a beautiful woman, who made fun of his cheap wine-swilling habits. The derision ended when she introduced nicer bottles to the college-age Kane, and he in turn started to love good wine.

The study abroad program ended, so did the relationship, but wine stuck. Working as a back waiter as he attended college at Loyola University Chicago, Kane moved to the beverage side of the business at X/O under the tutelege of Sommelier Amy Lewis. He then moved to Avenues at the Peninsula Hotel, where he expanded his skill set but soon grew weary of the stuffy fine-dining scene. Taking a chance on Philadelphia, Kane signed on to become a server at Michael Solomonov’s Zahav. He soon rose through the front-of-house ranks to become manager and beverage director—a job that would give him the chance to pair wines with James Beard Award-winning food in the relaxed atmosphere he craved.

Kane believes that wine and food that come from the same place make for a glorious match. In keeping Zahav’s Israeli menu, Kane manages one of the largest selections of Middle Eastern wines in the country, and he rounds out his list with more esoteric varietals and killer cocktails. His program at Zahav embodies of the quality and good fun that launched and continue to sustain his career in wine, and it earned him a 2013 StarChefs.com Philadelphia Rising Stars Sommelier Award.