2020 New York Rising Star Sommelier Jhonel Faelnar of Atomix

2020 New York Rising Star Sommelier Jhonel Faelnar of Atomix
November 2020

 

Jhonel Faelnar always longed to travel out of his neighborhood in Manila’s Quezon City. He attended Ateneo de Manila University to study management engineering before moving to Osaka, Japan as part of a retail management training program, and his travels instilled a love of food. When he arrived in New York City in 2013, Faelnar enrolled in the International Culinary Center’s intensive sommelier program. During his studies, he also interned in Wine & Spirits magazine’s tasting department and worked the bar at Amali. Even with this workload, he was valedictorian of his class.

After graduation in 2014, One Five Hospitality hired Faelnar to be sommelier at The Fourth American Brasserie and Botequim in Union Square. He juggled the establishments until 2015, when he became a somm at one of the best beverage programs in the city: The NoMad. He stayed until 2018, when he was hired as wine director and sommelier at the Korean fine dining restaurant Atomix, which received two Michelin stars during Faelnar’s tenure. Faelnar designs wine pairings for Rising Stars alum Chef Junghyun Park’s 10-course tasting menu to be playful and approachable, spotlighting the dishes without stealing their thunder. Faelnar was recently recognized as one of Wine Enthusiast’s “40 Under 40 Tastemakers of 2020” and Wine & Spirits’ “Best New Sommelier of New York."