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Matthew Citriglia has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality and beverage industry, which began by stocking beer, wine, and soda at the age of fourteen at his father’s beverage store. His broad-based skills include retail ownership, winery sales ambassador, restaurant service and beverage management as well as wholesale management, sales and marketing. Currently, Matt is the Director of Education for Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits Florida. Matt became a member of the Court of Master Sommelier, Americas in 2002 and has served on the Board of Directors since 2004. He has chaired multiple committees and has been deeply involved with the creation and development of examination and education programs offered by Court of Master Sommelier, Americas. Matt is regularly asked to lecture on a variety of beverage topics; helps coordinate and administer the Court of Master Sommelier exams and mentors numerous students attempting to pass the MS exam. He created series of training seminars geared toward motivating and educating wait staff as well as an innovative online e-learning server-training program. Matt’s passion for the beverage industry is infectious and highly motivational. When he is not traveling or speaking, he spends his time defying gravity on a yoga mat and drinking Champagne from a flute.
Luciano Sperduto, Director of Food & Beverage at the WDW Swan & Dolphin Hotel, grew up in an Italian household strong in tradition. As a child, Luciano spent early fall making wine with his parents and grandparents, and has had a strong passion for wine ever since. He became certified as a Sommelier in 2003 and Beverage Alcohol Certified in 2007 (the equivalent of a sommelier for spirits).
Chef Daniel “Dan” Herman brings a wealth of experience in the food and beverage industry to his position as the Executive Chef for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Prior to his current position,he served as the Executive Sous Chef for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. In addition to his wealth of culinary knowledge Chef Herman holds a level of understanding and appreciation for the products he uses that few others do. In his free-time he raises and cares for his own livestock on his at his personal farm. At heart, Herman is a true farm-to-table chef.
Kristian Laplante, Director of Restaurants at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin is driven by his passion and curiosity for the ever expanding world of wine. Possessing a thoroughly Italian upbringing, he embraced his love of food and wine at an early age. As a boy, he was stomping grapes with his grandmother in Naples, learning about the rich traditions of Italian wine culture from the start! This eventually led to him becoming a Certified Sommelier in 2003.
Kristian has created an enjoyable class that breaks down misperceptions about Italian wine and makes it easy to demystify this ancient art. He will guide you through the fascinating and complex marriage of food and wine, Italian style!
Ariel Bruckner, General Manager of Bluezoo, has been a certified sommelier since 2013. Since earning her Certified Sommelier she has fallen love with the world of wine and spirits. Ariel enjoys learning about the classics as well as new and upcoming trends for cocktails and spirits.
Ariel will be teaching “Craft Cocktails”, a new class that will breakdown the different components and ingredients of traditional cocktails into simplified steps and do-it-yourself recipes. “Creating a great cocktail doesn’t have to be overly complex, it all comes down to good ingredients in the right proportions.”
As Event Manager for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, Joe O’Donnell enjoys the unique challenges and opportunities each convention brings. When not managing events, Joe can often be found sampling the varied selections of sake available at Kimono’s restaurant. Prior to his career at the resort, Joe lived in Nara, Japan and it was here that his passion for sake truly began. He became a certified sake expert in 2017.
In this action packed seminar, guests will learn through tasting various types of sake whilst preparing their own sushi. Let’s enjoy this fun, hands on course to learn quality sushi and sake pairings.
Brian Exner, General Manager of Il Mulino has been a Certified Sommelier since 2009. Working in many beverage heavy restaurants at the resort has brought his passion to a new level. Over the years he has become very intrigued about the history and culture of beer and has continually strived to increase his knowledge of beer and the overall brewing process.
In this class he will break down the styles of beer and showcase their unique history and flavor profile. This will be his 2nd year teaching the “Beer Please” seminar and he has a strong desire to pass on to others what he has learned during his 16 years in the food and beverage industry.
DJ Robertson, Food & Beverage Purchasing Manager at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin, enjoys sharing his passion for home brewing and knowledge of beers with beer aficionados and those relatively new to the art of beer tasting, alike. After learning the craft of home brewing from his father, DJ decided to delve into this hobby and has experimented with several different styles of beer including chocolate porters, American style ales, and Scottish export ales. In addition, DJ is BarSmarts Advanced certified and is currently studying to take the sommelier exam. DJ's favorite craft brew at the moment is Rogue Chocolate Stout.
Olivier Zambaux, Director of Banquets at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin, engages his audiences as he transports them to his home region of Champagne, France; sharing his passion, Champagne. Born and raised in the birthplace of Dom Perignon, Sainte Menehould, Olivier was surrounded by the history and culture of the region which is known worldwide for sparkling wine. Since coming to the United States, Olivier has became a Certified Sommelier and continues to expand his knowledge of wine and champagne through continued learning, research and in educating others.