Welcome to WORD OF MOUTH with Leiti Hsu on HeritageRadioNetwork.org! Leiti, a fixture in NYC dining culture, is joined by in-studio guest #PEOPLEWELIKE Yannick Benjamin, founder of Wine on Wheels. Funds raised help people with disabilities live life in the present by empowering them to pursue higher education, wine, sports, and that impeccable #HighandTight haircut that Yannick is so known for in the NYC wine community. You can find him somm-ing at the University Club and working weekends at Le Du’s Wines in the West Village.

Yannick grew up in a restuarant family and so was intent on building his career early on at the likes of Le Cirque, Felidia, Oceana, and at the Ritz-Carlton. Coming home from work on October 27, 2003, at the age of 25, he was injured in a car accident on the West Side Highway. Paralyzed from the waist down, he found strength and support from wine and family to continue pursuing his career. After a whole lot of rejection, he met one fellow who believed in him and began working for Jean Luc Le Du (former Head Sommelier for Daniel Boulud’s restaurants) at Le Du’s Wines. Now, he’s also back on the service floor as the only somm in wheels we know. We’ll also catch up on Yannick’s love life and his weekly haircut and daily gym (tan, laundry) routine.

At the top of the hour, we head over to the two-Michelin star, three-NYTimes star Atera to talk to chef-partner Matt Lightner; you’d get 20 courses at his tasting menu restaurant. Off work though, Matt loves watching football, and we’ll talk what he’s cooking for the Super Bowl.

To #WINEedDown, we’ll get serendaded by crooner-sommelier Tanner Walle as he says goodbye to six years at Terroir in the East Village.

Tweet at #WOMshow @leitihsu.

Thanks to our sponsor, The International Culinary Center. Music by takstar.


photo via Wheeling Forward

“A lot of organizations are about finding the cure; we’re about finding the now. We’re trying to give people a reason to live in ‘the now.'” [22:35]

Yannick Benjamin on WORD OF MOUTH of Leiti Hsu