After graduating from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, I opened my first restaurant, Turback’s of Ithaca, at the tender age of 22. The restaurant’s mission combined inventiveness, passionate cooking with local ingredients, and the novel concept of a wine list with exclusively New York regional wines, an achievement recognized nationally. I was a locavore before the term existed; my loyalty to small local farmers and use of seasonal local produce helped to spark the local food movement. Wine tasting events and wine dinners inspired interest in a new generation of local wines. Wine Enthusiast Magazine named Turback’s “one of the wine-friendliest restaurants in America” and the restaurant was awarded “Best American Wine List” by Restaurant Business Magazine.
As an award-winning author, cocktail culturalist, mixologist, historian and educator, I've been one of the pioneers of the current renaissance in the art of mixing drinks. Cocktail programs developed in my establishments have influenced the beverage business for over three decades, and I was among the first to revive and re-imagine vintage formulas, influencing a generation of “craft bartenders” and elevating mixology to a culinary art.