In less than a month’s time, Virginia Santasiero Philip ’89 MS garnered two of the most respected accolades in the food and beverage profession. After passing a series of grueling exams in London, she earned certification as Master Sommelier to become one of only 106 masters worldwide — only 10 of them are women.
Weeks later, she took her skills to New York for a three-day competition sponsored by the American Sommelier Association where she won the title of Best Sommelier of America for 2002 – 2004.
“The back to back triumphs are an extraordinary feat by any standard — it’s almost unheard of,” said Nick Velardo, director of food and beverage at The Breakers Palm Beach in Florida. Philip presides over the resort’s 20,000-bottle collection, oversees its 7,300-bottle Display Wine Cellar and two others on the property, and maintains a list of 1,250 selections for the resort’s L’Escalier restaurant. She has also appeared on The Travel Channel, the Today Show, and the Food Network, and presides over numerous international panels and judging competitions.