Posted September 19, 2014

We’ve Uncorked a Kimpton Scholarship

Kimpton Buzz

Rosa Maria Villanueva

Rosa Maria Villanueva is heading from the kitchen to the cellar.

What will a teenage summer adventure in Europe get you? Besides a sunburn, a few hangovers, and some treasured memories that you may or may not be willing to share with your parents, that is? (By the way, LiS is in no way endorsing underage drinking … but c’mon, it’s Europe.)

In the case of Rosa Maria Villanueva, a trip to Europe with her brother back in ’03 provided exposure to a culinary world that inspired her to pursue a career in cooking. Originally from Mexico City, she ended up earning her toque at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in San Francisco. And for the last eight years, she has found herself in kitchens from Mexico to Spain, including a stint at acclaimed Betelnut in San Francisco.

But Rosa Maria’s culinary curiosity got the better of her again, and she set her eyes on a different path: sommelier.

And this is where we come in. We’ve uncorked a Kimpton scholarship.

We joined up with Golden Gate Restaurant Association, a nonprofit trade group that serves the San Francisco restaurant industry, to assist in furthering her career. So Kimpton and the GGRA are helping to send Rosa Maria to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (famous for its imposing Hogwarts–like campus in the heart of Napa) to get her wine and beverage certification.


Napa’s Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. Muggles need not apply.

This is nothing new for the GGRA — they’ve been offering scholarships for deserving students through their Scholarship Foundation since 1968 — but it’s the first time we’ve participated. And we couldn’t be more proud to support Rosa Maria and her burgeoning career.

She admits to seeing the nerve-wracking documentary Somm, about the quest of four sommeliers to pass the Master Sommelier exam, one of the world’s toughest tests (our own Master Sommelier Emily Wines appears in the film). But Rosa Maria’s undaunted by the prospect and committed to pursuing her dream.

And what’s her dream? To open her own wine bar with fabulous small-plate offerings, a neighborhood vibe, and maybe even some live music.

We’ll drink to that.


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One Comment

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