Yannick Benjamin is the Head Sommelier of The University Club and a proud New Yorker from Hell’s Kitchen. Born into a family of French restaurateurs, Yannick has worked for many highly regarded restaurants throughout NYC: Le Cirque, Oceana, Jean-Georges, Atlas, Felidia, and Atelier at the Ritz-Carlton. Additionally, he has worked for ten years for Le Du’s Wines, one of the top wine retail stores in Manhattan. In 2003, a car accident left Benjamin paralyzed from the waist down. However, his passion for wine drove him to quickly adapt, outfitting his wheelchair with a table that allowed him to continue working as a sommelier to educate on wine.
Yannick went on to create “Wine on Wheels,” one of New York City’s largest and most exciting wine events. “Wine on Wheels” brings hundreds of esteemed sommeliers together to pour over 180 wines from around the world for noble charity. The event is going on its eighth year. Yannick’s tireless work and innovative vision is bringing awareness and visibility to seldom-heard voices in the wine industry and championing inclusivity.
Yannick Benjamin will bring his energy and passion to East Harlem as he plans on opening his first restaurant, Contento NYC in Spring of 2021. Contento will be a barrier free restaurant where wine and food come together and where they share a story of who they are and where social sustainability will be practiced and where they also plan to utilize their experiences and location to offer enriched programs that will enhance the quality of life for people living with disabilities.