Partner and Director of Wine and Service Belinda Chang brings her James Beard Award-winning wine expertise and fun-loving personality to Maple & Ash, the Gold Coastâ€™s modern Chicago-style steakhouse. Changâ€™s culinary career began at Chicagoâ€™s Charlie Trotterâ€™s, starting as a food runner in 1997 and ascending the ranks to sommelier and then wine director in 1999. The young sommelier wrote wine notes for Charlie Trotterâ€™s Meat and Game cookbook, and led the restaurant to earn Wine Spectatorâ€™s Grand Award in 2000, 2001, and 2002.
Chang then moved on to San Franciscoâ€™s Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning Fifth Floor alongside chef Laurent Gras, at which she earned accolades including 7x7 Magazineâ€™s â€œTop 20 People Under 40â€ in 2003, San Francisco Magazineâ€™s Criticâ€™s Choice Wine Director of the Year in 2004, and a nomination for the James Beard Foundationâ€™s Outstanding Wine Service award.
Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group beckoned Chang back to Chicago in 2004, to lead wine and service for Osteria Via Stato and Big Bowl, helping earn Chicago Magazineâ€™s Best New Restaurant award in 2005. She went on to work with chef Rick Tramonto as corporate director of wine and spirits for Cenitare, launching four concepts and writing wine notes for The Osteria Cookbook and Fantastico!
The sommelier then set her sights on The Big Apple and joined THE MODERN, at which she earned James Beardâ€™s Outstanding Wine Service award. By 2013, with 10 restaurant openings under her belt, Chang shifted gears to fill the role of Champagne educator for MoÃ«t Hennessy and launch the West Village Wine Collective.
Throughout her career, Chang has contributed wine notes for numerous publications and authored articles for the likes of The Atlantic, Chicago Magazine, and Sommelier Journal. She has also appeared as a Champagne and cocktail expert on CNBC, Bloomberg News, Fox News, and Martha Stewart Radio, and has presented Food & Wineâ€™s Taste of Beverly Hills and Aspen Classic. Additional recognitions include MoÃ«tâ€™s Presidentâ€™s Team Award for Champagne Strategy in 2014, Food & Wineâ€™s â€œBest New Wine Lists of 2007â€ for Osteria di Tramonto, Oprah Magazineâ€™s â€œNine of the Worldâ€™s Top Women Vintners,â€ and multiple nominations for the Jane Banchet Sommelier of the Year award.