Born in Chicago, Mark Bright has been passionate about wine since he went to Europe at the age of 15. At 17, he starting working at Aqua Restaurant in the Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas, while attending the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he studied Food and Beverage Management. At UNLV Mark was the President of the Wine Club and helped organize many events to benefit the school. He joined the Bellagio Sommelier team on his 21st birthday, working on the floor at Aqua Restaurant.
In 2004, Rajat Parr, the wine director for Michael Mina’s restaurants, invited Bright to be the opening sommelier for one of the biggest restaurant openings in San Francisco’s recent history – Restaurant Michael Mina. Bright fell in love with San Francisco’s diverse culture and cuisine and found many people who shared his passion for food and wine. During his time at Michael Mina, Bright also assisted in the wine programs at many of Mina’s restaurants including Arcadia in San Jose, Sea Blue and Nob Hill at MGM Grand Las Vegas, and Stonehill Tavern at the St. Regis Monarch Bay.
Bright’s consulting business has worked with many restaurants and chefs throughout the Bay Area, including, Dosa, Circa, Cosmopolitan, Lingba, Oola, Pampas in Palo Alto, Sushi Groove, Home Restaurant, and 111 Minna. In 2007, Bright opened his first restaurant, Local Kitchen and Wine Merchant in San Francisco, as a co-owner. The development of this location was exciting and revolutionary, combining a wine merchant, wine bar and restaurant. In addition to Bright’s consulting business, he was also a sommelier with the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay, working in the restaurant Novia and the Ritz Carlton’s wine program.
Knowing that the best wine professionals in the industry are ones who know there is always more to learn, Bright continues his exploration and study of wine. His studies and travels have taken him throughout the wine regions of South America, Australia, South Africa, Europe, United States, China, and the sake breweries of Japan.