Formerly chef sommelier and wine buyer for Chef Ferran Adrià’s highly regarded Elbulli, and now wine director for José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup, restaurants Lucas Paya is an internationally recognized sommelier.
Lucas Paya is Wine Director for José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup where he oversees the wine program for all ThinkFoodGroup restaurants in Washington, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles and opening in 2012, the SLS Hotel South Beach and Dorado Beach, a Ritz Carlton Reserve. In collaboration with chef José Andrés, Lucas is responsible for developing and evolving wine menus and projects.
Prior to being named Wine Director, Lucas oversaw the development of the beverage program at China Poblano, Jaleo by José Andrés and é by José Andrés at The Cosmopolitan Hotel of Las Vegas as well as for The Bazaar by José Andrés, Saam and Tres at the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills. Lucas worked closely with José Andrés to develop a unique beverage program for each new concept, which also marked the expansion of ThinkFoodGroup restaurants outside the Washington, DC area. Under his direction of the beverage program, The Bazaar by José Andrés experienced extraordinary success and received a rare four–star rating from the Los Angeles Times making it a premier dining destination.
Lucas is an internationally recognized sommelier, having worked with some of the most respected figures in the food and beverage industry. For nearly 5 years Lucas served as Chef Sommelier and Wine Buyer for world–famous chef Ferran Adrià’s highly esteemed restaurant elBulli in Catalonia, Spain, where he also first met José Andrés. As Chef Sommelier and Wine Buyer, Lucas managed the restaurant’s wine business, as well as the wine business for the restaurant’s associated Hotel in Seville, Spain. With a wine inventory of 20,000 bottles from all over the world, elBulli’s wine list is highly regarded as one of the best in the world.
Previously, Lucas has worked as a brand and public relations representative for European Cellars, a highly respected U.S. importer of hand-selected wines from France, Spain and Portugal. In this position, Mr. Paya built relationships with sommeliers in several states and has positioned wine brands in top accounts. Additionally Lucas served as Chef Sommelier and Wine Buyer for the Sanderson Hotel in London. In this position, Lucas managed the overall wine buying activities for the hotel including its bars and room service and led a small team of sommeliers. Prior to this, Mr. Paya was Manager Assistant and Bartender at La Vinya del Senyor, the most famous wine bar in Barcelona, with a wine list featuring over 300 varieties.
An expert in sparkling wines and champagnes, Lucas is a member of the prestigious L’Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne, a distinguished French champagne society that promotes the wines of the Champagne region and preserves their reputation. His wine recommendations have received mention in Spain Gourmet Tour published every four months in four different languages, Wine from Spain News, The Boston Globe, ElMundo–ElDia, and La Revista, among others. He has also appeared in Wine Spectator.
Originally from Barcelona Spain, Lucas studied Hotel Management at the Restauració de Barcelona, one of Spain’s premier hospitality schools.