amy payne

Cheeky's Master Sommelier

Amy’s passion for words began as meager diary entries and progressed into reading the Thesaurus as a pastime and taking college-level English courses in high school. She is currently enrolled in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism of Northwestern University. She fell in love with wine, food and the culture surrounding them while studying abroad in Paris in 2006 with San Diego State University. A native to sunny San Diego, Amy is an equal opportunity drinker. She met her first worthy cocktail when she moved to Chicago in June 2009 and has been exploring the city one Manhattan at a time ever since. A self-proclaimed foodie and Francophile, Amy has never met a spirit, wine or food that she wouldn’t try, at least once. She comes from a background of fine dining and is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommelier program. She placed as a bronze medalist in the TOP|SOMM competition in April 2010, won an educational enrichment program to Bordeaux in August 2010, passed service and tasting of the Advanced Level Exam in October 2010 and was most recently the Wine Director at L2O, a three Michelin Star-awarded restaurant. Amy will commence a three-month internship at Decanter Magazine in London in January 2012. Her goal is to work for an epicurean magazine and develop an educational documentary series about wine. She balances her time between graduate school, training for her first marathon, yoga, spending quality time with her girlfriends, exploring new restaurants, cooking, reading the latest Chelsea Handler book, playing guitar, and writing a blog with Michelin-awarded Chef Jason McLeod and a wine column for RMGT Magazine. Amy is a hopeful romantic and loves a good chick flick, believes in taking risks, is always in search of the perfect pair of pumps and puts her friends and family before anything else. Email Amy at

Become an Equal Opportunity Drinker with Amy (Past Articles)

favorite dessert:

"Besides chocolate... stinky cheese with truffle honey."

guilty pleasure: