Nevada's Only Female Certified Cicerone Makes History At Mandalay Bay

Following the success of naming Susan Wolfla as the first female Executive Chef of a property on the Las Vegas Strip, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino is once again making history by housing the only female cicerone in the state of Nevada. Director of Food & Beverage Sarah Johnson recently completed the extensive exam, earning the title Certified Cicerone® which designates an expertise in “selecting, acquiring and serving today’s wide range of beers.” Only those that have passed the thorough exam can call themselves a Cicerone.

The Hotel at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas
THEhotel at Mandalay Bay Las Vegas

What started as an avid love for beer and a curiosity of home brewing quickly blossomed into a keen understanding of the complexity of the ancient beverage and its versatility as a pairing. To gain this distinctive title, Johnson, whose background is in culinary arts, committed herself to a year of extensive research. She successfully completed a two-hour short-answer essay on the style, history and process of brewing beer followed by an hour-long blind tasting exam correctly identifying styles and flavors. She is now one of only 525 Certified Cicerones in the world.

“It gives us great pride to have Sarah on the team,” said Sean DiCicco, vice president of Food & Beverage at Mandalay Bay. “We’re committed to fostering the growth of our employees and in turn expanding the resort experience for our guests. Sarah is an excellent example of that pledge.”

Johnson added, “I’m looking forward to escalating Mandalay Bay’s beer program through expanded offerings and pairing dinners that will bring together chefs, brewers and lovers of great beer.”

In addition to her daily Financial Planning & Analysis responsibilities, Johnson is working closely with Mandalay Bay’s Food & Beverage team to develop a more expansive beer list throughout the property. She aims to develop a strong beer culture at Mandalay Bay making it a destination for beer connoisseurs from around the world.

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Bill Cody is an entertainment, technology and luxury travel reporter in Las Vegas. He reports on celebrities, events, tech, food, Las Vegas and luxury travel.

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