Jessica Erley, Sales
An Engineer with an MBA and ten year’s work experience, Jessica’s true passion lies in food and wine. Turning her attention to what she loves, she now holds an Advanced Certification from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and a Culinary Associate’s Degree from Kendall College.
During culinary school, an internship in the kitchen at the Michelin-starred Sepia with Chef Andrew Zimmerman exposed her to the professional happiness that comes from offering of a great food and wine pairing. Jessica then joined the opening team at City Winery Chicago as a sommelier in addition to leading staff trainings, wine classes, wine dinners, and pairing events. She even put on boots and climbed into a fermentation tank or two.
Jessica is a dynamic representative for Candid Wines, offering intelligent and appropriate selections to on and off-premise customers. Pairings, palates, and budgets are all thoughtfully taken into account. She is as graceful pouring at public events as she is effective at educating restaurant staff.
Jessica is focused on the Chicago and the north and north-western suburbs. She can be reached at email@example.com and 248.231.1770.
Steven Fladung, Sales
Steven started in our industry as a line cook at ‘Dewey’s Other Place’ in Urbana nearly fifteen years ago while working towards a degree in hospitality. From the humblest of beginnings, Steven arrives at Candid Wines most recently having been the Assistant General Manager at Mario Batali’s Baffo here in Chicago. Along the way, he’s worked at Charlie Trotter’s, Lettuce Entertain You’s 2 Michelin star spot, L20, as well as The Elysian, and a small spot Steven helped open, 2 Sparrows.
Steven brings a deep knowledge of what it takes to succeed in some of the very best and most demanding restaurants Chicago has ever known as well as an appreciation for how wine fits into the most comfortable and casual of meals.
Please contact him if you would like a taste of these or anything from our portfolio.
Steven Fladung / 630.306.2966 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Melanson, Sales
Scott brings Candid a world of “big brand” experience having worked in the adult beverage industry for twenty years prior to joining us. His resumé includes sales management and event marketing for Campari, Red Bull, Heineken and Pernod Ricard among many others. A passion for wine, for continuing education, and a desire to work in an entrepreneurial environment lead Scott to Candid and he has quickly grown into a dynamic force on our team.
Scott calls on a wide run of accounts with a focus on the Western Suburbs and larger retailers.
When not working, Scott is most likely to be found either at a local theater as a long-time supporter of the arts, or on a sailboat winning the famous race to Makinac, a feat he and his crew mates have accomplished a remarkable three times!
Scott Melanson / 773.680.3280 / email@example.com
Gillian Casten, Director of Operations
Gillian joined Candid as the Director of Operations with a background in finance, analytics, and entrepreneurship. The three years she worked as a private equity analyst at Fortress Investment Group in New York City provided a rich education, but left her with little time for herself. Trying to stay healthy while working impossibly long hours, she noticed that the quality of exercise classes depended almost entirely on the abilities and skills of the instructor and recognized an opportunity. She left Fortress to launch RateYourBurn.com, a platform that grew to become the largest database of fitness instructor reviews in the United States, attracting half a million monthly visitors.
As her exposure and traffic grew, Gillian recognized that RateYourBurn was, in fact, a “data company with thin veneer of fitness”. She accepted then that she is enamored with spreadsheets, numbers, and analysis and decided in 2014 to return to the Chicagoland area to study supply chain management and operations, where she began consulting to Candid Wines in 2015.
You can find Gillian at the office most days building inventory models, analyzing data, acting as our resident nerd and insisting that all her jokes are funny.
Gillian holds a BA from Cornell University and an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
Francisco Ayala, Warehouse and Deliveries
Francisco “Cisco” Ayala is the man behind the wheel of our delivery van and in many cases the glue that holds our operations together. Much more than just a “driver” Cisco is a valued member of our team whose keen eye helps us keep track of inventory and whose friendly, joyful nature is a pleasure to have as the face of Candid as our wines are rolled into restaurants and retailers around Chicagoland.
Francisco “Cisco” Ayala / 312.835.5070 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Damien Casten, Partner
Scott Kerrigan, Partner
Scott abandoned reason long ago in his pursuit of bacchanalian pleasures. The picture at left evidences this fact nicely as he accepted to ride from Paris to Angers on a dining chair, in a van, in order to experience the “Salon des Vins” in the Loire Valley one year. No one was hurt.
Vacations in Italy, life in California, and business trips to anywhere near a vineyard have all meant one thing to Scott: a chance to seek out new food and wines.
Law school was interesting and he enjoyed his MBA, but something was missing. Frustrated by his lack of experience in the kitchen, gourmet night school in Chicago seemed the only reasonable option.
Enriched by his experience at the Culinary and Hospitality Institute in Chicago and nearly fifteen years of wine collecting and obsession, he can finally stop pretending to be anything other than the food and wine junkie he truly is.
Scott co-founded Candid Wines and handles our finances. You can reach Scott at email@example.com.