CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (July 10, 2012) –  The New York Wine & Culinary Center in the Finger Lakes announces the appointment of Mike Sokolski as Executive Chef for their recently revamped second floor restaurant, the Upstairs Bistro. 

Chef Mike Sokolski is a Rochester native who has been working in the culinary arts for 17 years. He attended Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts in Providence, Rhode Island. During his time at the prestigious culinary school, he gained international experience working abroad at Hotel Maes-y-Neuadd in North Wales, United Kingdom.  After graduating, Sokolski worked at a variety of restaurants and country clubs in both Upstate New York and Chicago. His resume includes time at the four-star, James Beard award-winning restaurant TRU in Chicago, as Executive Chef at Penfield Country Club and his most recent position as Executive Chef at JoJo Bistro & Wine Bar in Buffalo.
"Chef Mike’s experience working with local, seasonal ingredients all over the world makes him a wonderful addition to our team," comments Alexa Gifford, Executive Director of the New York Wine & Culinary Center. "His style of cooking also works well with the new Upstairs Bistro, keeping the menu approachable for our guests."
Sokolski describes his style as simple; he prefers to build flavors or to have bold flavor in the dishes he prepares. In his few weeks at the Center, Chef Mike Sokolski has been creating dishes with seasonal produce including organic vegetables and greens, fresh herbs from the NYWCC garden and other local ingredients. He’s also been listening to the customers. After getting a number of requests for pasta, he added it to a new dish. Grilled Sirloin Steak was added to the menu just last week and is served over homemade gnocchi with oven roasted tomatoes, local mushrooms and spinach in a red wine sauce.
"I want the Upstairs Bistro to be a place people can come to any day of the week," says Sokolski. "It should be a place where you can enjoy good home cooking, hang out with friends and find value in what you’re getting on your plate."
The Upstairs Bistro restaurant opened in May, just one week after the previous Taste of New York Restaurant closed. The entire Center was remodeled in early 2011, with changes to the dining area completed in April. The renovations included closing off an open area in the middle of the dining room to provide additional seating and a quieter atmosphere. The transformation to Upstairs Bistro was completed with a new logo, fresh co lors and updated décor. 
About the New York Wine & Culinary Center
The New York Wine & Culinary Center (Center) is a non-profit 501(c) 3, state-of-the-art facility designed to excite, engage and inspire New Yorkers and the world about New York State agriculture, food and wine. It serves as the educational link and gateway to tourism, hospitality and the agricultural resources here in New York State.
The Center features a gift boutique; hands-on culinary kitchen; demonstration theater; wine, beer & spirit tasting room; private dining room; bistro-style restaurant; and gallery for private events. The outdoor garden highlights seasonal displays of native New York agriculture—grape vines, fruit trees and vegetables. To learn more about the New York Wine & Culinary Center, please call 585-394-7070 or visit

Nicole Mahoney 585-451-0050