Yusuf Yildiz

General Manager & Sommelier

Yusuf-YildizYusuf adds an amazing element of cultural diversity to the NORMAN’S team, as he hails from the ancient and historically fascinating country of Turkey.

Yusuf started working in the restaurant business at the age of 13 in a wine bar in Istanbul, learning everything from polishing glasses to the local wines. He began working in the kitchens of a ‘Renaissance Hotel’ in Istanbul at age 17, learning all kinds of cuisines, and he took a role in front of house as bartender. In 1991, Yusuf graduated from Turkey’s famous ‘Eresin Tourism and Hospitality School.’ He started his management and hospitality career working for the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines as an Assistant Dining Room Manager traveling routes all over the Caribbean, Alaska and Hawaii.

He set his sights on living in America, and moved to New York City after receiving employment offer from the famed Cipriani Restaurant Group, learning a vast array of management skills. A new opportunity arose in Orlando, and Yusuf, who had enjoyed his time in the Caribbean, moved to Florida in 2002. He worked as the Dining Room Manager at ‘DOC’S’ with Chef Neil Connolly, who was the personal chef for the Kennedy family during their time in The White House. From there he moved on to work at the prestigious AAA 5 Diamond Restaurant, ‘Victoria and Albert’s’ at Walt Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. He continued on in his dream to become a General Manager and took a job at NORMAN’S where he excelled at understanding Chef Norman’s global flavors and techniques.

Yusuf’s other great passion is wine, and he takes on the role as the Sommelier and Wine Director at NORMAN’S. His love of teaching and training is something that fits right into the philosophy of working at NORMAN’S, where the mission is not only to provide jobs, but also a vast education for the entire team.