Westbrook began his “wine drinking” career as a server at an Italian restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama. When the recession cut short a promising career in the nonprofit sector, he chose to return to the food and beverage industry. A love of people and a passion for wine fueled Derrick’s rise through the Chicago fine dining scene.
He served as Cellar Manager for the famed Alinea-group’s restaurant NEXT and became the Beverage Director of the Michelin-starred Elizabeth Restaurant all before turning 30. Derrick is a certified sommelier and now owns and operates Derrick C. Westbrook, a company that hosts pop-up wine-tastings, dinners and develops beverage programs for some of the city's best restaurants and bars. He also serves as the manager and wine buyer of 57th Street Wines, an independent wine shop, located in Hyde Park, Chicago where every bottle is tasted and hand-selected by Derrick and his growing team of up and coming sommeliers.
He loves to help people discover new styles and make the process of choosing wine easy and accessible through traditional and experiential learning. He is the cross-section of growing up hip-hop, love of people, and yummy wine.