A journalism graduate from Washington and Lee University, Fred Dame worked in restaurants while an under-graduate to help pay for his education. His interest in the industry increased with exposure. In Monterey and in a number of restaurants, Dame honed his skills as a bartender, assistant manager, unit manager, and general manager until settling comfortably into the environment of The Sardine Factory. Dame's love is wine and, although self-taught, he remains but one of three Americans ever to achieve the rank of Master Sommelier. His knowledge of wines contributed immeasurably to the success of the restaurant's private wine cellar dining facility. Dame brings a missionary's zeal to the education of others; and to this extent has initiated and conducts his own Wine Academy for Restaurants Central (The Sardine Factory's parent company) employees.