Tom Bender

Tom Bender


My passion for foods and the restaurant business started in the mid 1970s while attending college in New England and working at several highly regarded resorts and restaurants in New Hampshire's White Mountains. 

After graduating from New Hampshire’s Plymouth State College my wife Wendy and I traveled west and I started a career in the restaurant and hotel business.

For over 25 years I managed the highly acclaimed Columbia City Hotel and Restaurant which was affiliated with nearby Columbia College Culinary Arts Program.

For the past 45 years I have been an adjunct instructor in the culinary program and currently teach Intro to Wines along with several Community Ed classes.

In addition to teaching at the college, I have managed the wine department and wine bar at O’Brien’s Market on Dale Road in Modesto since 2006.

I have also been a contributor on food and wine to several foothill and valley magazines along with writing a wine column for several local newspapers.

Wendy and I have two sons. When I'm not working I tend to my heirloom vegetable garden or making award winning wine with my home wine making buddies.