One of my key operating mottos is, “A chef is only as good as his or her sommelier!”
During the nearly two-decade history of Charlie Trotter's, I have worked very closely with four talented master sommeliers--Larry Stone, Joe Spellman, Serafin Alvarado and Jason Smith--all of whom have contributed greatly to our wine program.
I am also a believer that whereas the wine is relatively “fixed,” a culinary creation can be easily adapted to work with almost any wine. Therefore, I go about food-and-wine pairing in a way that would almost be considered backward--pick the wine, and I’ll adjust the dish accordingly. But that is where a chef and a sommelier must form a bond, and then possibly greatness can be achieved.
Thousands of times we have spontaneously adjusted dishes to better suit a client’s wine choice. Due to their extreme attention to detail and an extraordinary diligence in reporting to the kitchen a particular wine’s nuance, my sommeliers have helped me craft a food-and-wine program like no other.
Obviously I love the idea of pairing food and wine to get just the right match. But I don’t like to over-intellectualize the process. With a little effort, a properly matched wine can utterly enhance a plate of food, and vice versa.
I have looked for great wines, great foods and great matches all over the world. I am an inveterate traveler. I love to monitor the service and experience the cuisine at great hotels and restaurants around the world. But it is not always just about fine dining. I am as into everyday food as I am into reveling in the glories of Alain Ducasse in Paris.
Last summer my colleague Rochelle Smith and I traveled around the world to eat only street food. We went to Sydney, Singapore, Shanghai and Dubai, traveling first-class and staying in the finest resorts, but eating only food from street vendors. The experience was truly incredible, and flavor influences from even the humblest spots eventually found their way into some of our menu items.
Delmonico Stkhse @ Venetian — Las Vegas, Nevada — October 12, 2006 9:57pm ET
Matthew Lynch — chicago IL — October 12, 2006 10:28pm ET
Jeffrey Ghi — New York — October 13, 2006 3:02pm ET
Robert Fukushima — California — October 13, 2006 8:17pm ET
Charlie Trotter — Chicago, Illinois — October 14, 2006 1:20pm ET
Charlie Trotter — Chicago, Illinois — October 14, 2006 1:38pm ET
Charlie Trotter — Chicago, Illinois — October 14, 2006 1:50pm ET
Charlie Trotter — Chicago, Illinois — October 14, 2006 2:09pm ET
Jeffrey Ghi — New York — October 14, 2006 10:24pm ET
Marc Dibiaso — October 15, 2006 5:42pm ET
Paul David — Norfolk, Virginia — October 18, 2006 12:17pm ET
Charlie Trotter — Chicago, Illinois — October 18, 2006 6:47pm ET
Charlie Trotter — Chicago, Illinois — October 18, 2006 7:29pm ET
Matthew Lynch — chicago IL — October 19, 2006 8:24pm ET
Apj Powers — Dallas, TX — October 20, 2006 2:43am ET
Charlie Trotter — Chicago, Illinois — October 23, 2006 12:30pm ET
Mckim Boyd — de pere, wisconsin — November 2, 2006 12:02am ET
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