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Drink THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Laura Bianchi, Castello di Monsanto, Chianti Classico

We met the lovely Laura Bianchi last July when she came to New York to present a vertical tasting of Castello di Monsanto‘s iconic Il Poggio Chianti Classico Cru dating back to the 1960s. This wine is only made in the best vintages using only estate grown fruit, and hand-picked grapes, Monsanto owns the largest reserves of Chianti Classico in Tuscany, and it was the first winery in the region to make a Chianti Classico Cru.

Castello di Monsanto was started by Laura’s grandfather, Aldo Bianchi, a native of San Gimignano, who left Tuscany before the Second World War to seek fortune in the North of Italy. In 1960, he came back to the area for a wedding and was enchanted by the view from the terrace of Castello di Monsanto, encompassing the Val d’Elsa with the backdrop of the Towers of San Gimignano.

He purchased the property within a few months. But if Aldo was bewitched by the landscape, Fabrizio, his son, immediately fell in love with the wines he found in the cellar. Thanks to a passion for wine handed down to him by his grandmother, who came from Piedmont, and to an innate entrepreneurial spirit, Fabrizio, together with his wife Giuliana, started to plant new vineyards and convert the numerous farmhouses. Today, Castello di Monsanto remains a family owned and operated company, overseen by Fabrizio and daughter, Laura.

Laura studied law and brefly worked in law before joining the family business where she works side by side with her father. She unwinds by practicing yoga.


Laura Bianchi, Castello di Monsanto


Bottles of Il Poggio from our tasting

Listen to our interview with Laura Bianchi December 20tth now on iHeart. Click below.

 

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Cookbook Eat THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

The Art & Science of Making Bread

What’s your favorite childhood bread memory? For David it’s his mother’s cinnamon toast, most likely sweetly dusted homemade English Muffin Bread.  For me, it’s my Aunt Rachel’s homemade challah, braided into a shiny brown loaf and all pillowy inside. My mother made challah French toast for every holiday brunch and still does for Christmas (challah + Christmas? That’s right.)

Making good bread is both an art and a science. And Modernist Bread is a 2,642-page tome on the craft of baking bread as well as bread’s future.  The five-volume masterpiece is the culmination of over four years of nonstop research, photography, experiments, writing, and baking. The books cover the science, history, cultures, and personalities behind bread, along with tools you can use to shape its future.

 

The authors are Nathan Myhrvold and Chef Francisco Migoya.

After retiring from Microsoft in 1999 as its Chief Technology Officer, Myhrvold established Intellectual Ventures and pursued several lifelong interests in photography, cooking, and food science.  The Cooking Lab is his state-of-the-art research kitchen in Bellevue, WA. Nathan is lead author of Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking and Modernist Cuisine at Home and author of The Photography of Modernist Cuisine. 

Nathan Myhrvold

Chef Migoya grew up in Mexico and studying art (painting, sculpture and drawing). But a stage (internship) at a restaurant at age 16 sparked his passion for cooking. He attended culinary schools in Mexico and France and went on to work at some major restaurants in the USA such as French Laundry, Bouchon Bakery and most recently, as a professor at the Culinary Institute of America. Chef Migoya is author of three books on pastry: “Frozen Desserts”  (2008), “The Modern Cafe” (2009) and “The Element of Dessert” (a 2014 International Association of Culinary Professionals  cookbook award recipient.

Chef Francisco Migoya

So, besides four years of research with over 230 recipe testers and expert contributors, what other fun facts should you know about Modernist Bread? Statistic nerds take note:

Number of pages: 2,462

Weight of book:  50 lb.

Weight: of ink: 4 lb

Words: 1,000,000+

Number of recipes: 1500

Photos: 3,000+

Loaves baked: 36,650+

 

 

 

Modernist Bread’s Chef Francisco Migoya joined us November 29, The Connected Table LIVE! Here is the show:

 

We bring you the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality. Listen anytime on iHeart.com and the iHeart and live Wednesdays, 2pm EST onW4CY.com. Connect with us on Twitter@connectedtable,Instagram@theconnectedtable and Facebook@connectedtable

 

Photo credits: Nathan Myhrvold / The Cooking Lab, LLC.

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Eat

The Seafood Professor Is In…Meet Barton Seaver

“Seafood Professor.” That’s what we’ve decided to call Barton Seaver after receiving an advance copy of his new book, American Seafood, which covers ever species of fish on earth. It’s encyclopedic and a fascinating read.

 

And Barton’s a fascinating person. After serving as executive chef for a group of restaurants in Washington, DC, he now leads the Sustainable Seafood and Health Initiative at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and is Senior Advisor for Sustainable Seafood Innovations at the University of New England.

He’s been a National Geographic Explorer and was apponted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to served on the U.S. Culinary Ambassador Corp. He grew up in the Chesapeake and now lives in Maine. We discussed sustainability and why regional identity is important starting with his backyard (back sea?) lobsters from Maine.

Listen to our show with Barton Seaver here:

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Drink

“Flying Winemaker” Michel Rolland Touches Down with The Connected Table

He’s called “The Flying Winemaker” and his international influence in the world of wine is unparalleled. Bordeaux-based Oenologist Michel Rolland consults for more than 100 estates in 14 countries. Another 400 estates utilize the services of his laboratories located in France and Mendoza for analysis and advice. And at an age when many contemplate slowing down to stop and smell the roses, Michel is still living a life in the air and on the ground tending the vines, blending with finesse and turning out world-class wines. He turns 70 on December 24 this year and celebrates his 45th harvest in Bordeaux.

Michel Rolland (Photo: Clos de los Siete)

Michel was raised on his family estate, Château Le Bon-Pasteur, in Pomerol. With wife, Dany, he oversees several of his own properties in Bordeaux and collaborations such as Clos de los Siete in Argentina. His global footprint has made its mark with the hundreds of wineries that seek out his expertise that has made him an international star in the world of wine. To name just a few of the numerous estates that he’s worked with:  Chile (Casa Lapostelle), Spain (Rolland Galarreta), Italy (Tenuta dell’Ornellaia,Tolaini, Campo de Sasso), California (Araujo, Harlin, Staglin, Screaming Eagle and Jericho Canyon) and France (Château Figeac, Château Bonnet, Château La Louvière, Pape Clément, Phélan-Ségur and dozens more.)

In this September 13 episode of The Connected Table LIVE! Michel takes a break from harvest to share his thoughts on climate change, terroir, why Argentina tugs his heartstrings and why he has not intention of slowing down. Wine, after all, is more than his profession. It is his passion!

Listen here!

 

 

 

 

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THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Hey Lisa, When Are You Publishing Your Book?

Some say people working in public relations should be seen and not heard. Others say they should be heard and not seen. I say the rules have changed entirely. Much of that is thanks to powerhouses like Lisa Ekus who redefined the rules starting in 1982 when she opened the first public relations agency solely devoted to publicizing cookbooks, chefs, and food products.

Lisa Ekus www.lisaekus.com

This year The Lisa Ekus Group celebrates 35 years in business  “representing a world of culinary talent.”  As the company grew it added a media training division, created a literary agency and now manages careers for authors and culinary spokespersons. Her clientele of more than 200 authors reads like a “Who’s Who of Cooking in Food & Beverage.”  Saying your career-cookbook-product-project is being managed by Lisa Ekus is a badge of honor. Lisa still works out of her 200-plus year old farmhouse in Hatfield, MA. Again, she’s a rule breaker, bucking the “you need to be based in in NYC to succeed” old school thinking.

After all these years, Lisa had amassed an enviable collection of more than 10,000 books (mostly cookbooks). So, when is she writing her cookbook or culinary  memoir? We’ll ask her July 12th.

Listen to our July 12th show with Lisa Ekus as well as Deepa Thomas, author of “Deepa’s Secrets,” here iHeart.com and the free iHeart App. Click here:

 

 

 

 

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Drink Explore

Spring (Bud) Break In Napa

The spring buds are breaking in Napa Valley which puts everyone in a good mood after recent rains. Driving along Highway 29 gazing out at expansive wine estates, it’s hard to envision the ranch towns of the 1960’s when Napa Valley’s earliest vintners scooped up farmland for a fraction of what it would cost today.

Sign at Freemark Abbey Winery

It was an investment that paid off, and a gamble that hit the jackpot with international media attention from promotional stunts like the 1976 Judgement of Paris and numerous accolades for Napa Valley wines.  Still, in spite of its international reputation, Napa Valley is still among the world’s smallest wine regions with just 4% of California’s wine grape harvest and only one-eighth of the planted acreage of Bordeaux, according to the Napa Valley Vintners Association.

 

View from Joseph Phelps Vineyards

Stewards and Successors

Napa’s first commercial winery was established in 1861. America’s first designated Agricultural Preserve in 1968, Napa was established as an A.V.A. in 1981; today there are 16.  95% of Napa Valley’s wineries family-owned. Meet founding families of Napa who are working hard to preserve their legacies:  Janet and Hailey Trefethen, Trefethen Vineyards, and Bill and Will Phelps, Joseph Phelps Vineyards.

I have always had a fascination with cowboys after spending a few nights on a cattle station in the Australian Outback and at a dude ranch in Arizona. But I’ve never met a real-life cowgirl. Janet Trefethen is a top ranked equestrian and a member of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame. She’s also the first women CEO of an American Corporation. Janet and John Trefethen oversee the winery established by his parents Eugene and Catherine in 1968. The historic farm property located in Oak Knoll  was originally built in 1868 as “Eschol,” which is a biblical term for “lush cluster of grapes.”

Janet Trefethen, Trefethen Vineyards

Janet’s daughter and son, Hailey and Loren Trefethen, have joined their parents in running the winery. Hailey  has been overseeing the restoration of the original 1868 building which was damaged in the earthquake on April 24, 2014. The building is reopening this May (2017). Recently we spoke with Janet and Hailey on The Connected Table LIVE.

Hailey Trefethen

 

1973 was a big year for both the Trefethen and Phelps families. It was the first vintage for Trefethen and it was the year Joseph Phelps purchased a 600+ acre cattle ranch on the east side of St. Helena to create his namesake winery. Phelps, who owned a construction business, worked with architect John Marsh Davis to build the winery of his dreams to produce the wines he desired. He’s credited with being one of the first California producers to focus on Rhone style blends as well his signature Bordeaux blend, Insignia. We visited Joseph Phelps Vineyards for the first time this week. It was like visiting a sanctuary for fine wine.

Bill and Joe Phelps
Bill and Joe Phelps

Bill Phelps joined his father’s winery after a career in law and finance. Like his father, Bill takes a long-term strategy to producing wines and maintaining the Phelps legacy. One of his most notable initiatives was to transition the entire winery portfolio to estate grown. Bill will be joined by son, Will Phelps, who is the winery’s Director of Marketing.

Will Phelps
Joseph Phelps flagship wine, Insignia

 

Listen to our show with Janet and Hailey Trefethen and Bill and Will Phelps on iHeart.com

 

 

Listen anytime on iHeart.com and the iHeart and live Wednesdays, 2pm EST on W4CY.com. Connect with us on Twitter@connectedtable, Instagram@theconnectedtable and Facebook@connectedtable

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Drink THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

“Phenomonal Femmes”- Women Making History

In our March Women Making a Mark spotlight we have two very dynamic guests March 15th on The Connected Table LIVE!  Both are passionately devoted to promoting diversity and collaboration within the industry and to giving back.

First up is Karen Hoskin, president and co-founder of Montanya Distillers based in Crested Butte, Colorado. Montanya utilizes old world artisan traditions to make its collection of rums which have been awarded 18 Gold and Silver Medals in International Competitions. In 2013 the company was named Craft Distiller of the Year by the American Distilling Institute (ADI) who has tapped Karen to be its keynote speaker for its upcoming conference April 3-6 in Baltimore.

Karen Hoskin, Montanya Distillers, is the first woman to give the keynote address at the American Distilling Institute Conference (ADI). Photo credit: Nathan Bilow

Our second guest is making history with her Phenomenal Femmes winemaker dinner series with The Ritz Carlton  Central Park in Manhattan. Marika Vida is the hotel’s Wine Director. She is also a sought after speaker, adviser and educator through her company, Vida et Fils. Phenomenal Femmes, now in its fourth year, spotlights women winemakers around the globe.  Proceeds from the dinner series benefit the women’s shelter at Crossroads Community Services in New York which provides food, shelter and other aid to individuals in need regardless of national origin, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disabilities. www.crossroadscommunitynyc.org

Marika Vida created Phenomenal Femmes to spotlight women winemakers and to give back to help women in need. Her next dinner March 28 at The Ritz-Carlton Central Park will feature Stacy Vogel, Winemaker at Miner Vineyards in Napa. Photo credit: Doug Young

Listen live on W4CY.com 2pmEST and anytime on iHeart.com

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Sonoma Stars

It had been awhile since either of had spent much time in Sonoma Valley, so we felt lucky to add three nights for a visit following our stay at Meadowood in St. Helena for the Professional Wine Writers Symposium. Where Napa feels gentrified and sophisticated, Sonoma feels bucolic and achaten-suisse.com laid back. It’s like comparing cashmere to fleece; they both feel great and will keep you warm outside, and you want both for different reasons.

Here we are with John Jordan in the barrel room

The first two nights were spent at Jordan Winery in Alexander Valley tasting wines, exploring the expansive estate and enjoying a quiet dinner with Lisa Mattson and her husband, Damon, at BarnDiva in nearby Healdsburg. Lisa was a guest on The Connected Table LIVE! to talk about her book, “The Exes in My Glass.” We met proprietor John Jordan whom we learned has a thing for “Star Wars” movies.  Jordan specializes in Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and does both well.

 

 

Another night took us to The Shed Cafe, a restaurant located in a cookware shop and bakery. Most of the food is locally sourced within 10 miles of Healdsburg. We suggest checking out the four- course tasting menu for $58 with a $25 wine pairing option.  Address: 25 North Street, Healdsburg. 707-431-7433  www.healdsburgshed.com

 

Winter Citrus Salad with Avocado, Miners Lettuce, Sea Buckthorn and HomeFarm Olio Nuovo at The Shed in Healdsburg

 

Our final night was spent at Valette whose chef-owner, Dustin Valette visited with us on The Connected Table LIVE March 8th. Dustin began his restaurant career at the age of thirteen washing dishes at Catelli’s in his hometown of Geyserville. A Culinary Institute of America grad, he worked at several top restaurants to fine tune his skills, most recently spending six years as Executive Chef of Dry Creek Kitchen, a Charlie Palmer restaurant in downtown Healdsburg.  With his brother and fellow restaurant worker, Aaron Garzini, Dustin hatched a plan to open Valette in a building which housed his great grandfather’s bakery.  The two brothers opened Valette in 2015 spotlighting their deep passion and dedication to Sonoma Country and its food and wine purveyors and producers.

 

Chef Dustin Valette opened his restaurant in the same location where his great grandfather ran a bakery.

 

Valette is located at 344 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA  Phone: 707-473-0946 www.valettehealdsburg.com

The restaurant is hopping!  We dined there the night of the “Oscars.” David noshed on Dustin’s house made charcuterie and Coriander Crusted Liberty Duck Breast with tart pickled cherries and dick + foie grad torchon.  Little Miss Healthy Me enjoyed a vegetarian “beet Wellington” described on the menu as Tangerine Infused Beets en Papillote with preserved lemon, farro risotto, baby carrots and Laura Chenel goat cheese and Hawaiian Ahi Poke.

 

Tangerine Infused Beets en Papillote

 

 

Hawaiian Ahi Poke Styl

 

Give This Gal a Forklift!

Katie Madigan, is winemaker at St. Francis Winery.  Like many women winemakers I’ve interviewed, Katie started out planning on another career path not realizing the great opportunities for women in wine. She was a chemistry major intent on going into the pharma business. She took an internship as a lab technician at St. Francis in 2003 to pass the time and never left.

Katie Madigan has worked at St. Francis Winery for 14 years

Now 14 years later Katie is in charge of making St. Francis’s award winning wines. She says she’s most proud of making great wines widely available for everyone to enjoy.  I asked Katie for career tips for aspiring women winemakers. She says: 1. get your experience working in the cellar, 2. learn to run a pump and forklift  3. be ready to get your hands dirty 4. be confident on your palate and 5. be very patient.  Careers in wine, like the wine itself, can take time to mature.

While we did not make it to St. Francis Winery in Santa Rosa, we are very familiar with the wines. David has written about St. Francis Winery for Tasting Panel Magazine, and many years ago my former PR firm, M Young Communications, produced St, Francis’s Big Red chef events in New York and Los Angeles. You can arrange a visit, and we hope to next trip. www.stfranciswine.com

 

Here is our show with Chef Dustin Valette and Winemaker Katie Madigan on iHeart.com and the free iHeart App.

 

 

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Drink THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Mark Oldman Shares His Two Cents on Drinking Like the One Percent

Our motto: “Drink wine. In moderation. Make it good wine.”

Mark Oldman says he is a passionate proponent of drinking richly without spending extravagantly.” Let’s face it. You can have an expensive bottle of wine that ends up being as enticing as smelly socks. And you can have an inexpensive bottle of wine that may knock your socks off. Money doesn’t buy class, and true class doesn’t need money.

how-to-drink-like-a-billionaire-photo

Author of “Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wines” and “Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine,” Mark’s new book is entitled, “How to Drink Like a Billionaire: Mastering Wine with Joie de Vivre.” Now, usually we have more joie and vivre than big bucks in the bank, so we were intrigued to hear what Mark had to say when he joined us December 14 on The Connected Table LIVE.

You can listen to the interview here and anytime on iHeart.com and the free iHeart App:

 

Buy Mark’s new book here:

 

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A Walch on the Wine Side

Elena Walch
Elena Walch

An architect by training, Elena Walch found her prince in a storybook castle. Actually, it was a castle she was helping to restore. The prince was Werner Walch whose family owned Castel Ringberg, an edifice built by the Hapsburg dynasty in 1620 located in the village of Tramin in Italy’s Alto Adige wine region. In addition to its rich history, the castle had expansive vineyards that at the time focused on quantity over quality.

castle
The castle is calling!

Elena traded her well honed skills for restoring historic buildings and set about renovating the Walch family vineyards including ripping out and replanting vines, despite having no formal training in viticulture. But architects have a vision for what can be, and cialis generique a talent to build. And build she did with an eye for greater things to come from her vineyards.

Karoline,  Julia and Elena Walch
Karoline, Julia and Elena Walch

Today Elena Walch Winery is considered a top estate in the region. Daughters Karoline and Julia now work side by side with their mother. Elena and Karoline shared the Walch family story, past, present and future with us December 14.

Karoline Walch
Karoline Walch and her sister are committed to Elena Walch Winery’s tradition of quality with a nod to contemporary winemaking.
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Cookbook Drink Eat THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Miss Ella Shares Her Story

“I Don’t Want a Restaurant Where a Jazz Band Can’t Come Marching Through.”- Ella Brennan

Many of you know we have love affair with the City New Orleans and its very special way of life. Well, no one embodies cialisfrance24.com “New Orleans Living” more than Miss Ella Brennan, matriarch of the Brennan family. And no one defines New Orleans hospitality like a Brennan. The Brennan family truly is America’s dining dynasty. If you’ve never seen this 2014 Silver Spoon Award feature on the Brennan family in the late Food Arts Magazinehere is a link.

 

Miss Ella of Commanxder's Palace- book

“Miss Ella reveals what makes her strong, ambitious and occasionally a blubbering mess”

Miss Ella turned 91 this month. There’s a new book and a new documentary film out about her life called “Miss Ella of Commander’s Palace.” It’s a great read with a frank, sometimes funny and very poignant voice featuring Miss Ella, her co author and daughter, Ti Adelaide Martin, sister Dottie and various Brennan siblings and cousins, as well as food industry luminaries like Danny Meyer, Jeremiah Tower, Emeril Lagasse and Tim and Nina Zagat sharing stories. Ti said it took some convincing to  get Ella to write the book! Trust us! It’s a love letter to New Orleans with lesson on what sharing and giving true hospitality really means.

Ti Adelaide Martin
Ella Brennan’s daughter, Ti Adelaide Martin, is co-proprietor of Commander’s Palace, SoBou, Cafe Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar, all in New Orleans

Both Miss Ella and Ti Adelaide Martin, joined us December 7 for a delightful and spirited visit. Listen at this this link or click below.

Buy “Miss Ella of Commander’s Palace” here:

 

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The Smithsonian Serves a Generous Helping of Food History

food-sign

What is it about food history and culture that keeps us craving more? Recently, I visited the National Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington,DC, to experience its first major exhibition on food history – “FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000.” I enjoyed my visit so much I went back for a second helping two days later.

gallo_time_1972

First, there’s Julia’s Child’s kitchen which is like a shrine. Then there are the focused exhibits touching on historic milestones and the changing landscape of what we eat and drink in post World War II America. So much to digest!

Paula Johnson, Food Historian 
Paula Johnson, Food Historian

Food Historian and Museum Curator Paula Johnson, who serves as Project Director and Co-Creator of this fascinating exhibition,  and  shares her insights on how food shapes our culture November 23 on The Connected Table LIVE! W4cyRadio

We bring you the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality.
We bring you the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality.