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Category: Wine
January 27, 2014 at 6:05 PM

Women Stars of Food & Wine? Seattle has them in abundance


Ericka Burke of Volunteer Park Cafe is one of the "Women Stars of Food & Wine" Photo by Ernie Sapiro Photography

Ericka Burke of Volunteer Park Cafe is one of the “Women Stars of Food & Wine”
Photo by Ernie Sapiro Photography

I know it’s hard for anyone in this town to think beyond a certain date with destiny this Sunday, but, hey, what are you doing the Sunday after the Super Bowl?

February 9th is the date for “Women Stars of Food & Wine,” an afternoon soiree showcasing dozens of Northwest women chefs, winemakers and sommeliers at the newly remodeled Columbia Tower Club. Fittingly, the event supports the Women’s Funding Alliance, a group that invests in organizations “working to promote progressive change and social justice for women and girls.”

News of this foraging of female talent coincided with reading Julia Moskin’s piece, “A Change in the Kitchen,” last week in The New York Times about the ascendancy of women in New York’s top kitchens. Moskin writes:

“A leading kitchen run by a woman is no longer newsworthy. But it is not quite commonplace, either; the tag “female chef” is still applied to Anita Lo, Barbara Lynch, April Bloomfield, Dominique Crenn (the first woman in North America to have a restaurant with two Michelin stars) and dozens of others. Certainly the most visible chefs are men, a fact made clear in November by a Time Magazine spread that showcased its choice of the world’s most influential chefs, with not a woman among them.”

Thinking back over the 20 years I’ve been covering the Seattle restaurant scene, it struck me that our city has been ahead of the curve when it comes to women heading kitchens: Monique Barbeau, Emily Moore, Kathy Casey, Chris Keff, Tamara Murphy, Holly Smith, Maria Hines, Renee Erickson and Rachel Yang are a just a few prominent names that come to mind. I contacted some of them to get their thoughts.


Comments | Topics: "Women Stars of Food & Wine", Providence Cicero, Seattle Uncorked

June 18, 2013 at 9:58 AM

SOMM: Film follows would-be master sommeliers

Allow me to raise a glass to SOMM, a new documentary in which four guys vie for a spot on the court.  I’m not talking Wimbledon here; I mean The Court of Master Sommeliers.


SOMMThe quest to become a Master Sommelier, the highest distinction a professional in the fine wine and beverage industry can attain, requires the same commitment, perseverance and years of training as any professional sport. The final test requires candidates to prove their skills in Theory, Service and Tasting. It’s the Ironman Triathlon of sommeliers. Very few succeed.


“The whole thing is really intense,” acknowledges Thomas Price, head sommelier at The Metropolitan Grill. “The athletic analogies get made constantly. But that’s the only thing I can compare it to. You put so much into it and you know going in that in all likelihood you may not pass.”


Price became a Master Sommelier in 2012, one of six in Washington.  That’s  fewer than California, which has dozens, but more than New York (5) and Oregon (1). Of the 201 Master Sommeliers worldwide, 133 of them are in North America.


Filmmaker Jason Wise followed his subjects for two years, capturing the competitive all-night tastings with peers, the rigorous practice sessions with mentors, and the candid observations of the contenders, their wives and girlfriends.


Comments | More in Drinks, Restaurants, Wine | Topics: Court of Master Sommeliers, Providence Cicero, SIFF

October 12, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Washington grape-growers and winemakers — at home and “a broad”

Is Puget Sound the up-and-coming hot spot for Washington wines? Today, Seattle Times’ Craig Welch offers a front-page report on climate change — and how that plays out for Western Washington wine-grape growers like Sequim’s Tom Miller. Craig writes: “It’s an early autumn morning at the top of the Olympic Peninsula, and Miller is doing something climate scientists believe would have been difficult, if not impossible, 50 years ago: harvesting grapes to make wine that people actually want to buy.” Read the full story here.

At Seattle Weekly, the hard drinking — and even harder working — Maggie Savarino searched and distilled a story about Doug Graves — a Seattleite growing his own in the small village of Sorgues, France. Graves’ 2008 Mas de la Lionne Cotes du Rhone hits area stores this week. Maggie’s story and description of his hard-won wine makes me want to run out and buy a bottle ($14) — or a case: “With old-vine grenache, when done right, you can smell a vibrant scent of perfumed, red-raspberry fruit that’s like taking a whiff of an undeniably pretty girl. The flavor backs it up; red summer berries grab the back of your mouth, ending in a soft, tangy acidity. Unlike many modern syrahs, you can see through this one; the body is lighter, more along the lines of a baby version of the refined wine you get from bigger-named areas like Vacqueyras and Gigondas.” Read her story here.

And then there’s that grape grower you know all too well. Me. A woman who’s living proof that even those of us graced with brown thumbs can grow wine-worthy grapes in Western Washington:

My backyard progeny. Sweet!


Comments | More in Wine