Pairing Wine and Molecular Gastronomy: Steve Robinson

My story about Steve Robinson was originally published in Ottawa Magazine, the sister publication of Toronto Life Magazine. Ottawa sommeliers are proving to be among the best in the province. Steve Robinson placed second in this year’s Ontario’s Best Sommelier Competition, and was named one of the top 30 under 30 in the province’s hospitality industry by the Ontario Hostelry Institute. Robinson studied chemistry at the University of Ottawa, then completed the sommelier fast-track program at Algonquin College and finally became certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2011. The 26-year-old’s passion for science and wine pair perfectly for […]

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Brookstreet Sommelier Rene Wallis Wine Tips

  Rene Wallis, sommelier at the Brookstreet Hotel’s restaurant Perspectives, in Kanata shares, his tips on choosing from a wine list, unusual food pairings and favourite holiday wines. Where did you grow up? My mother raised my older sister, Angela, and I on her own in Ottawa’s French village of Vanier, a bilingual community where everyone knew each other. Wine wasn’t on the dinner table, but my good friend’s Portuguese parents made their own wine. At his tenth birthday party, I bit into a large piece of hot pepper on the pizza, filled my glass from a large pitcher of […]

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Canadian Restaurant Mobile App by Top Food Critics

By Anne DesBrisay Last spring, I opened an email from John Gilchrist, Calgary’s pre-eminent food writer, asking if I’d be interested in contributing the Ottawa section to a cross-Canada restaurant app he was working on. It was to be a first of its kind, geared to the business traveller, a catalogue of best places to eat as chosen by the leading restaurant critics in eleven cities across Canada. Its working title was Dining in Downtown Canada … good places to eat within a walk or cab from major hotels in our major cities. The idea was simple: you’re in Saskatoon, […]

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Restaurant Wine Lists: Vintage Tips Video

In the video chat below, Lance Hurtubise, CEO of the Vintage Group, a collection of restaurants based in Alberta and Prince Edward Island, chats about great wine lists and service. Wine plays a central role in both Lance’s restaurants and in his life. He’s also just launched his own line of wines. Before we dive into this topic, tell me about your race-car driving mother. You were very young when you started in restaurants: how old were you and what did you do? You started Moxie’s restaurants in 1986: how did you come up with that concept? Let’s talk about […]

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Canada’s Best Restaurants – Maclean’s Magazine

Just got my copy of the Maclean’s Magazine first-ever Restaurant Guide for dining establishments across Canada. This is going to be my bible for where to eat when I travel. I was honoured to be part of the team of reviewers … pick up a copy to read the reviews. (An aside, here are my favourite restaurants in other cities.) Just a couple of hints … Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen & Wine Bar  Hours: Monday to Saturday Lunch: 11:45-2 pm, 7 Days a Week: 4:30 pm tacos; 5 pm Dinner Address: 20 York Street, Ottawa, ON Phone: 613-562-9331 Play Food and […]

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Canada’s Best Sommeliers​: Celebratin​g our Wine Wizards

A toast to Véronique Rivest who won the Best Canadian Sommelier Competition in Halifax on September 17, as well as to the finalists, Will Predhomme and Élyse Lambert. Semi-finalists included Bruce Wallner, Robert Noel and Bertrand Eichel. They all participated in extensive written exams, blind tasting, wine list correction and an hour-long simulated restaurant service in front of a live audience in their second language. You can watch two video interviews about the sommelier competition with semi-finalist Bruce Wallner.   Winner Véronique Rivest Les Fougères Restaurant Chelsea, Quebec Congrats to our hometown gal on her extraordinary win: we are so […]

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Bring Your Own Wine to BC Restaurants

By Mari Kane Friday night marked a turning point in our seven-year-long Vancouver dining experience – we brought our own bottle of wine into a restaurant. One day after the new Bring Your Own Wine (BYOW) law went into effect in BC, my husband and I proudly marched into a restaurant bearing a bottle I had purchased in a VQA store not 3 hours before. We set it on the table and the maitre d’ approached our table, saying “I talked to you on the phone. This is our first BYOW.” I told him it was our first BYOW as […]

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Video: Restaurant Wine Service: the Good, the Bad and the Gross

In part two of our video chat below, Scott shares his most memorable wine experiences in restaurants, including a hilarious story about the worst one (watch him in the small screen with the bottle when he explains what the waiter did) … The International Culinary Center  2010 Bastianich Adriactico Friulano A floral white with mouth-watering acidity and a pleasantly dry, bitter and refreshing finish. Drink 2012 – 2014 277467 13% XD 750 ml $18.95 Score: 87/100   You may also enjoy these video chats: Master Sommelier Video: What it Takes to be a Restaurant Wine Expert Tasting Pinot Noir, Tips […]

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Summer Wines and Seafood, Barbecue, Picnics – Sommelier Sheila Person

In this interview, I chat Sheila Person who at the time was sommelier and manager at Eight Wine Bar in Toronto. Sheila has since moved back to Calgary, Alberta, where she shares her passion for wine at Crowfoot Wine and Spirits. We chat about spring and summer wines, including great bottles for the cottage and pairings for her favourite books. Fun! What first got you interested in wine? Growing up in small town Alberta, I wasn’t exactly immersed in wine culture.  Sure, my parents drank it, and my dad even made fruit wine, but it was actually the tools that […]

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Ritz-Carlton TOCA Sommelier Lorie O’Sullivan on BBQ wines, restaurant wine lists

In this segment of Tasting Notes, I chat with Lorie O’Sullivan, sommelier at the Ritz-Carlton’s TOCA restaurant in Toronto about wines for barbecued meats and veggies. She also shares tips on choosing great bottles from a restaurant wine list. This interview was originally published in the luxury lifestyle magazine Homefront. Where did you study to become a sommelier? In 2006, I took the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers course at Niagara College. The course was held on Sundays, which was great because at the time I had another full time job in another profession. Two years later, I went to […]

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