The 5 Worst Questions to ask a Sommelier Video

In the video below, Tom Vigeant, the coordinator of the Sommelier Certificate Program at La Cité collégiale, answers the 5 worst questions that you can ask a sommelier … 1. Are you going to try to sell me an expensive wine? 2. Shouldn’t I just order your cheapest wine on the list, that’s the best value right? 3. I’m on a date and have a price in mind, but don’t know which wine. Are you going to make me say the price out loud to help me choose? 4. You recommended a wine to me, I’m tasting it and I […]

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Halifax Sommelier Pairs Wine and Seafood with Titanic Menu

Avery Gavel, assistant manager and sommelier at The Five Fishermen restaurant in Halifax, shares his insights about pairing wine and seafood, creating historic meals with wine and his take on Nova Scotian wines. What was your first wine experience? I grew up on a dairy farm in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, the oldest of five children. Wine wasn’t part of our family traditions, not even special celebrations. Communion in church was grape juice, even. My first wine experience was at The Five Fishermen in the early 1970s when I was 24 and on a double date. We ordered the cheap German […]

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Atelier Restaurant Ottawa: Food + Wine Video Review

When we decided to make reservations at Atelier Restaurant in Ottawa, we discovered that we’d have to wait several weeks for a Friday evening reservation. Such is the popularity of this award-winning restaurant that specializes in molecular gastronomy, and is one of my favourite restaurants in this city and across the country. I had written a profile of the superb sommelier Steve Robinson several months ago for Ottawa Magazine, the sister publication of Toronto Life. Now it was time to revisit and try the new summer menu with Steve’s pairings. It was spectacular, with whimsical dish names like “You’ve Got […]

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Wine and Charcuterie Pairing at Halifax Wine Bar

Heather Rankin is co-owner (with her brother, Christian Rankin) of Obladee Wine Bar in Halifax. The oldest of five kids, she was born and lived in the Halifax area until she was a young teen, when her parents moved to the fishing town of Port au Choix on the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. After studying at St Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS, and at Carleton in Ottawa, she spent 15 years working in web development in places like New York and London, England. “It was when I was in London that I decided it was time to move back […]

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Halifax restaurant Bicycle Thief Sommelier Steve Adams

Steve Adams, manager and wine guy at The Bicycle Thief restaurant in Halifax talks about matching wine and seafood, the growth of Nova Scotia wines and tips on how to choose a great bottle from a restaurant list. What’s on your wine list? We currently have 144 wines on our list, and it’s always changing. We offer 40 wines by the glass, from Brunello to some new wines from Friuli, Italy, that are exclusive to us. Our menu is Italian with a comfort food edge, so our primary focus is on great Italian wines, with ever-changing selections from around the […]

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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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