Though Jonathan Ross always had competitive tendencies, it wasn’t until he discovered hospitality and wine that he truly applied himself and found his passion. From growing up in New Jersey to working at one of the top restaurants in the world, his career has always had an upward trajectory. Soon after relocating to Australia with his fiancée Jane Lopes (who is also a top sommelier), he became a Master Sommelier of which there are currently only 249 in the world. He joins me on this episode of The Vincast to talk about his journey, and his new-found love of Australian wine.
Loic Avril was destined to work with wine, considering he grew up in one of France’s most historic wine regions, and sharing of great wine and food was always important to his family. His love of hospitality and restaurants came very early, from the age of ten in fact, and he was determined to follow a path in fine dining. After gaining experience in restaurants in the Loire Valley and northern England, he joined the team at The Fat Duck – at one point considered the best restaurant in the world – and soon received significant attention when he was named the global best young sommelier. When the restaurant relocated to Melbourne for six months he relocated, and decided to stay and run the wine program when it transitioned to Dinner by Heston.
Despite having grown up in Rome and working in hospitality for a number of years, it wasn’t until Mattia Cianca was working in Perth that he became interested in wine. The added irony was that he was working in an Italian restaurant, learning about Italian wines, in Australia! Since arriving Down Under he has been on a fast track for sommelier stardom, working at Australia’s number one restaurant (Attica), and now with access to one of the most enviable lists in the country (Dinner by Heston). His talent and hard work was recently recognised by Sommeliers Australia, who named him 2017 Sommelier of the Year, and he is on a path to become a Master Sommelier in the next few years.
Growing up in Sydney Ned Goodwin was really into skateboarding, surfing and listening to the band Kiss. Little did he know that an exchange year in Japan at the age of 15 would combine with a global journey in hospitality to him working for a large restaurant group and becoming the first Master of Wine in Japan. On this episode he joined me to talk about his journey, his influences, his love of authentic Australian wine and his recent role as Brand Ambassador for Champagne Charles Heidsieck.
Lee Tran Lam was ahead of the curve as far as food communication on several occasions. The first was when she started her own food blog about nine years ago, simply to chronicle her own journey of discovery in the world of food and dining. The second was to launch a podcast about food and dining, profiling some of the most exciting chefs and food people in Sydney. Considering she hosts what I consider to be the food equivalent of The Vincast – The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry – I thought it a great opportunity to find out what her experiences and influences are on this episode of the podcast.
One of the most authentic voices about great restaurants and natural wine comes from somewhere you may least expect; Hobart, Tasmania. This is where for many years Sue Dyson and Roger McShane have been based, travelling and writing about the best places to eat and drink not only on the Apple Isle, but also across Australia and France, for their website Food Tourist. It is also from here that they import some of the most delicious natural wine produced in France for their Living Wines business. We had a fantastic chat about a number of topics on this episode of The Vincast.
Campbell Burton has a sincere love of and passion for wines of tradition and minimal intervention, and has the opportunity to introduce people to them in his role as the sommelier of the Builders Arms Hotel. On this episode of The Vincast he talks about his path of discovery, how he began importing some wines of his own, and why he decided to launch an event dedicated to sulphur-free wine called Soulfor Wine.
I’ll freely admit that I do have a habit of dining out and subsequently sharing pictures of food and wine on social media. In 2014 I’ve managed to cultivate a bit of a reputation, to the point where people ask if I even eat at home, let alone cook. I’m very fortunate that my job not only introduces me to some of the best restaurants in Melbourne and beyond, but also affords me the time and finances to head out and visit places. I’ve done pretty well in the last 12 months, so I thought I’d mention a few of the great experiences and dishes I had in 2014.
My first returning guest is Phil Smith of The Wine Depository, and he joins me to talk about Wine Tourism. Welcoming visitors to a winery to sell direct is one of the most important parts of the business and offering a compelling cellar door experience continues to increase in value. We talk about the many options of navigating, visiting, eating, learning and sleeping in wine regions, sharing some of our own personal experiences.
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