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CHEF JAMES: In talking to America's best sommeliers for this book, were you surprised by anything you learned?
ANDREW D: The biggest surprise was actually that America's best sommeliers had not been interviewed extensively before we did so for this book! They work at the intersection of food and drink every single day, and have a wealth of information stored away in their heads. It was a privilege to get to learn more about wine and about pairing from them.
Also, Karen and I both hold sommelier certificates (Karen from the Court of Master Sommeliers, and me from the Sommelier Society of America), and tend to think of ourselves as wine lovers first and foremost. So it was a revelation to fall in love with beer while researching this book. Our research led us to have a peak experience pairing $10 take-out enchiladas with mole paired with a $2 Porter beer from the supermarket. And after interviewing our water expert Dr. Michael Mascha of FineWaters.com, I don’t look at water the same way I once did. We learned how still water pairs with different foods than sparkling water, and how the wide range of minerals and salts in water give them such different tastes and textures. If you'd have told me that I'd think of myself as a water connoisseur a few years ago, I would have laughed at you!
CHEF JAMES: Do you have any comments on the use of real cork, plastic cork or screw caps on wine? Will most quality wines have screw caps in 25 years?
ANDREW D: One of our very favorite wines is Dr. Loosen Riesling, which has a screw top and retails for around $10. We have no prejudice when it comes to screw tops, corks, and/or price. We simply don‘t care how the bottle is topped -- only what is inside.
CHEF JAMES: If you were stranded on a desert island for a year surviving on water, coconuts and seaweed, what would be the first beverage you would like to drink after you were rescued? Your first meal?
ANDREW D: As long as I were sharing it with Karen, I would not care what my first meal would be. I'd even have more coconuts and seaweed! But if I had my way, I would not want a dish made with either of those ingredients -- so nothing from Asia for this meal.
Two meals would fight for a place at the table: The first that comes to mind is a porterhouse steak and glass of well-aged Cabernet Sauvignon from Peter Luger's in Brooklyn. Their steak is like no other, and is simply the best on the planet. It is almost worth a year of coconuts and seaweed!
The other dish that comes to mind is pasta topped with butter and shaved white truffle, served with a glass of Giacosa Barbaresco. This is a magical combination that is light and like drifting on clouds when you have it.
CHEF JAMES: What comes next after 'What to Drink With What You Eat'? What are your personal and/or professional goals for the future?
ANDREW D: With more than 175,000 books published every year fighting for the public's attention, our first and foremost goal at the moment is spreading the word about WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT, which we feel is our best book in ten years. So, thank you very much for hosting on this stop on our "Virtual Book Tour"!
Our next book is due out in Fall 2007, and is called FLAVOR MATCHMAKING. It takes our research and thinking on the subject of flavor compatibility to the next level. What we envision as our next, next book is already percolating as a result of doing the interviews for FLAVOR MATCHMAKING. (We can't share details yet, but we're both very excited.)
My personal and professional goals for the future are the same one I strive for every day: To be a great husband and co-author, since they pretty much go hand-in-hand when you work with your wife! Beyond that, our mission continues to be that of “Making the world a better place to eat, one meal at a time."
Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page James Beard Award-winning authors of BECOMING A CHEF, CULINARY ARTISTRY, DINING OUT, CHEF'S NIGHT OUT, THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF and WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT (Oct. '06) 527 Third Ave. Suite 130 New York, NY 10016 Email: [email protected]l.com