Wine and Food Pairing ¦ Learn how to match wine and Food.
Much has been said about wine being an integral part of cooking, particularly in classical cuisine. In addition, it is also ubiquitous in dining tables with the emerging art of food-wine pairing. So why shouldn’t there be a chef for wine? I have to admit that this has crossed my mind at times. A couple of years ago I was sitting for a friend in a culinary class and quite enjoyed it, I daresay. I picked some skills and knowledge along the way. With this variable to consider, I found it a bit off or strange to say wine chef or something to that effect.
First off, wine is too big a product and came with an incredibly huge ego to boot on account of its pedigree to made a mere category in cooking. Yes, yes, you might say that cooking has become fashionable as well with its own brand of arrogance as the French effectively transformed it into an art, with concepts like haute cuisine, star chefs, and all those terms that let us know it is also capable of some snobbery. But, see, wine would be strange to be classified as a department in the kitchen with a designated chef to show for it.
Secondly, cooks would probably throw a hissing fit or an unholy ruckus for, Auguste Escoffier – the father of the art – established the mandate of the chef in the kitchen on the strength of his authority over food preparation. If you bothered to check and regardless of the advances and innovations in wine-making today, wine is not yet considered food. There is a term called “food and beverage” in the restaurant industry and it clearly sets a demarcation line separating the two. I could picture my old cooking instructor raising an admonishing finger and delivering an irate lecture why a wine chef would not simply be appropriate.
Let me elaborate further. Imagine a large professional kitchen. If a five-course meal is ordered, five kitchen stations work on it under the direction of five station chefs. The garde manger prepares the salad, the saucier worked his magic on the sauce, the entree is cooked, baked, grilled or roasted in the hot station… you get the point. Imagine, then, if there is a wine chef with his own station, complete with his own entourage. Say, a six-course meal is ordered, with wine claiming a course. As everyone worked their butts off, preparing, plating, tasting, calibrating flavors, what will the wine chef do? Watch everybody sweat, probably intrude on the other stations duties when wine is called for and, finally, simply hand in the bottle when the time to serve arrives. It will be a tremendous waste of everyone’s time.