In the third of the twenty-first series, we interview some of the most talented up-and-coming Sommeliers in Ontario and beyond.
A few years back I was flicking through the pages of a locally published periodical and noticed that when it came to Sommeliers it was the same names that seemed to pop up over and over again. I was also becoming gradually cognisant of the fact that we more established wine folks were well and truly “losing our edge” to these young blood sommeliers. Being well aware of the depth of new talent that was out there I finally decided to get together with a couple of fellow Toronto sommelier “Old Guard” (Anton Potvin and Peter Boyd) to assemble a line of questioning that would give us an entertaining insight into the minds of these rising and often underexposed stars.
This week sees the turn of Sarah Mifsud, another one of the lovely folk who work with Nicholas Pearce Wines.
Good Food Revolution: So Sarah, what is it that you are doing these days?
Sarah Mifsud: I am working with Nicholas Pearce as the Key Account Coordinator, while spending as much time as possible with my miniature dachshund, Hank.
GFR: Please describe your role there? What does a normal day entail?
SM: Is this in reference to my day job or spending time with my dog? Usually the day includes a walk or two, lots of pets and a few treats.
Just kidding… Something I love about working with Nicholas is there is no such thing as a normal day. Most mornings are spent either at home or from our office on the Danforth, answering emails to ensure all restaurants have their wine ordered and are set up with everything they need.
By about noon the real fun starts as I pack a bag of delicious wine and head out to meet with restaurant clients. Typically packing anywhere from 12-20 exciting wines and meeting with anyone who is interested.
Every other week or so we will have a different producer visiting the city, those days are my favourite as I am able to spend the day getting to know them and attending various wine events.
GFR: Now, I believe that you started working BOH (Back-Of-House)… what was it that made you cross the divide?
SM: This is true! I spent about 8 years in the back of house before committing full time to the “dark side”. [Some would say it was BOH that was the “dark side” – Ed.]
There were a few contributing factors, including very long days and a lot of physical stress on my body, but what really did it for me was the feeling of missing out on the excitement of the dining room while being in the kitchen.
I love putting together a beautiful dish, it just broke my heart every time when I wasn’t there to feel the reaction of the guest as it was dropped.
One of the greatest joys about working in hospitality is when a guest allows you to fully guide them through their evening and to be in control of their emotions and experience for 2.5 hours… that’s just not quite something that happens while being 7 chits deep on the hotline.
GFR: So who or what gave you your first insight into the world of wine?
SM: A trip to the South of Spain with two of my best friends. Before then wine was something that just existed, part of a meal like a beer or an espresso.
Upon returning home I felt almost “enlightened” (not to sound too culty) and I knew that it was something which was going to grow into a much deeper passion.
GFR: When did you first decide that you would like a career in wine?… and was it with a view to being a Sommelier?
SM: Hmmm I am not too sure if there was an exact moment, more feels like something that fell into place naturally as I was looking for the next steps to learn and grow in the industry.
GFR: Please tell us a little about your Sommelier history? What kind of experience and training wine-wise did you have before doing what you are doing today? And looking back, if you could, would you have made different decisions?
SM: In terms of official training I worked through the first levels of WSET, then transitioned to SommFactory before writing my CMS (Court of Master Sommeliers) Certified exam.
Unofficial training started with thousands of hours in the kitchen attempting to understand flavours, techniques, and cultures. Followed up by a decent amount of work as a bartender and a whole lot of nights sitting down with a bottle and playing around on Google maps street view.
Looking back I wouldn’t have done anything even a tad differently. I feel as though I spent the required amount of hours memorizing facts like aging requirements of Rioja or every village in Burgundy, while understanding that I wasn’t going to be able to demystify the world of wine by reading the Wine Atlas cover to cover. I witnessed many of my peers get so caught up in the details that they forgot to consider that wine is more than just a sum of its parts.
GFR: You worked at Richmond Station for a while… great people and a great establishment. Please tell us about your time there, as your story about the myriad tasting menus made me smile?
SM: YES! I worked there for a few years prior to writing my CMS as well as a good chunk of last year just before joining the NPW team. Really awesome establishment and even better people!
As Carl and Ryan would always say it is a learning ground, a place to foster ambitious personalities in the hospitality world. Heck a good chunk of some of the best chefs in the city all worked at RS one time or another.
While working as the service manager I was knighted with the responsibility of helping with the nightly wine pairings for the chef’s menu. This wasn’t just like any typical set and forget chef’s menu, it was a dynamic menu that would be different for every single table taking into account their preferences, allergies, seasonal availability and whatever the chef was feeling at that time.
This meant for an also dynamic on the fly wine pairing, which easily became 10 tables each with 7 courses and all different pairings. Needless to say it was quite the challenging task but also the most wild learning experience with 50+ different pairings happening in a given night. And yes, occasionally with the guest as the guinea pig. I am not sure I could name a time in my life where my learning was so fast and furious.
For the record, the tasting menu style at Richmond Station is a little different now, it is an extremely thoughtful menu that rotates weekly with set wine pairings. Thoroughly recommend for anyone who hasn’t tried (this is not sponsored).
GFR: How aware of wine were you whilst growing up? Were you around wine from an early age?
SM: Definitely around wine and aware of it from a young age. Coming from a Mediterranean family it was very usual to have a few sips of Grandpa’s home brew at the dinner table.
GFR: Can you remember your first taste of wine?
SM: Not even a little.
GFR: When do you feel children should be introduced to the wonderful world of wine?
SM: As early as possible; I definitely believe that having an understanding and respect for something can discourage overindulgence in the future.
GFR: The Sommelier world is notoriously full of pretentious arseholes, and after seeing that film Somm a few years back I still worry about the emergence of a new Wine Bro culture… also, I recently picked up on a LOT of that from the mixology crowd, full-on Jordan Peterson fans and all that stuff. I’d love to hear your thoughts?
SM: To be quite honest I don’t worry about the emergence of bro culture because from what I understand it is something that has always been very present in the industry. If you look at a list of the first dozen Master Sommeliers, it is almost completely dominated by upper middle class, straight, white males.
From my perspective it feels like the wine industry (at least in Toronto) is moving away from this, rather than towards it. As an experiment I just scrolled through my client list which represents the buyers for some of the most recognized hotels and restaurants in the city. A good portion of these people are badass women with also a decent sized representation from LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities. This is probably a lot more than we could say about the industry just 10 years ago. Even the office team at NPW is run by exclusively women, who are all some of the most hardworking and knowledgeable people I know.
GFR: Speaking of which, we are having some really important conversations right now about the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace, and what can be done to eradicate it from the culture.
I’d be interested to hear your take on the topic, and perhaps what you witnessed during your time in the restaurant world… big question I know, but I feel it’s a topic that deserves discussion.
SM: Absolutely, this is something that is still very present and I believe should continue to be talked about more and more.
Between working on the Pizza Hut salad station when I was 15 years old to bartending at a local Irish dive bar I have had more than a handful of unwanted experiences, all of which I will spare the details for this interview.
Now if you read through the book “Wine Girl” or do some research on the first editor of Guildsomm or even the first Master Sommelier, these types of experiences are not unheard of, even almost more common than not…
The hospitality industry is a rare one as it mixes so many different extreme personalities, along with various age groups, late nights, and without a doubt several different types of intoxicants.
I think the least we can do to eradicate this is to talk about it and encourage others to as well. It also really comes down to the owners and management of each establishment, if it is clear that a staff member is being inappropriate to another
This might be one of the few benefits of the current staffing crisis the industry is facing. Back in the day there was a line up of workers looking for that head bartender or sous chef position that if you saw or experienced something which was uncomfortable it was better to keep your mouth shut than risk losing your title. Now there are dozens of top notch positions up for grabs, if you find that anyone isn’t being treated properly, find a job that will.
Harassment comes in all forms and isn’t just limited to staff members, it can easily be from patrons as well. At this point I believe it again comes down to the owners and who they allow to be in their establishment. It can be easy to kick out a drunk after they have had a few too many $3.00 Budweisers and start offending the waitstaff, but the same rules apply to the person who just ordered a bottle of Cristal. If you harass the servers you should not be allowed in the building. Period.
GFR: So, and this is a perennial question in these interviews, have you consumed the “Natural Wine Kool Aid.”?
I’m just kidding, kind of… I’m sick fed up of “natural wine” zealots with nothing but derision for those who feel otherwise. Saying that, I do feel that there are some astounding “Natural” wines out there, so don’t get me wrong. How do you feel about the scene? … perhaps I just have a very low tolerance for volatile acidity, I don’t know… but there is still some right old crap out there. More than ever actually!
SM: Very simply, I respect quality. If a wine, natural or not, is well made I will enjoy it.
I love cooking analogies and this reference I heard recently feels quite fitting “If you were served a spoiled oyster topped with overly fermented horseradish and mignonette that tasted like nail polish, would you enjoy it?”.
Absolutely not, it would be sent back to the kitchen immediately, so why is it any different when it comes to wine?
GFR: And how would you say that your palate has evolved over the years?
For example, I went through an old vine Zinfandel phase. I revisited such wines a few months back… Hmmmm… interesting, but really not for me any more.
SM: A story of evolution that seems quite similar to the majority of the somm community. Started off with cheap whites, then to heavy reds, eventually too much drinking of heavy reds that I didn’t want to live life with a constant headache, so onto light bodied reds. From there I discovered the world in mineral forward wines, these days I am loving various styles of Italian whites.
GFR: How do you feel about Canadian wines?
SM: LOVE THEM! Well, I should say the good ones at least. My first wine job was in the Okanagan valley which will always hold a place in my heart.
GFR: What do you think that we do well here in Canada?
SM: Hmm how about I rephrase this in the question, what does France do well?
Canada is a huge country, almost the equivalent to all of Europe in terms of landmass. There are thousands of microclimates in our region and the best wine is the one that is made with respect to the terroir it was grown in.
GFR: And what do you feel we should really give up on?
SM: Trying to be something we are not.
Begging for ripeness from grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon in Niagara is not good for anyone, no matter how much we want to satisfy those Cali Cab lovers. Also, comparing our wines to old world classics may be helpful for context but regardless I don’t believe it does anything for the development of our region. For example comparing a PEC Chardonnay to our version of Chablis. Chablis has had thousands of years to figure out their terroir, so rather than seconding our wine to theirs, let’s find what makes us special.
GFR: How do you feel about Canadian’s support of our local wine industry?
SM: It’s growing slowly but surely, this is probably one thing the pandemic was good for! There seems to be an increase of knowledge around the benefits of buying local. Also, the winemaking in Canada is getting substantially better each year, which helps the argument.
GFR: Just as there is from everywhere in the world, there is quite a lot of dreadful wine coming from Canada (BC, Quebec, Ontario et al.) also. How do you feel about the issue of people simply promoting something because of it being local, and not because of its quality?
SM: It’s quite painful actually. I can’t count the amount of conversations I have had attempting to undo all of the damage that the Wine Rack has caused on the opinions of the general public.
I could count about a hundred different times while serving that I met someone who had a terrible wine from Niagara once and hasn’t gone back since, which I totally understand. The better wine we can get into the hands of the public the better chance Ontario wine will have the opportunity to reach its full potential.
GFR: Has your job allowed you to travel much?
That’s one thing that I really miss during this damn pandemic, going on wine trips… although I don’t know if I’ll ever want to get on a plane again!
SM: Actually yes! This is something I am loving about my current position and hope to extend to even further travel experiences in the future.
GFR: Which wine regions have you had the opportunity to visit over the years?
SM: Mount Etna (I just came home from this trip last week!), Austria including Burgenland and Kamptal, the Okanagan Valley, and of course many trips to Niagara and Prince Edward County.
GFR: Have you ever made your own wine?
SM: Technically no, I helped with a harvest in the Okanagan, but never enough to call my own
GFR: And where would you like to make wine (in a pipe dream)?
SM: Liguria or Mallorca, neither regions I have been to but fantasize about often.
GFR: So do you prefer to manage people or bottles and why?
SM: Definitely bottles, I love working with people but much less managing them.
GFR: What have been your career highs and lows?
SM: Career highs… Is it cheesy if I say this interview?
In all three of my jobs that I would consider to be the most transitional, the bosses who I would be learning from were all women who had also written this same interview. Being recognized on the same platform as your mentors is a surreal experience.
Passing my Certified Sommelier exam and going on a work trip to Sicily was also pretty cool.
And for lows… I am not sure that there is anything I would consider a low. Any event that felt tragic at the time has been something that has encouraged me to learn and grow even further.
GFR: Who is, in your mind, a real role model for Sommeliers?
SM: Jules Garton is definitely at the top of my list!
GFR: And for Wine Agents/Importers?
SM: Le Sommelier, Azra wines and do I dare say Nicholas Pearce?
GFR: Do you have nightmares about working with wines? I do… regularly… and it usually involves being unable to find bottles in a cellar… and the clock is ticking away… I have them all the time, and I haven’t been in the role for over twelve bloody years!!!
SM:Oh definitely, as I have transitioned roles my dreams have transitioned within the industry. Kitchen dreams were the worst, I can hear the sound of the chit printer if I think about it enough. Now that I am working with an agency I frequently have bad dreams that I have forgotten to order wine for an event that will make or break my career.
GFR: Wine folks famously have their Sundays off… What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday?
SM: The perfect day starts off with lots of coffee (and Baileys) before getting out of bed [!!!? – Ed.], followed by a slow transition onto the couch or hammock for some reading (I am currently working on The Secret Wisdom of Nature).
Usually in the afternoon I like to do something moderately active like go for a bike ride, kayak, or a small walk with the dogs.
For dinner something delicious with a nice bottle of wine, usually barbecue in the summer and slow roasts in the winter!
GFR: Where are your favourite places to dine and drink in Toronto… perhaps tell us a hidden treasure of our city? Any good takeout/delivery you have been using?
SM: I live near the Ossington hub and shamefully don’t often travel too far out of my neighbourhood for food or drinks. For takeout I love the Golden Turtle, some of the best Thai food in the city and it doesn’t make me feel bad about myself after eating it. Union I love for brunch or a high quality meal with an exciting but concise wine list, Salt Wine Bar for some tapas and some vermouth, Man of Kent for a pint of Guinness, and OddSeoul if I am looking for some night food and to get a little rowdy.
GFR: How did the pandemic/lockdown impact you both professionally and personally?
SM: It completely flipped upside down my entire world as I knew it. I went from living downtown, working 60+ hours a week and going to bed at 3am – to living with my partner outside of the city and being home to cook dinner while observing the sunset every night.
Like many people, I found the culture shock of going back and forth between working at a restaurant and then almost immediately laid off to be extremely challenging and mentally taxing. This definitely led to a lack of trust in the industry, so I pushed myself to focus on other hobbies like mountain biking and woodworking.
As restaurants were allowed to open back up for good, I found myself less satisfied with the reasons I used to love working in a restaurant, and more aware of the quality time I was losing with loved ones while working.
GFR: How do you see the Toronto restaurant scene coming back from the many blows of the pandemic?
SM: The Toronto restaurant scene is definitely back at it! Yes, between lockdowns and staffing shortages it posed some extreme challenges for restaurants (and some amazing ones were lost along the way). However, it seems that the lockdown created this new generation of diners that are open and appreciative of having a memorable experience.
For example, guests that were comfortable only drinking Pinot Noir, are now excited to learn about new varieties after they were exposed to a really delicious Blaufrankish at their local wine shop.
GFR: Do you do much cooking yourself? What’s your favourite dish to cook these days?
SM: Yes absolutely, I love to cook and I do it as often as I can. Around this time of year I tend to get quite excited about slow roasting and braising. Favourite dish is hard to say, but I am thinking Oxtail Ragù will be on the menu this weekend.
GFR: And have you had any cooking disasters recently?
SM: Unfortunately, I absolutely have.
Last weekend I was very excited to cook a delicious ribeye, however after a quick and hard sear I put the steak into the oven where I left it for way, way too long. The steak was probably one of the most well-done cuts of meat I have ever tasted…. So needless to say we had salad and potatoes for dinner.
GFR: Do you feel that there is a good Sommelier community in Toronto?
GFR: Do you hang out often with other Sommeliers? And if you do, do you only shoot the shit about wine?
SM: Every so often I would say? As much as there are many Sommeliers in the city who I adore and would consider my good friends, we have many things to talk about outside of wine, however with wine being the common denominator the conversation always seems to stem back to that.
I thoroughly enjoy that my passion and personal life is so intertwined with my career, however balance in all aspects is always necessary.
GFR: How do you feel about Toronto as a wine and cocktail city? Where did you go if you needed to get your wine or cocktail on?
SM: It’s an awesome wine and cocktail city! I could not even count the amount of top notch dining experiences I have had.
If I have to choose, I love going to Giulietta because there is nothing quite like a perfectly made dirty gin martini followed by a delicious bottle of Nebbiolo and finished off with an Alpino Amaro. The playlist is killer too.
GFR: What do you feel you would be doing if you were not doing what you are doing today?
SM: I have literally no idea… possibly something wild like being a backcountry adventure guide or working with my hands as a carpenter.
GFR: Do you have a favourite food/wine related scene in a film/movie or show?
SM: The scene in Ratatouille when the rat and the chef are learning how to work together in a kitchen. The moment when they go from chaos to synchrony makes me smile every time.
GFR: Do you have many non-industry friends… how do they feel about what you do for a living?
SM: Yes and no… all of the people who I would consider my best friends met each by working in a restaurant together, however most of them have moved onto other industries since.
Overall they think my career is pretty darn cool! It is very fascinating for them to hear about all the exciting lunches and tastings I am able to attend, often they will joke that they don’t believe that my job is actually real.
GFR: What are your thoughts on blind tasting wine?
SM: I quite enjoy it! When I am in the right mood….
It can be a great way to get to know a wine without any outside influences. It also can be a neat party trick on the off chance you actually get it right.
GFR: Are you a better blind taster with or without a bad hangover? I’m definitely the former…
SM: For sure the former.
GFR: Some of the best tasters I know are heavy smokers… What are your thoughts there?
SM: Not sure that I have much of a thought on this, every good taster understands their own palate and how to calibrate it accordingly. I really like to have an espresso right before a large tasting session, which some people might think is insane!
GFR: In your mind what is “hot” in the world of wine right now? And why?
SM: Island wine! Canaries, Azores, Sicily, Mallorca, you name it, they are hot and exciting.
Typically these wines all offer an exciting balance of power and grace, with an unmistakable backbone of minerality and salinity.
This may be my own personal bias, however over the pandemic I was loving drinking anything that had a bit of seaside influence, I figured if I couldn’t be travelling then drinking wine that tasted like the ocean was the next best thing.
GFR: And what’s not so hot? What has fallen out of favour? Why do you feel that is?
SM: Super over extracted wines like poorly made Cali Cab. I feel that a widespread appreciation for quality in wine is growing and having a whole bunch of super purple mixed with a ton of tartaric acid additives just isn’t that. Plus those wines can give you a wicked headache and no one likes that.
GFR: When it comes to wine, is there anything that you feel is overrated?
SM: Two wines but for opposite reasons, Prosecco and First Growth Bordeaux.
Prosecco is consumed in such high quantities with a below average quality. To me on average it isn’t even worth drinking.
Not that I am a person to be dropping $10k on a bottle of back vintage Margaux but I have never tasted high quality Bordeaux that delivered for the price point. If I was to spend that much money I would much rather drink Burgundy or a couple bottles of Barolo.
GFR: What is your favourite wine pairing right now, something nice and seasonal?
SM: While in Sicily we enjoyed 2017 Tornatore Etna Bianco Pietrarizzo with spaghetti and clams. Not very seasonal for Ontario right now but at that moment it was perfect and I have thought back to it every day since.
GFR: Do you often drink beers, ciders or spirits? What do you currently enjoy?
SM: Yes… all of the above. I LOVE beer, Guinness around this time of year, Pilsner in the summer and Pale Ales anywhere in between. Left Field is hands down my favourite brewery in town.
For spirits I will typically lean towards Gin or Mezcal, Scotch and Whisky I drink much less.
Cider here and there. My partner doesn’t enjoy beer in the same quantities that I do, so we often will have a date at a cider house.
Finally, an aperitivo vermouth or an Amaro after dinner will always win my heart over.
GFR: What was your least favourite part of your job as a Sommelier? For me it was the f****** inventory. Oh, and breaking down boxes… and the resultant papercuts (I have such soft hands!)
SM: Inventory for sure, nothing would drive me as crazy as starting at 7 pages worth of excel files right before having to work an entire dinner service.
GFR: What is your weapon of choice when it comes to a corkscrew? And why?
SM: Simple pulltap for me, I have my bag stocked with NPW corkscrews and they always do the trick. A sharp knife and a steady screw is all you need.
GFR: Due to us being around alcohol, many people in our industry often have quite the increased tolerance for wine/booze, or they develop issues. What is your limit and how do you keep yourself in check?
SM: Being someone with a very addictive personality, keeping myself in check is a high priority in my daily life. As I mentioned before that while working in the wine industry it can be very easy to blur the line between work and play. A typical week I can have upwards of 5-10 wine tastings, this can mean a TON of booze in my system all the time if I am not careful.
What I like to do is to make a point in my mind to differentiate the difference between a tasting day and a drinking day, this means almost always spitting when I am on the job and making note of how many days a week I am drinking for pleasure.
GFR: There’s a lot of open discourse right now around the topic of both drug and alcohol abuse within the restaurant world. Would you care to share a few of your thoughts about that side of the business? To be quite frank with you, the thing I miss the LEAST about working in that environment is the late nights of drinking and recreational pharmaceuticals. I don’t think my body could take it any longer anyway!
SM: From my perspective the abuse of drugs and alcohol is the largest downfall of the industry as a whole and I hate to say that it is a large attribute to why I don’t work full time in a restaurant any longer.
There is nothing worse than coming home after a wildly busy night and being completely exhausted, yet unable to fall asleep because your mind is running a mile a minute off the high of service and your joints are aching from walking 25k steps in dress shoes. What feels like the best way to combat this is to have somewhere between 3-6 beers, a couple of shots and possibly a negroni or two, all in the brief hour you have between getting off work and when the bartender calls last call.
This is at no fault to the person, as I have also been in that situation probably a hundred times. Very easily this turns into a vicious circle. I can think of dozens of people who would be considered heavy drinkers but would prefer to spend a bit more time reading or at the gym if only they weren’t so physically and mentally exhausted all the time.
Having a healthy relationship with alcohol is the responsibility of every individual, however I believe that it is also strongly impacted by the ownership of the establishment. Simple things like having two days off in a row or only working 4 shifts a week (if those shits are all 10+ hours long) can be extremely beneficial. This means the employees are able to have work life balance, enough time to rest, cook for themselves and exercise. Thus reducing the need to look for a vice to lean on like drugs and alcohol.
GFR: Speaking of which, have you ever been “cut off”? If so, where and when was the most recent time? I think it happened to me back in Scotland once… hazy memories…
SM: Cut off, no. Kicked out for being a little too rowdy many years ago? possibly…
GFR: Speaking of which, do you have a good hangover cure? None of the cures given to me by previous interviewees have really done the job for me…
SM: Am I allowed to answer weed? Something CBD dominate always does the trick for me. Somehow it is able to cut the nausea, cure a headache and relieve any anxiety of mistakes made the night before, all in one go.
GFR: Interesting… I’ve never thought about CDB for that before…
How many wines do you “taste” in a week?
SM: Somewhere around 30 different wines and easily 100 tastes. Typically I have a rotation of about 30 wines that I will mix and match pouring for a client depending on their style preference and needs.
GFR: When tasting with agents did you choose to spit or swallow?
GFR: What’s your “house” wine at home?
SM: Lots of Chardonnay – from anywhere in the world
GFR: Most remembered glass of wine ever?
SM: This summer I went on a camper van trip through the rocky mountains. After many days of sub-average wine shops (and a lot of cans of Kokanee) we finally came across an awesome wine shop. I found a bottle of 2018 Vedemmia Coenobium Trebbiano that I intend to bring home after the trip.
That evening we came across the most perfect camping spot overlooking a glacier off stream and it seemed like the perfect place to enjoy the bottle.
With no ice left in the cooler the only way to chill the bottle was to take turns holding it under the water in the freezing cold stream until it was ready to drink.
Drinking the bottle out of our Yeti mugs, with no cell service and no one else in sight would have to make it the most memorable glass to date.
GFR: What is your perfect glass (or bottle) of wine at the end of a crazy day at work?
SM: Something super crisp, like Chablis or Etna Bianco
GFR: Coffee or tea?
SM: Coffee, lots of it
GFR: Lemon, horseradish, mignonette, or hot sauce?
SM: Different combinations of all 6? If I have 6 oysters each will be dressed with a different combination and quantity.
GFR: Vindaloo or Korma?
GFR: Milk or dark?
GFR: Ketchup, mayonnaise, or salt & vinegar?
SM: Ketchup and mayonnaise (with hot sauce)
GFR: Good Lord!!!
Blue, R, MR, M, MW, W, Charcoal?
SM: Usually med-rare but it depends on the cut and what chef recommends!
GFR: What’s your current favourite wine region?
SM: Piemonte (or really anywhere in Italy)
GFR: And now the cheesy question Sarah… If you were a grape variety which would you be? and why?
SM: Vermentino because I am easily adaptable but do my best when I am in close proximity to the sea.
GFR: Thank you for taking the time, Sarah. Much appreciated.
Edinburgh-born/Ontario-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, educator, and Dad, Jamie Drummond is the Director/Editor of Good Food Revolution.
Peter Boyd has been a part of Toronto’s wine scene for over two decades. He has taught the Diploma level for the International Sommeliers Guild, and has been the sommelier at Scaramouche Restaurant since 1993. He also writes about wine, food and pop culture and raises show molerats for fun and profit. He’s also one of the most solid guys in the business.Trust this man. Seriously… he seriously knows his shit and just celebrated his 85th birthday!
A well-known and much respected figure on the Toronto food and wine scene for almost twenty years, Potvin has worked in many of the city’s very best establishments including Biffs, Canoe, and Eau. In 2004 Potvin opened his incarnation of the Niagara Street Café, a restaurant that has gone from strength to strength year after year, with universal critical acclaim. Anton spends much of his time traveling and tasting wine and has been ranked highly in consecutive years of the International Wine Challenge. After working as GM at DaiLo with Chef Nick Liu and Sommelier Pete Hammond, Anton is now selling wine with Banville Wine Merchants and explores the world of mycology in his spare time.