FOOD SECTIONAL: The LA Times discovers cheese where it doesn’t belong

Light duty today at the Food Sectional.

SommeliersIn the LA Times, Corie Brown turns in a fine piece about the rise in LA’s sommelier culture with a look at those who meet weekly at Cut to study for tests that would allow the possibility (however unlikely) of membership in the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Los Angeles has long struggled to attract top sommeliers. But now as the area’s restaurant scene matures and restaurateurs elevate wine service to match the standards of their cuisine, salaries for sommeliers are soaring. And a new generation of ambitious wine professionals eager for a leg up in a suddenly competitive industry is seeking membership in the Court of Master Sommeliers, an elite organization that selects its members through a series of rigorous examinations.

[snip]

The evolution of a serious regional wine culture relies on senior sommeliers willing to teach those less experienced. An entry-level course with 40 students at Disneyland’s Napa Rose restaurant looks ultra-democratic. But the highly politicized Court of Master Sommeliers invites just some students, not all, to advance through the process. Even then, the London-based organization’s final exam has a 97% failure rate. (emphasis mine)

With that ratio, we can expect one of the six sommeliers photographed for the piece to have… a very, very small chance of being inside that three percent. (Anyone want to help on the math?) In any case, those are nice portraits. (Credit: Bob Chamberlain for the Los Angeles Times)

Also noted: Irene S. Virbilia is duly impressed by the interiors at Tanzore (which won a Restaurant Design Award from the American Institute of Architects/Los Angeles ) but leans toward meh on the Cali-Indian fusion cuisine.

Some of the crossover dishes work, but others are less successful, sometimes due to concept, other times to flawed execution. I liked seared yellowfin tuna revved up with toasted coriander and set on a soothing avocado raita that’s really an unemphatic guacamole. Velvet lamb kebab is delicious too, minced lamb streaked with paprika and cumin wrapped around a skewer and grilled. But what’s with the mashed potatoes?

She also mentions something about Philly cream cheese in the paratha and cheddar with the chicken tikka.   

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