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Old 06-24-2015, 14:09   #1
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“I think these new ‘sommeliers’ are idiots”

At least the craft beer world stole the name Cicerone for their "experts".


There’s now a ‘sommelier’ for everything, including hot sauce, mustard and honey
BY GINA PACE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, June 22, 2015, 7:23 PM

http://nydn.us/1CtJZmY

There's a store on the Upper West Side with a mustard sommelier. There’s a store in Williamsburg with a hot sauce sommelier. And there’s even a beekeeper who calls herself a honey sommelier.

Tea, beer, olive oil and Colorado pot are getting the “We have a sommelier” treatment.

It’s enough to make you want to call a real sommelier — to select the perfect Riesling to accompany your outrage.

“I think these new ‘sommeliers’ are idiots,” says John Fischer, a professor at the Culinary Institute of America. “The word is just being bandied about completely incorrectly. (If) you call yourself a sommelier, at least do a job that’s involving wine.”

The French word “sommelier” does indeed translate as “wine waiter,” not “person with better-than-average knowledge of a food, drink, sweetener or cooking oil” — but that’s exactly how the Gallic concept is being cheapened.

Of course, these self-styled sommeliers are quick to defend themselves against the charge that they’re merely glomming onto centuries of French tradition to sell condiments.

After all, they’ll say, the difference between a Sicilian olive oil and one from Tuscany is just as subtle as distinguishing between a Barolo and a Brunello — and consumers are just as likely to need a professional guide.

“Olive oil, like wine, has yearly vintages and regions,” says Nicholas Coleman, who hawks 100 varieties of the slippery stuff at Eataly. “If it just said ‘red wine’ on the bottle, how could you possibly make an educated purchase?”

Coleman’s official title is “chief oleologist” — though it appears he was the one who coined the word to lend scientific sheen to his work as an oil sommelier. But Coleman has the bona fides to back it up: He survived a grueling 16-round, two-day certification test that required him to sniff out varying levels of defects in 12 unmarked glasses of oil.

The glasses were blue to make it even harder.

Marina Marchese, the beekeeper and self-described honey sommelier, also said she underwent rigorous training — in Italy! — to become an expert in the “sensory analysis of honey.” The Weston, Conn., expert freely uses the term “honey sommelier,” citing her two books on the subject and her ability to tell chefs the difference between honey made with different flowers. Blueberry blossom honey is the best to serve with ricotta, pine nuts and mint, whereas buckwheat honey goes better with a hazelnut gelato.

Few of today’s pseudo-somms have that level of certified expertise.

Chris Cason, the so-called tea sommelier who co-founded the wholesale and mail-order company Tavalon a decade ago, says he was one of the first outside of wine to use the term. His South Hackensack company now creates custom tea blends for restaurants including Morimoto and Buddakan. He’s open about why he uses the term “sommelier” instead of, say, “tea lover.”

"I didn't want my role to just be an expert,” says Cason, who wrote “A Guide to Tea” several years ago. “I wanted to approach this in a way that’s different than most people do. We look at menus and we do pairings that go with the food, and we realized this is basically what a wine sommelier does.”

Minus the formal education and certification exams, of course.

Earlier this year, Noah Chaimberg opened Heatonist in Williamsburg, a shop entirely devoted to selling hot sauce. Chaimberg can certainly recommend the perfect pain for whatever food his customers are eating. Grilled salmon? Chaimburg recommends the Tears of the Sun from High River sauces because it has sweet fruit including papaya, pineapple and mango. Grilled cheese? Go with Habanero Carrot Curry from Marshall’s Haute Sauce because the mild sweetness of the carrots and white balsamic vinegar will make the creamy cheese shine.

Does that make him a sommelier? He thinks so.

“We don’t want to offer the same thing you could get a grocery store,” he says.

Neither does the Maille mustard shop on the Upper West Side, but the store’s sommelier doesn’t go around calling herself one (well, sort of).

“I absolutely respect wine sommeliers and I’m not saying I am one because it takes years to get certified,” says Pierette Huttner, who nonetheless goes on to celebrate her sommelier street cred because she helps customers pick the perfect spread for mac and cheese (whole-grain chardonnay mustard) or eggs (sweet and spicy sun-dried tomato, espelette pepper and white wine).

“(We have an) educational aspect,” she says. “We encourage people to taste the mustard alone on a wooden spoon, and understand the nuances and what you would pair it with.”

Fortunately, some real sommeliers are fighting the good fight to defend the word “sommelier” and the rigid requirements for which it stands.

“The meaning has changed,” says Jason Wagner, general manager for Fung Tu on the Lower East Side and a bona fide sommelier thanks to a stressful certification test.

“Now the word ‘sommelier’ has become shorthand for being an expert in the field.”

And we have plenty of words for that — except, of course, sommelier.
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Old 06-24-2015, 14:40   #2
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At least the craft beer world stole the name Cicerone for their "experts".
I might be a little crazy, but if I brewed beer my "experts" would be my customers........


The gods truth, the wine industry only has sommeliers because 50-75% of the wealthy consumers are idiots and need to be told what is "good".

Same goes for mustard, tea, beer and olive oil......

Check out food "critics", most are clueless idiots most of them would not know the difference between a tampon and a tapenade, yet they have "jobs" telling folks how good or how bad someone's food is..... and again, my customers would be my critics and my "experts"......

Then again they may have something cause we've become a nation of idiots.....
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Old 06-24-2015, 15:02   #3
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“Now the word ‘sommelier’ has become shorthand for being an expert in the field.”

Because everyone wants to be a special little snowflake.
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Old 06-24-2015, 15:15   #4
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“Now the word ‘sommelier’ has become shorthand for being an expert in the field.”

Because everyone wants to be a special little snowflake.
That's where the term "operator" came from......
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Old 06-24-2015, 18:39   #5
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That's where the term "operator" came from......
I was told by an old Team Sergeant that the term "Operator" came from someone that was in a Specialized unit that had multiple MOS's. i.e. Delta. Not for someone that holds a single MOS, i.e. 18B
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Old 06-25-2015, 10:27   #6
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I was told by an old Team Sergeant that the term "Operator" came from someone that was in a Specialized unit that had multiple MOS's. i.e. Delta. Not for someone that holds a single MOS, i.e. 18B
LOL, you're slaying me. Delta is not an MOS producing unit. Most Rangers there have only one MOS. And it was the delta rangers that coined the phrase "operators" and because they wanted a special name, just like that snowflake.

Now let's get back to the topic at hand, "I think these new ‘sommeliers’ are idiots" .

I think food critics are idiots too.
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Old 06-24-2015, 15:25   #7
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I might be a little crazy, but if I brewed beer my "experts" would be my customers........


The gods truth, the wine industry only has sommeliers because 50-75% of the wealthy consumers are idiots and need to be told what is "good".

Same goes for mustard, tea, beer and olive oil......

Check out food "critics", most are clueless idiots most of them would not know the difference between a tampon and a tapenade, yet they have "jobs" telling folks how good or how bad someone's food is..... and again, my customers would be my critics and my "experts"......

Then again they may have something cause we've become a nation of idiots.....
Agreed.

We have a celebrity chef down here named Al Brown who's been tied in with a "Made to Match" website for helping people match beer with food:

http://madetomatch.co.nz/Food-Matches

They do the odd TV commercial pairing up a main meal food dish with a beer.

We're a small market, so it's hard for our "celebrities" to live off just the TV appearance fees alone, they've got to do the actual "hard yards" in their own kitchens too.

Nothing pretentious, they just seem to be trying to help folks match a good beer with a good home cooked meal. I think it works pretty well without the pretentiousness that seems to surround food at times with silly elitist foodie class structures.

I'd rather have a BBQ at a mate's place who really enjoys trying to put on the best meal for his guests than some kabuki food theatre.

I don't think I've ever eaten at a restaurant with a full time sommelier.

If I unknowingly did, they probably gave me a wide berth sensing my wallet doesn't open up for silliness(which I assume includes hefty commissions for pushing the pricey stuff).


The only time I ever order wine in a restaurant is if it's red and cheap to go with a good venison steak.

-----

There is one expert grouping that I think is absolutely necessary for health and safety:

Hot Sauce Subject Matter Experts

It would have been nice to have one around the first time I had some ghost pepper sauce.

https://www.*******.com/watch?v=z0kVbXvId3A
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Old 06-24-2015, 16:50   #8
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I might be a little crazy, but if I brewed beer my "experts" would be my customers........
This.
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