Tonight, DB Bistro Moderne kicks off the first of a series of wine dinners that calls upon not only the DB Bistro Moderne team but also Miami's cultural influencers. Leaders from the arts, culture, and entertainment community will take turns hosting a monthly dinner that's emblematic of their persona and outside the realm of French food.
Miami Symphony Orchestra's lead conductor, Maestro Eduardo Marturet, kicks off the series, hosting an "Evening in Greece." Jason Pringle will cook a four-course meal to complement wines from the Greek Isles selected by sommelier Christopher Birnie-Visscher.
Guests who participate in the food-meets-art affair will get to attend Triple Russians Sunday, May 4, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts -- courtesy of the Miami Symphony Orchestra maestro and DB Bistro Moderne. We spoke with Marturet, Pringle, and Birnie-Visscher about how the wine series originated, the choice of an evening in Greece, and the wine selection.
New Times: How did this idea come to fruition? Was it you who approached Jason Pringle and the DB Bistro Moderne team or vice versa?
Eduardo Marturet: The idea came from the DB Bistro Moderne team actually. We have had a long-standing partnership with them [DB Bistro Moderne and the JW Marriott Marquis Miami], and during a recent event there, we spoke about my love and respect for wine. We discussed their monthly wine dinners, and together we hatched the idea of having me host one to add a new dimension. I think it is great for DB to incorporate "Miami's Own" to the wine program. Arts and culture goes so well with DB Bistro's culinary audience. For the symphony, we get to see some of our existing supporters and garner new ones in a fun, creative, and intimate environment. I'm excited to be the one to kick off this Miami's Own series -- it should be quite interesting and delicious.
How did you guys decide on a Greek theme for the first dinner?
My wife, Athina, is Greek. She is a great influence on my work and of course my life, so it was sort of a no-brainer to feature Greece for the wines and cuisine. Greek wines are not as well known as other wines, but they're quite delicious and should be recognized.
As hosts, what will you be doing and how do you hope this interaction affects the arts, culture, and entertainment community?
We are bringing in a harpist to play music that I composed for Athina when we were in Greece together. This will be played during the reception portion of the evening. I hope to introduce attendees to music influenced from a different time and place -- and transport them there -- as that's the great thing about music, especially live music, it transports you. As does food. So this collaboration is a very organic event for all of us.
New Times: Has the maestro had any influence on developing the menu?
Chef Jason Pringle: Absolutely. Chris, our sommelier, and I met with him and his wife, Athina, a few months ago to get to know them and see what kind of dinner and wine theme would suit them best. It was pretty easy to determine that they both love Greek wine, cuisine, and culture. Athina offered great advice on what kind of menu items really show off the best of Greek cuisine.
Is Greek food something you're well acquainted with? How did you go about developing the menu?
I'm not well versed in Greek cuisine, but I love it. One of my sous-chefs helped a lot on the development of the menu as she is Greek, and we consulted many of her grandmother's recipes for the grilled quail and roasted lamb loin menu items. It was a great collaboration.
What can we expect as the series progresses? Any particular one you're really excited about?
We are asking leaders from the arts and culture community to host the dinners to bring together two interesting elements of Miami society -- arts and culture, and food and wine. It's a way for Miamians to enjoy great food paired with the perfect wine and to get to know the interesting people who lead these organizations in town. This first dinner is going to be a great kickoff -- especially incorporating Greek music and Greek food, two things you do not usually think of when you think of DB Bistro and its French ties. I am also very excited about next month's dinner with Thom Collins [from Pérez Art Museum Miami]. He's got a lot of funny stories to tell. People will laugh while also getting an art theory lesson.
New Times: What is your method for pairing wines with this Greek-inspired dinner?
Sommelier Christopher Birnie-Visscher: In the case of our wine dinners, we always chose the wines first and then tailor the menu items around the wines. This guarantees a truly unique wine dinner experience for our guests and is a fun challenge for Chef Jason.
What should everyone know about Greek wines?
They are not a very well-known wine variety -- that's for sure. People should know that Greek wines are a perfect example of wines that are a great value and extremely food-friendly.
Does the fact that this is a partnership with the arts community influence any decisions when it comes to what type of wine to select?
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Definitely! We wanted to create a wine dinner that was unique and interesting. One interesting thing about Greek wines is that they are all created on a small, artisanal scale. There are no massive winemakers there, so you know that with Greek wines you are usually getting something special, which is perfect for an audience that appreciates the arts and creativity.
DB Bistro Moderne's Wine Dinner Series kicks off Monday, April 7, with Maestro Eduardo Marturet. Reception is at 6:30 p.m., with dinner beginning at 7. The series continues May 13 with Thom Collins of PAMM in an Italy-inspired dinner.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha