Mondiale - Playing Matchmaker - Lockwood @ The Palmer House

Pairing Wines with Food

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Vice Echanson Tim Malishenko*



By Jane Tracy, Bailli

The Chicago Chapter’s Mondiale group met on Sunday 28 March at Lockwood Restaurant in the Palmer House Hilton.  Chef Rôtisseur Phillip Foss had prepared a series of dishes that enabled members to explore the elements of pairing and created an atmosphere that encouraged a discussion as to which flavor profiles favored certain wines over others and why.
Vice Échanson Tim Malishenko explained about pairing strategies and about how foods and wines can be assigned to different weight classes.  Ingredients were considered as well as cooking methods of the dishes.  The impact of sauces and seasonings on the wine choice was discussed and we moved through light, crisp entry wines, to richer whites and lighter reds, and then onto the richer reds that addressed the heavyweight dishes.  Members were eager to comment on what made certain pairings work for them exploring the interaction between food and wine, breaking the elements of taste down between the various components of the dishes and pairings. 

This personal and subjective exercise led to an animated table and Chef Foss had taken a main ingredient for each course and added sauces and secondary ingredients around the plate so we could discern which characteristics of each wine were heightened with the different flavor profiles and sub ingredients presented.  It was an abstract exercise and we were asked to complete a score sheet of wine alone, food alone and then wine and food together.  Descriptors such as salt, acid, fatty, bitter, tannic, herbal, bright, ad infinitum were applied to our interpretations on the palate.  Salt was shown to be the swing component in food and alcohol the swing component in wine.  The permutations were endless.

It was a scientific approach to the chemistry of the palate and the “living” wines and how this chemistry gradually changed as more ingredients were added and subtracted, reinforcing the all-important spirit of endurance!


Our Spring will begin with service and discussion of classic wine pairings but with some twists along the way. We consider ingredients, preparation, sauce, and seasoning in choosing a wine pairing. Finding the wine‐food pairing that complements and enhances both the food and the wine is what we seek.

A four course pairing exercise plus dessert will be presented. The ingredients will encompass a wide span of textures and flavors to challenge our palates and evoke discussion about the wines poured alongside. The aim is to sort through, discuss and conclude our experiences and learn along the way why the pairings worked or perhaps didn’t work!

Chef Rôtisseur Phillip Foss, Lockwood’s Executive Chef, will be preparing our pairing dishes and brings a glittering resume and a wide range of culinary experiences. In 1991 he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, and came to Lockwood following five years at Le Cirque in New York where he was sous chef. He was head chef at the Four Seasons in Maui, oversaw the King David Hotel’s La Regence restaurant in Jerusalem, and has worked with Jean‐Georges Vongerichten amongst others.