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David Ransom Drink Explore INSPIRE Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Distilling’s Whisky Master – Dave Pickerell

David Pickerell. Photo by David Handschuh
David Pickerell. Photo by David Handschuh

There’s probably nobody in the world today with a better handle on the pulse of the whisky industry than Dave Pickerell.

 

A veteran of the industry, Dave has spent a career moving the craft of making whisky forward through his knowledge and expertise in distilling. First at Makers Mark, where as Master Distiller for 14 years, he was in charge of making sure that the legacy of the Samuels family’s 19 barrel-at-a-time distillation recipe was kept true, and then as head of Oak View Consulting, the company he founded upon his departure from Makers Mark to help bring his distilling expertise to the budding craft spirits industry.

 

Some of his projects, like Vermont’s Whistle Pig and Hillrock Estate in New York State’s Hudson Valley, are game changers. Others, like Old Smoky Moonshine in Gatlinburg Tennessee, which he also helped start, are more mainstream. However, all are close to his heart, as they’ve, with his input, helped revive an industry that had been lost after the temperance movement essentially shut down regional spirits production just under 100 years ago.

 

Hillrock Estate Distillery in New York's Hudson Valley
Hillrock Estate Distillery in New York’s Hudson Valley

One of this favorite projects may be the re-birth of the Distillery at Mount Vernon, President George Washington’s Virginia homestead. Our first President made whisky on the property during his lifetime there, but the distillery was shut down and dismantled after his death. When the Trust decided to re-create it, they tapped Dave, a West Point grad by the way, to help research and build it again.

George Washington Distillery by Zzzzt!Zzzzt!
George Washington Distillery. photo by Zzzzt!Zzzzt!

At any given time, Dave has about 20 projects in the works worldwide, some he helps start and then moves on from, others, like Whistle Pig and Hillrock, he continuously works with, creating new product lines while acting as Master Distiller. Regardless of his role in any given product he oversees, Dave’s input and knowledge in the whisky business is unmatched.

Hillrock Estate Whiskies

We welcome Dave to The Connected Table LIVE! On Wednesday April 27 to chat whisky, Whistle Pig, and his incredible achievements at Hillrock Estate, America’s first whisky made from all estate-grown grain.

Melanie and David are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple
Melanie and David are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple
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David Ransom Drink Explore INSPIRE Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Drinking Aloha: Carta Coffee’s Scott Burr

A lot of people yearn to get into the wine business, where aside from the pretty hard work (winemaking is not romantic, only drinking wine is), a life of good food, good wine, travel, and mostly beautiful surroundings carry the day, pretty much every day. It’s rare, however, to find someone who leaves it. Carta Coffee Merchants Founder Scott Burr is one of those people.

A longtime member of the wine industry, Scott grew up in a agriculturally focused family that had grown grapes and farmed its Northern California land for generations. Always interested in wine and winemaking, Scott eventually got a degree in enology from Fresno State before embarking on a 20+ year career as a consultant in the California wine industry, mostly in Sonoma
County.

Yet, for Scott, something was missing and he yearned for a place he could plant his feet on the ground and get back to what really interested him: farming. It was on trips to Hawaii that he had started to gain interest in coffee, in particular, the coffee grown in Kona, and he eventually bought an abandoned coffee farm. Working with the region’s top consultant, third generation grower and coffee guru George Yasuda, Scott started planting new coffee plants, and Nolyssa Coffee Farm was born.

Carta Coffee Merchants, Scott’s new brand, is a small-production coffee grower/roaster where everything is done the old fashioned way, from hand-tending of the orchards to how the beans are processed and finished. Maybe not the easiest way to do it, but it makes for very good coffee, and along the way Scott has realized his dream to get back to the land in a way that stimulates not just his mind and bloodstream, but also his sense of well-being.

So, what makes Kona coffee one of the world’s most sought after cups? Or, more importantly, what makes someone give up a career in the wine industry to start a coffee farm in Kona on the Island of Hawaii? We visited with Scott at Alyssa Farms on April 20th for a firsthand look and taste. Here's the permanent link to our show.  Or, cut and paste this link: http://www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Connected-Table-Live/?episode_id=27500317

Click and listen below

 

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David Ransom Drink Explore Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

South Africa’s Simonsig Wine Estate – Johan Malan

 

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The View from Simonsig. Photo: Michael Oliver, South Africa

 

legal_logoSouth Africa has a winemaking industry that dates back to the 1600s, and the Malan family, whose Simonsig Wine Estate in that country’s renowned Stellenbosch region in the Cape Winelands is one of the most recognized names in the world of wine, helped create it.

Grape growers in South Africa since Jacques Malan first planted vines in 1688. The Malan family has been involved in the wine industry on many levels in the ensuing years, and Simonsig, which takes its name from the region’s Simonsig Mountain range, in whose foothills descendent Frans Malan planted a vineyard in De Hoop in the 1950s, has made a name for not only itself, but for the entire country by consistently making exemplary wines from South Africa’s star grape varietals, Chenin Blanc and Pinotage.

While Chenin Blanc, one of the world’s great white varietals, is grown most notably in the Loire valley in France, it seems to have found a second home in Stellenbosch, where wineries have been bringing out beautifully crafted versions for many years. Simonsig’s Chenin Blanc is one of the benchmarks. They also make a barrel fermented Chenin, a rarity for that varietal, but a stunner of a wine that breaks the stereotype that Chenin can’t stand up to extended time in oak.

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The view in Stellenbosch

Another varietal, and one that helped put South Africa on the map, is Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, it is a grape unique to South Africa, and was “invented” there in the 1920s and then forgotten for many years until it was rediscovered and propagated on a commercial level. Loved by some, dismissed by others, Pinotage makes an interesting wine, medium to full bodied, with interesting notes of spice, earthiness, and smoke. Yet, it’s the polarizing character of acetone or paint, which tends to

drive the discussion on it, though to be honest, a well made Pinotage such as the consistently award-winning ones made by Simonsig are beautiful wines and can not only stand the test of competition, but can age and stand the test of time, as well.

Wines_2Simonsig makes many other wines, as well. Chardonnay, Riesling, Shiraz, and the Bordeaux varietals all grow well in South Africa’s Cape where no vineyards are very far from the moderating influence of the Oceans that surround it. There are also a handful of world class sparking wines made – another Simonsig innovation, as they were the first winery to make what is called Kaapse Vonkel (Cape Sparkle)

wines back in the 1970s.

For all the wonderful wines being made in South Africa, There still seems to be a bit of a disconnect with the American consumer, maybe due to the location (it’s a 20 hour flight at least). Yet the wines are world class, and only getting better. Simonsig, with its long history in the region and wonderful wines, continues to lead the way.

Johan Malan- Winemaker
Johan Malan of Simonsig

We welcome Johan Malan to The Connected Table LIVE! on Wednesday April 13th to speak about his family’s winemaking legacy and get his take on the wines being made there that are making South Africa one of the most exciting places in the wine world these days.

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Tawny Times with Port’s George Sandeman

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“Sandeman Don” created in 1928 by George Massoit Brown, is one of the world’s first branding images

 

Think about this fact: every minute, 18 bottles of Sandeman wine are sold. That’s just under 26,000 bottles per day, or somewhere north of 9 million bottles per year.

One of the truly iconic names in the world of wine, the Sandeman family started trading

in Port and Sherry in 1790 and is considered one of the first global wine brands, with exports to 75 countries. Sandeman was one of the first to put its name on its barrels and advertise its wines as coming from the House of Sandeman. It was also one of the first companies, in any industry, to trademark its name, in 1877, making Sandeman the brand, one of the oldest actual brands in the world.

Along the way, Sandeman has created a legacy of ideas on branding and marketing that have cemented its reputation as a leader in an industry that has seen the star of fortified wines tested at times due to globalization of the winemaking world and also the changing palate of the consuming public.

Also a producer of Sherry, Brandy, and Madeira, Sandeman is something of a fortified wine specialist, and while Sandeman does make Vintage Port when vintages are declared (their latest offering is the stunning 2011), its strength lies in the more approachable (and affordable) styles such as Tawnies, Rubies, and aged blends such as its iconic 10 and 20 year old ports.

Aging Room at Sandeman Port in Vila Nova de Gaia
The Aging Room at Sandeman Port in Vila Nova de Gaia

These days Sandeman is part of the Sogrape Vinhos company, Portugal’s leading family-owned wine company, and 7th Generation family member George Sandeman serves as its Director of Public Relations and family Ambassador.

Sr. George Thomas David Sandeman (86)
George Thomas David Sandeman

George Joins us on The Connected Table LIVE! on Wednesday April 13 to discuss his family’s remarkable legacy in the wine industry, and his vision for the future of fortified wines.

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Betony’s Chef Bryce Shuman – Life Outside “The Park”

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Betony, 41 West 57th Street in NYC

Restaurants come (and go) at a pretty fast clip in New York City, one of the world’s great dining capitals. Some do so without much fanfare, some do so with lots of it. Betony, which opened in 2013 in midtown Manhattan, is one of the latter.

The brainchild of Chef Bryce Shuman and partner Eamon Rockey, who oversees the front of the house, Betony was

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an immediate hit with diners and critics alike, receiving three stars from the New York Times, and won the title of Esquire Magazine’s Restaurant of the Year honor its first year, a Michelin star in 2015, and in 2016, a Beard Awards nomination for Best New Restaurant.

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Best New Chefs Class of 2015, Shuman Seated in front

 

Shuman, a North Carolina native who had honed his skills under Wolfgang Puck’s team at Postrio in San Francisco and then under Daniel Humm at Eleven Madison Park, was also thrust into the realm of NYC’s chef cognoscenti, and was tapped as one of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs in 2015.

Betony’s cuisine is at once comforting and very sophisticated, a stylistic ode perhaps to Shuman’s six years at Eleven Madison, where Humm’s cuisine bears some of the same characteristics. Yet, Betony’s menu is clearly all Shuman, who seems happy to delve into culinary ingredient esoterica, and take more chances with pairing differing elements in his dishes.12417588_833804730078605_8696419413190507105_n

That is not to say that his menu creations are in any way weird or strange, they are far from it, blending flavors into beautifully presented dishes that seem to feed all the senses at once. Yet, through them, one senses a freedom that may not be attainable in a restaurant where 3 Michelin stars were granted, and must be maintained.

And that’s the charm of Betony, and Chef Shuman’s slightly more human view of what sophisticated New York City dining should be.

 

Melanie and David are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple
Melanie and David are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple

 

Bryce Shuman joins The Connected Table LIVE! on Wednesday April 6, 2016 to discuss his restaurant, path to the top, and if we’re really lucky, maybe even why he collects Analog Synthesizers in his spare time.

 

http://www.betony-nyc.com

Twitter: @betonyNYC

Facebook: facebook.com/BetonyNYC

Instagram: @BetonyNYC

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Roman Roth on Long Island Wines- March 23- The Connected Table LIVE

If you’ve had the good fortune to go out to The Hamptons on Long Island’s East End recently, you’ve most likely had one of Roman Roth’s wines. As winemaker at the celebrated Wölffer Estate Vineyard whose deliciously pale and dry Rosé is a Hamptons restaurant and Summer party staple, Roman has been a leader in the Long Island wine scene for almost three decades, and his wines are some of its best.

Roman and Barrels 2
Roman Roth

Born and schooled in Germany, Roman made wine in his home country and also California and Australia before finding his perfect fit on Long Island’s South Fork, where he’s been winemaker at Wölffer Estate Vineyard since 1988. During that time, he’s seen his local region grow from about 12 wineries to over 40, and New York State as a whole, surpass the 400 winery mark, bringing it to #3 in wine production nationwide. Twitter Facebook

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Yet, for all the wine making regions in NY, Long Island is probably its most diverse. Most-Southerly, Coastal maritime influence, mildest of New York’s Winter weather, all lead to the ability to make world-class wines, particularly Merlot and Chardonnay, two of the region’s most well-known offerings. For more information on Long Island Wines visit the Long island Wine Council website Follow on Twitter@LIWineCountry   Facebook Page

Along with his work at Wölffer, Roman also consults with a number of other wineries in the region and makes his own award-winning Grapes of Roth wines, a sort of think-tank, if you will.  Facebook Page  A small-output label that allows him to experiment with Merlot and Riesling in ways that he finds well-suited to what Long Island grows, but may not be as commercially viable as what he needs to make in his other duties.  Oh, and in case making wine for two labels and consulting with a variety of other local wine producers wasn’t enough, he also makes cider!

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One of Long Island’s great ambassadors, Roman joins us on Wednesday March 23, 2:25pm ET on The Connected Table LIVE!. We’ll have a glass of Long Island Merlot in-hand, and can’t wait!

Melanie and David are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple
Melanie and David are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple
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Voyage To Alaska with Kirsten and Mandy Dixon

To be honest, we had to look up Tutka Bay on the map. FYI: it’s in Alaska.

OVERVIEW
Tutka Bay Lodge is located nine ocean miles from the charming seaside community of Homer, Alaska, along the Kachemak Bay. Access to the lodge is by a twenty-five minute water taxi south across the bay from Homer. Along the way, you might observe various shore and water birds, sea otters, sometimes Orcas, Humpbacks and other marine mammals.

That said, it was with pleasure that we did so. For when “The Tutka Bay Lodge Cookbook” came across our desk and we started flipping through the pages of this wonderful tome, we knew that not only did we want to know more about it, but we also needed to find a way to get its authors, the mother/daughter culinary team of Kirsten and Mandy Dixon, on our show.

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It’s Time To Add Bolivia To Your Culinary Travel Bucket List- A Visit with Chef Kamilla Seidler

One of the most fascinating places I have ever visited in South America is Bolivia. Albeit my trip was too short and too focused on recovering lost luggage when I visited many years ago with the intent on hiking. But the images still remain in my mind, and I am eager to revisit and linger longer.

Bolivians consider Lake Titicaca a sacred place.
Bolivians consider Lake Titicaca a sacred place.

I remember taking a boat ride on Lake Titicaca on Christmas Day. I remember the other-worldly Valley of the Moon.

Bolivia's Valley of the Moon
Bolivia’s Valley of the Moon

I remember the fragrant markets and the women wearing colorful clothes and bowler hats.

It seemed like everyone wore this type of hat when I visited Bolivia
It seemed like everyone wore this type of hat when I visited Bolivia

Yes, I remember the stunning visuals of this landlocked country located deep in the heart of South America just below Brazil that I knew nothing about when I first visited.

What I don’t remember is the food.

So when the opportunity came up to visit with Kamilla Seidler, Executive Chef for Gustu Gastronomia S.A., a leader in the “Bolivian Gastronomy Integration (MIGA)” on The Connected Table LIVE! David and I couldn’t resist.

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Wine and Food Wednesdays @ConnectedTableLIVE Nov 4

We’ve been enjoying a delicious time in Charleston, SC, at the Les Dames d’Escoffier International Conference organized by Grand Dame Nathalie Dupree (latest book “Mastering the Art of Southern Vegetables”) and her local chapter. This year’s conference honored author Joan Nathan, author of 10 cookbooks includes “Jewish Cooking in America” and her most recent, “Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France.”

Doing the Charleston
Dames Linda Roth (Washington DC chapter), Grand Dame Honoree Joan Nathan and Carolyn O’Neil (Atlanta chapter) do the Charleston at this year’s LDEI conference

Congratulations to Chef Alon Shaya whose Shaya Restaurant in New Orleans was named Esquire Magazine‘s Restaurant of the Year. We look forward to having Shaya’s partner, John Besh, on our show soon.

Cocktail Whisperer Warren Bobrow‘s 4th book “Cannabis Cocktails” is now in pre-sell.This is surely a first on this topic in the cocktail world.

A tamarind gazed turkey by Chef Pierre Thiam (“Senegal: Modern Senegalese from the Source to the Bowl”) graces the cover of the November issue ofSaveur Magazine with a big feature inside. Editor-in-Chef Adam Sachs visited with The Connected Table Oct. 28. Click here to listen to this show which also features Argentinean winemaker Susana Balbo

This Wednesday, November 4, 2pmEST, on The Connected Table LIVE!

Michael Mondavi co-founded Robert Mondavi Winery with his father in 1966, eventually serving a President, CEO and Chairman. He established Folio Fine Wine Partners in 2004, with his wife, Isabel, and children, Rob and Dina, focusing on quality wines from Italy, Spain, Austria, New Zealand, Argentina and California, including eponymous Michael Mondavi Estates.

Michael Mondavi
Michael Mondavi

Mexico City native Chef Roberto Santibañez, owner of three Fonda restaurants in NYC and author of three cookbooks including “Tacos, Tortas and Tamales” and “Truly Mexican,” discusses culinary traditions of Mexico’s Day of the Dead.

Roberto Santibañez
Roberto Santibañez

The Connected Table LIVE airs Wednesday, 2pm EST on W4CY.com. Shows are available to listen and download anytime on iHeart.com and iHeart App.  Find The Connected Table LIVE under Shows and Personalities. Episodes are filed by the names of our guests, and we encourage you to re-post and share. Here is a cut and paste link:
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Your Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple Twitter@connectedtable Facebook/TheConnectedTable

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Culinary Travels with Dave Eckert- Sept 30th

With more than 35 years of diversified experience in TV broadcasting, a background in wine, food, spirits, and craft beer reporting, and a burning passion for food and wine, Emmy award-winning producer and host Dave Eckert’s “Culinary Travels with Dave Eckert” has logged more than 275 episodes to date. Eckert’s extensive knowledge of food, wine, and spirits, and his desire to take viewers to “the source” of indigenous products and personalities around the globe, has made “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert” a huge success.

dave eckert photo
Dave Eckert

Recognized twice by the Academy of Wine Communications for his work, Dave has also built a loyal audience for “Culinary Travels,” which currently airs on AWE-TV on cable, and previously ran on Public Broadcasting affiliates across the country along with Direct TV, The Dish Network, and can also be seen in the air on Delta, U.S. Air, and Northwest Airlines.

For the past three years, Dave has also been a regular contributor to Kansas City Chowtown, the food blog for the Kansas City Star. His contributions were part of the blog being awarded second place in a recent national competition for newspaper food blogs. Dave contributes local, regional, national, and international pieces on the people, places, events, and products that make our world such a delicious and diverse place.

We’ll talk with Dave on The Connected Table LIVE! on September 30 at 2:25pm, to discuss his unique take on wine, wine regions, and food. We’ll also get a sneak peek at the 2015 American Royal World Series of BBQ, an event three times the size of Memphis in May, which is taking place in Kansas City Oct 3-4, and at which Dave will be judging.

Follow us on Twitter@connectedtable and Facebook/TheConnectedTable
Follow us on Twitter@connectedtable and Facebook/TheConnectedTable

 

 

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Monet’s Palate: From Garden to Table with Aileen Bordman

If you’ve ever visited the lush bucolic home of the painter, Claude Monet. you will be transformed by its beautiful gardens. Located in a the tiny and very pretty town of Giverny, France, it’s an easy day trip everyone must take from Paris and, please, allow plenty of time to savor it.

Taken on my trip to Giverny in August 2014
Taken on my trip to Giverny in August 2014

Another way to savor Monet’s gardens is through Aileen Bordman‘s book Monet’s Palate Cookbook: The Artist & His Kitchen Garden at Giverny (Gibbs-Smith Publishers). Written with garden writer, Derek Fell, this book includes 60 recipes linked to Monet’s two-acre kitchen garden near his home in Giverny. With a forward written by none other than Meryl Streep and recipes beautiful photographed by Steven Rothfeld, Monet’s Palate Cookbook transports you to the French countryside in the days of the Impressionists when farm to table was the only way to eat.

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Aileen joins us on The Connected Table LIVE! August 26, 2:30PMEST, to share her own personal journey through Monet’s Garden as filmmaker and culinary historian. President and Founder of Monet’s Palate, Inc, she has been immersed in the world of Claude Monet since 1980 and has more than 35 years of firsthand experience at Monet’s home and gardens. Her knowledge and passion with respect to Claude Monet’s lifestyle, cuisine, gardens and art prompted the creation of the Monet’s Palate concept.

Aileen Bordman
Aileen Bordman

Aileen is the creator and producer of the acclaimed documentary film titled “Monet’s Palate: A Gastronomic View from the Garden,” which has been broadcast nationally through American Public Television to all 350 PBS stations.  She independently wrote and produced the film Monet’s Palate with Meryl Streep, Alice Waters, Daniel Boulud, Michel Richard and Steve Wynn. The film has been screened from Cannes to New York, and was featured during the six-month “Monet’s Garden” exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden in New She lives just outside New York City in New Jersey. Website: www.monetspalate.com  Twitter@monetspalate  Facebook/Monets.Palate.Claude.Monet

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A Tale of Tequila with Chantal Martineau

Tequila was always my “nasty spirit” in college. There was something about drinking tequila than made me want to dance barefoot for hours, preferably on a beach. I stopped drinking it for a long period of time until my former agency started working with Frida Kahlo Tequila, and I was properly educated on true tequila and its breadth of styles. Sipping an añejo or a reposado with a sliver of fresh lime was all I needed to enjoy tequila as a responsible adult. No tutti frutti drinks for me. My tequila style went from naughty to neat.
Mexican-Tequilla

Tequila is a $2 billion industry, and the U.S. gulps up 80% of global exports. Much of the tequila consumed is “mixto,” a cruder hybrid of the true spirit. But appreciation and sales of real tequila, made from 100 percent pure blue Weber agave is growing muy rapido.

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Chantal Martineau, author of “How the Gringos Stole Tequila” (Chicago Review Press) joins us August 26, 2pm EST, on The Connected Table LIVE! to discuss the story of tequila, how it’s made and monitored by Mexico’s Consejo Regulador Tequila, and how it’s been exploited by global marketers. She’ll explain the differences in tequila and its lustier sister, mezcal. Through her descriptive detail Chantal practically takes us in her backpack to meet producers, jimadores and the colorful characters behind this spirit so sacred to both the almighty dollar of big booze brand marketers and the agave activists who fiercely protect its heritage.

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Hers was a five year immersion into the world of tequila. Reading Chantal’s book makes me want to book a flight to Jalisco to see the dusty blue agave plants under a piercingly bright blue Mexican sky and soak it all in down to the last chilled shot with fresh lime. Melanie Young

Chantal Martineau (photo: Philip Taylor)
Chantal Martineau (photo: Philip Taylor)

Chantal Martineau has written articles about food, drinks, and travel for numerous publications, including Allure, the Atlantic, Decanter, Edible, Islands, Maxim, Redbook, Saveur, Time Out, Village Voice, the Washington Post, Wine Enthusiast, and Women’s Health. She grew up in Montreal and currently lives in New York City. Connect: www.chantalmartineau.com Twitter@chantytown Facebook:HowtheGringosStoleTequila

 

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